First off, I haven’t gone running in a week and a half.
Second, during that week and a half of no running, I’ve eaten half a cake, half a dozen donuts, two giant bowls of Reeses Puffs (they had to be as big as Spencer’s bowls), pizza and more pizza, and Costco “muffins” (it’s like eating cake).
But I’m still going to talk about how running has changed my life.
And just for kicks, here’s a picture of me with the cake I won at a raffle. Yeeeeees. Caaaaake.
I started at the beginning of this year when I asked Amber, one of my neighbors, if she still went running. I said I’d love to go with her and she said, “Great! How about we meet in the morning on Monday. At 5:30.” and I said okay… crazy lady. 🙂
So we ran three miles and the first time nearly killed me. I sat in the shower groaning. “I’m gonna puuuuke.” I didn’t puke. Every day it got a tid bit easier. We ran over iced sidewalks and through snow storms and often with our fists in our armpits. In the summer Charlie joined the party [or, like, made the party] and now we’re running four miles up and down mountains.
I often make lists of things I want to do and who I want to be. It helps me remember why I’m doing things when they seem stupid–like a feedback paper in class, why we don’t buy poptarts and coke when we go grocery shopping (even though I “really really want poptarts, Spencer!”) or why I go to church even when it’s boring. I found that running kept popping up on those lists. I want to run. I want to be athletic. I’m sick of being a wimp.
I knew if I asked to go running with a girl I didn’t know, I would get out of bed and go. I wouldn’t want to let her down, I wouldn’t want her to go running alone in the dark, and I wouldn’t want her to think for one second that I was a wimp. I’m glad I made that decision, because I’ve been able to meet an incredibly strong, creative, and intelligent woman. [Amber rocks!]
Running has changed my life. Here’s why.
1. I have more energy in the day.
2. I’m less anxious (this one needs a million-sub categories)
a. I sleep better. I don’t stay up all night thinking about everything I have to do in the morning or if my siblings resent me or how I wish I could be better friends with so and so or worry about how I’m like the most awkward person ever. I sleep (and I dream good dreams!).
b. I have gradually started to let go of things. If there was a quiet moment in my day, my brain would often switch to the past and people I’ve hurt or situations that humiliated me. I’m no longer full of regret and I spend a lot more time being grateful for what I have now.
c. My social anxiety has minimized. I’ve been going to more social events and taking charge of planning parties, which is a BIG deal for me. I now put on a monthly girl’s night with my neighborhood friends! And I’ve been more willing to just go outside without knowing who might be out there to talk to. Overall, I don’t feel my stomach tightening up when I talk to people.
3. I’ve realized that I can be anyone I want to. The things that come easy to me aren’t the only things that define me. I don’t just have to be a photographer, just be a writer, or just be good at learning languages. I am not limited to what I’m good at. I can do hard things!
4. I’ve found new things about myself, or have been able to identify them. Like holy crap, people, I’m a perfectionist. I’m really competitive. I’ve been able to see things that bring me up and bring me down and figure out how to change. (Does this make sense? I’ve edited this a million times).
5. I might be more of an extrovert than I thought and I just had to get over my anxiety issues.
6. I get hungry! Before I started running I would go hours and hours without eating. Then I’d get in a really bad mood and I’d think “Oh my gosh, I haven’t eaten anything today.” I feel this big change in my body–like everything just works better. I don’t know how else to describe it.
7. I’m not lonely. Running with friends has helped me so much with sadness and depression. I have girls to talk to every other day and I can be myself around them.
8. I am at peace with who I am.
9. I’m out in nature every other day and nature heals–mind, body, and soul.
10. I know God loves me like crazy. I think this partly goes with 9. When you’re in nature, I really think it gives you a bigger perspective on life and it’s easier to feel goodness, peace, and love around you.
Earlier this month Amber, Charlie, and I ran a 5K together.
And that same day Spencer did the Dirty Dash.
And now Amber is talking about a half marathon!
Do you run? What do you love about running?
What activities or hobbies have changed your life for the better?