Wednesday, July 9, 2014

looking ahead

This is somewhat off the norm of this blog, but I feel like it almost goes hand in hand with my (personal) success in running lately. I don't think I have ever felt as good about my running as I do currently. I feel incredibly motivated, strong, and healthy. I have legitimate goals for once, ones that are a bit of a stretch, but I am working hard so that I can pursue them.

Every day that I run, I feel better. It gets easier to run when I am tired, sore, or don't feel great. I find that the more I run, the less tired and sore my legs are, and the easier it is to get myself out the door even when I don't feel very enthusiastic about it. I have been a runner since 7th grade but my commitment level has waxed and waned throughout the years. It was at an all time low last year but I managed to get through the Wineglass Marathon and PR no less.

And then I met a guy who also ran. He ran a lot more than I did, all winter long, while I struggled with motivation and felt lazy. I was happy to do other things outside, mostly hike and ski, but running through the ice and snow wasn't appealing, so I was running maybe 2 or 3 times per week. Frankly I didn't even really care because I was so happy (which was very uncharted territory for me). I had never been so happy, even though other aspects of my life were falling apart.

And then we broke up. My happiness was completely shattered and I felt unbelievably lost. I had a giant hole to fill, both in free time and just trying to not be sad all the time. I picked a marathon, registered, and started taking myself and my running seriously again. It took a while; I would say it took about 6 weeks to feel like I was really training and noticing improvements. It took significantly longer than that to get rid of the massive amounts of bitterness and hurt that I felt over the breakup.

It took me a lot of time to go from 13 miles per week (or whatever pathetic amount I was running) to 40 miles per week, and it will take even longer to be at 50 or 60. That is totally acceptable to me and I expect it to take time (although sometimes I don't expect it to take QUITE as long as it does) but heaven forbid it take time to move on from someone that I cared deeply about. The fundamental concept for change is that you have to do something over and over again to form a new habit. You have to run consistently in order to improve. You have to choose to be happy every day rather than wallow in your sadness. And let me tell you, I did a LOT of wallowing. But then I got incredibly tired of wallowing, especially over something that I had no control over. It's a hard process but eventually I had to move past the denial that my relationship was over and face the fact that I had to get over it.

As much as I sometimes wished that I could just erase the whole experience from my brain a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I'm glad that I can't. It was a learning experience in "wow this really sucks and I don't think it's ever going to go away" and then it slowly faded and things got better and better. Sometimes I still feel some sadness or regret but mostly I am looking forward. It will always be a reminder of my own resilience as I strive towards that goal of 100% happiness. I don't think that is attainable but I am trying to get as close as possible without compromising myself as a person.

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