When I started running I thought that it would mean I’d need to be super serious. I’d need to be so dedicated to running that I put it before things like sleep, food, free time. I would have to be mean to myself and do torturous workouts. I’d need to know all the lingo – like “fartlek” and “negative split”. I’d need to know what compression socks are for and how to run in a snow storm while keeping my make-up in place, benefiting from the rosy-cheek look, while making it look easy and wearing this year’s newest clothes from lulu.
When starting something new, I usually take this approach – Do it up, do it big. All or nothing, only to end up losing steam. That doesn’t work so much for running.
I learned quickly that running means eating a lot more often, laughing at yourself, chafing, hugging other sweaty people, showing up at the crack of dawn with no make-up unless you forgot to wash it off from yesterday’s work day. It means meeting people that will never know what you look like with your hair done. It means wearing layers that don’t match, a dorky head band and a chapped face. It means finding a way to be proud of yourself, even if you have one of those runs where everything just feels terrible.
You will quickly learn to love your curves when they’ve carried you kilometer to kilometer, sprint to sprint, up hills and down hills. Who cares what that body looks like if it can do something like help you achieve a seemingly impossible goal? There is something pretty powerful about running a distance you could not run in recent memory. Changes happen, pounds come off, clothes fit better, but the real achievement is how you feel after an awesome run – texting all your friends a screenshot of your map or a picture of your sweaty, exhausted, red, elated face.
Running does not make you that tall, skinny, beautiful person with perfect clothes, effortlessly gliding along the trail for their daily workout, hardly breathing heavy, glistening in the sun. What it does make you is somebody who cares about themselves. In a good way. In a self-love kind of way. It teaches you to set a realistic goal, work for it and reap the benefits. It teaches you to give yourself a chance. It teaches you to live life looking forward to the next accomplishment, but to also to enjoy each of the steps along the way that got you there. Living in the moment, running the kilometer you’re in, embracing the pain, and doing it for the rush of pride that you get when you cross the finish line, check your watch, and see a personal best.
Running makes you your personal best.