Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh, To Be a Zen Runner

Like I mentioned in my last post, I consider myself a runner. Now I'm not the kind of runner that will ever win a race (or even finish near the top). In fact, while my body has transformed to a certain extent to resemble that of a runner, when you look at me closely it is easy to tell that my body just wasn't built to race, or at least race and win.

In my past life (before marriage and babies), I never ran ... ever! Throughout my athletic career, I chose activities that involved the least amount of running possible, while still being classified as a sport. In soccer, I played defense, or on a lazy day, goalie. In basketball, I was center - just so I could stand there and get in other people's way. And in my real love, track and field, I threw - and my body showed it. At 5'9, I have always been able to carry my weight well, but for most of my teens and early twenties, I was holding on to a little more than most people ever should.

At some point enough was enough (to be honest - it was my upcoming wedding) and I decided to do something about my lack of cardiovascular strength, which ultimately led to a major drop in my "excess baggage." So like many before me, I decided to run - the one thing I loathed the most. And amazingly, it worked (I know, shocking!). I literally shrunk, and while I still hated the activity, I loved the result. Happy ending, right?

Well, not exactly. Shortly after my wedding (a mere two months to be exact), I found myself pregnant. Can you say, "Bye-bye, flat stomach. Hello, maternity jeans." At that moment it all stopped, no more running, no more mindful eating. I figured, "I'm going to get fat anyway, so I might as well enjoy it!" Let's just say that was a bad idea. I see that now, especially since going through pregnancy a second time with a much more active and healthy lifestyle. But hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?

Anyway, enough digression. After my two and a half year hiatus from running, I started up again after my second daughter was born. This time around I decided I was going to approach my most dreaded enemy in a different way - with a training schedule. I figured that if I had a goal to accomplish I would have no choice but to stick to running, and ultimately learn to love it. That was eight months ago.

So how do I feel today? Well, I am mildly addicted to running. In fact, my first marathon is just 31 days away. I often run for hours at a time. But to be completely honest, I still don't love running. On the other hand, I love how running makes me feel and the sense of accomplishment I have after I finish - whether it be three or 13 miles. With that said, I huge part of me longs for more. I long to be a "Zen Runner." I want to be that person, who regardless of the circumstances, just runs to run. Who loves every second and can get lost in the simplicity of the activity. I know deep down that I will never be that person. That little voice in my head is always going to say, "How much longer do I have to do this?" And I guess I just have to learn to be ok with that.

No comments: