Trying to run is hard

Trying to runTrying to start running again is hard. Trying to start running, period, is hard. When I think about it, I’m amazed so many people succeed, but they do. I did. I will again.

The hardest thing is the mental limits you put on yourself. I remember when I first took up running many years ago – not counting the failed attempt as an overweight teenager, and the one as a wishful, chain-smoking twenty-something – I was convinced I could never do more than 5 kilometres. Five K. That was it. I had a route that was actually just under that an I was always at the end of my rope by the time I was approaching home.

My boss at the time found out I was running and invited me to join him and a few others for a lunchtime 5K. I refused. I could never keep up, I was certain. He said they ran a leisurely 30 minute 5K. Sounded pretty fast.

For over a year I was stuck at that 5K mark. It wasn’t until we moved and I joined a run club near the new house that peer pressure eventually lead me crack the 5 K mark. It was then that I realized that it was a psychological limit, not physical. I knew that all along, but now I admitted it. Within a few months of cracking that limit I ran my first race, an 11K mud run. In a year a half marathon, then 30K, eventually a year or so after that a marathon.

But now I’m back stuck again. It’s been months since I ran more than 5 or 6K. I step out the door planning to run 8 or 10, and almost immediately start making excuses why I can’t. It will take too long. I’ve got a lot to do. I should be spending time with the kids. I’m tired. Okay, just 5K this time … again. Maybe a bit faster.

The psychological limit is back.

Was back. Tonight I got tired of it and broke it. Not by much, I ran 7K. But the limit has been pushed and the journey begins. Trying to run.

What about you? Are you trying to run? Run farther?

Image courtesy of Flicker CC and Ryan Knapp