You may remember my post about when I began running ‘A Fatty’s guide to Running‘. I suppose I have shoved it in your face enough through my fbook page because, well, it’s one of my favourites. Also, I am one of those annoying people who found running and can’t stop ‘selling’ it to anyone who will listen, or pretend to listen. I caught the bug.
I signed up for the Dublin Rock n Roll Half Marathon a few months ago.
It was really feckin’ hard. It wasn’t even the long runs in training which I would spend half the week mentally preparing for. It was getting back out again on the Monday for the ‘short’ 8.9km run that killed me. Also, this part of my training plan was during our once in a decade heatwave so even going out at 6am to avoid the heat I’d be sweltering.
Anyway, the two weeks before the run I got to to wind down the training plan. What heaven! Oh to just do a 5km run again! This gave my muscles (and a calf strain) time to rest.
As I was coming to the finish line I was absolutely dying a death. Robotman spotted me from the finish line and called out to me. I saw my little elf in her buggy and got this surge of energy. I passed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face. Not because I finished but because my two loves were there to see me through it.
You see, running for me is not just about physical exercise or mental health. They are huge factors that keep me running, of course, but the real thing that running does for me is the opportunity to experience a part of myself that I discovered through it.
I found the ability to commit to something. To ride through the tough. You see, except for marriage and parenting, I have never been able to commit to anything.
I’ve jumped from job to job, college to college, friend to friend. I have always been restless.
Running was the first thing that was just between me and it. That required only me to commit. Marriage- you always have your other half to carry you when you’re broken and vice-versa. Parenting- you just do it even when you feel shite because there is a tiny person relying on you to buck it up in order for them to a) survive and b) thrive.
Although I am the one who gives all the painful effort, running gives all the pleasure and results. Running gives me endorphins, an improved metabolism and mental health. It also gives me a sense of grounded-ness. It has given me the experience of following through with something.
I have finally understood that if you put the effort in you will reap the rewards. I don’t think I could have ever committed to this blog had I of not experienced this relationship with running. I am also feeling more settled in myself. Running has given me the headspace to expand my view of life and I have learned to let go of a lot of baggage with it.
Often, when I am running in the mountains I look at the trees and I imagine that as they are taking CO2 from the air and releasing O2 they are also feeding on my stagnant inner energy and offering back fresh bursts of infant atoms.
After the half marathon my nearest and dearest asked me how I felt. Truth be told I felt nothing. I didn’t get that sense of achievement I got the first time I ran a 10km. I actually had a bit of an anti-climax.
Do you know why?
Because the training plan sucked the life out of running.
Running has become a person to me- a companion.
The grueling training program took the pleasure out of it and I spent my resting time in a lot of pain while dreading the next run.
Afterward I realised how much I missed it- just running rather than training. I missed seeing the trees, the ripples on the lakes. I missed stopping to take a photo whenever I felt like it.
So there you have it, I am not sold on long distance.
But I am closer to something else- I am closer to the heart of running.
To the freedom, the pleasure and the ability to run for shelter with the buggy when the rain comes without me dying on the side of the road.
Also, to sometimes just be able to say, ‘ah I think I’ll leave it for tonight’ and hop into my pj’s and watch a bit of HBO.
I’ve learned a lot through this half marathon. It was cathartic.
I’ve discovered how much I love running. How Running is like a person to me. How much I’ve changed since I started. How it really does help me wind down after a long day parenting and how close to nature it brings me.
I didn’t think that was how I’d feel after it.
I didn’t think it would run that deep.