Let me start by saying, I have never done this before.
No for real. I was never really a runner.
My unforgettable encounter at 17 involved a treadmill and certain pieces of clothing getting stuck in it, while my shoe laces came undone. And no, it was not a pretty sight. I could barely walk on the treadmill, let alone run. I utterly loathed Phys Ed class. And most things that did not involve donuts or french fries 🙂
Fast forward a few years & health scares later – fitness became something to be taken seriously. Each new year, I made “work out more often” a top-tier resolution….and quit by February. One year, I got serious enough to stop with the half-assery – ie, quit eating said donuts, saddest year ever. But no matter what I tried, and I really did, it never seemed to work. I kept getting told, you need to improve your endurance & for that, there are no shortcuts, you gotta walk the talk.
Or in my case, run the talk.
I decided to give running another try. And there it was again, my old nemesis The Treadmill, staring me down.
SO WE MEET AGAIN
I had to bribe myself:
“If you go for a run, I promise you can have a Kara’s cupcake after”
“If you go for a run, you don’t have to eat atrocious Kale salad today”
Yes, us Californians love our Kale & Kara and her devilishly delicious cupcakes. Some of us are especially partial to the Smores cupcake. Maybe those two need to come together somehow. Although not as a Kale cupcake. Please Dear God, no.
Since getting back to my frenemy The Treadmill, my health was in no better condition. I caked (rather cupcaked) on way more pounds. And told myself it was “muscle mass”, which is in equal parts brilliant logic and just plain sad.
More importantly though, it felt terrible to fail.
What’s a girl to do? Try something new, of course. Inspired by my neighbors’ & colleagues’ outdoor sports enthusiast Mojos, I figured I should try the whole outdoor running business. How bad could it be, right?
IT WAS TERRIBLE.
I started the run with utter loathing & grudges that was carried over baggage, dutifully deposited in the recesses of the running drudgery. Each step, I reminded myself I had cussing & pigging out on said desserts for coping mechanisms. My skin scorched like it was on fire, shins felt unrelentingly stiff and each step, as heavy as lead. Was that my stomach grumbling…uh oh, please don’t be lunch on its way up. When would the torture end??
And then, past the 20 minute mark, after I exhausted my entire swear arsenal, something completely unexpected happened.
I looked around.
Through the thumping bass of my playlist, my own loud beating heart & the dripping sweat, I felt a cool breeze as the ravine, complete with a reservoir, geese & flowers in bloom, opened itself on the trail in front of me. I stopped running to take in the moment and realized that remarkably, I was no longer chanting a certain word that rhymes with ‘duck’ or watching the timer to countdown. Surprisingly, my mind was clear and a surge of gratitude rushed in – Over the gift of that moment, the chance to be alive and witness it, the beautiful scenery & for freaking Nicki Minaj being on my playlist. It felt surreal and euphoric.
I learnt later this phenomenon is called Runner’s High, powered by a surge of Endorphins released into your system.
Encouraged, I began to run more often, with more gusto. Even mustering the gall to attempt a 5K race, and then on day 2 of training, this happened. (A not-so-cute version)
Which brings us to today. Its been 1.5 years since that injury & recovery. And even longer, since the first infamous treadmill incident that plagued my attempts at a run. I never figured in a million years, that running of all things, would ever have anything with to do with my Mojo. But discovering a source of clarity & calm has been. Maybe its knowing that after years of failing at it, here was a way to win.
Maybe it was not the running that was ever the issue, but how I was going about it.
NIKE WOMEN’S HALF MARATHON
As part of the deal to find my MoJyo, I decided to take on a 100 day challenge – I just signed up for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and will be raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. Check out my fundraising page here.
There are about 100 days till the marathon, wish me luck! I’m a bundle of nerves and will be training for this. Will I find my running MoJyo?
Stay tuned to find out.