The Road from Hating to Co-existing

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”

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I used to hate running. I found it boring. I couldn’t go on for more than 40 minutes. I badly needed music to make it a little bit bearable. Sure, I went on runs on and off for the past four years, but only because I wanted to lose weight. I wasn’t obese, mind you. I wasn’t even what some people would call “chubby.” Most of my friends considered me thin. But when you’re young and watch too much America’s Next Top Model, your view of yourself becomes a little distorted.

For the past two years, slowly but surely, I let go of my anorexic tendencies and just focused on being healthy. Trying to eat the right food and be physically active so I can live longer. Recently, my attitude towards running has been changing. Last month, I downloaded the Nike training app and started the half-marathon training. Not so I could join a 21k event, but so I could train for an upcoming difficult hike. Before that, the longest I was able to run was 5km…then came 8km…and then 10km. When my brother (who was a triathlete) sent me the link to a 20-miler run event, I thought what the hell, why not? I joined the 10-miler (16km) category.

During the last 4km of the race, I felt symptoms of ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome). According to my brother, it’s when a thick band of tissue fibers have friction with the side of the knee….or something like that. All I knew was that it was excruciating when I had it during a hike months ago. I thought I was going to have to walk or limp to the finish line.

But good thing I did not. Upon crossing the finish line, I felt myself choking from emotions. I felt like I wanted to cry. I didn’t, though. I was too embarrassed because after all, 16km was too short a distance for someone to get emotional. But it was the most difficult thing I have ever done, running-wise. And for me, that alone was a personal achievement to remember.

I’m not saying I now love running. I can’t even say I enjoy doing it. But I now have great respect for it and for the people who do it. It takes a whole level of discipline, will, and fighting spirit. Fighting a battle against yourself whenever you feel like giving up.

No, I don’t love running yet. But I can now do it without complaining to myself the whole time. I can now do it even without music. I can now live with it. That’s a step.

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