(photo by link)
Yesterday I went for another run, in the heat of 32 degrees C. It was harder than running at 10 degrees, in the pouring rain.
There were not many people in the park – few were walking in the heat, preferring to stay at home or longer hours in the office in the cool of the AC. However, there were quite a lot of runners. Like me. And we seemed to smile at each other.
Yes, this is who we are.
We are the people who get up and go for the weekly/daily run, no matter the weather.
We are the ones who talk in minutes per km and longest distance run and time per 10k, 20k or 42k.
We’re the ones who own a full drawer of running clothes and who get more excited about a new running gadget than about shoe sale (well, me ).
The ones who have a corner full of medals and keepsakes from various running events.
The ones who count down to the next event, where we have already a goal set in our mind.
The ones, who constantly conquer the mind.
For me, running is like a meditation. It’s solitary, and it’s focused on me and my mind.
It’s just me, the music in my ears, and my mind which is telling me to stop. I learn to get used to the pain. I start knowing when this is a transient pain that will go away if I keep running, or when it’s a serious pain where I should stop or it will get worse.
I know the feeling I get when I have a bad day, when 30% of the run is mostly a walk. I learn to be okay with that.
I know the exhilarating feeling when I run more than I’ve run before, or at a faster pace. I learn to take the energy from that and move on.
I know the runner’s high that starts at the back of my neck and sends shivers around my spine, somewhere between 4k and 6k. I feel invincible and learn to ride the wave and pick up the speed.
I know that comparing with others will always humble me. There are people who ran 62k, 84k, trail in the mountains, who did triathlons, Iron Mans, who completed challenges that only 21 other people in the world did before.
I am proud to see more women running and winning competitions, even if, still, most runners I meet in the park are men.
In the end, running is between me and myself. It represents conquering my own barriers, testing myself, pushing my limits.
I started running in 2009, with 2k (around Cismigiu). Completed the “popular race” (4k) that fall.
I thought “Ok, this is the end for me, this is the most I can do. I’m not a regular runner.”
Then I ran the 10K relay race, one year after. I was deadly scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish, but I did. I became so relieved that I quit running until next year when after only 1 month of training, I ran again a 10K. This time, I ran slower and more constantly, and at the end I felt I could have continued.
Then I stopped running for about 2 years (didn’t find the time, couldn’t get myself up, etc etc), but I kept being nostalgic about running and then this spring I registered for the half-marathon. Again, trained very little (1.5 months), deadly scared that I won’t finish, that I’ll get injured, that my knees won’t hold. I started adding isotonics to my running routine and noticed the difference. I read blogs of runners and got so inspired seeing their progression stories.
I got lucky that Stefan agreed to run with me and mentor me throughout the training phase. His companionship made a huge difference to the positivity and mindset for the half-marathon. (also, the fact that I got knee braces)
Of course, at the end I thought “That’s the most I can ever run. No full marathon for me, thank you.”
But, as the past already taught me, you never know…