I used to hate running. It made my knees hurt, my stomach upset, and my heartbeat uncontrollable. In the 8th grade I joined the cross country team, mostly because my best friend was, and secondly because I only played softball in the spring and needed something to do in the fall. Cross Country forced me to be fit. I wasn't set on necessarily beating everyone else, but rather making it over the finish line. And I did. Even when I sprained my ankle in the middle of a race, I kept going, hobbling to the finish. Doing cross country helped me to discover the determination and drive that I have as an individual. By realizing the potential I have to be an athlete, I went out for the rowing team in high school. Rowing was a lot harder than I expected it to be. It was time consuming and tedious, and required a lot more patience than one would think. Often we would vary our rowing workouts with cross-training through running, and I would complain to my friends that we were rowers, and not on the cross country team for a reason.
When I decided I wanted to continue my rowing career through college, again we cross-trained through numerous indian and hill runs. Again, I complained. It wasn't until this year that I finally made a truce with running. I took a self-paced fitness class in the fall just for an extra credit thing to do. In it, we were graded based on our improvement on a one and a half mile run. So, I practiced running. I would run outside through the neighborhoods, across campus, or on the track. Sometimes I would choose to stay indoors and run on the treadmill. I varied my workouts by breaking up the speed and pace at which I ran. I would jog for a few minutes, sprint for one minute, and so on. It was this type of interval training that really helped me with the steady state and overall fitness. By the end of the semester, I had significantly improved my time.
Now I almost enjoy running. A part of me is scared to say that I find it therapeutic. Yesterday, I ran on the treadmill for 4 miles at the pace I used to run at for one mile. There is nothing more empowering than putting your head down and believing in yourself. The outcome makes you feel incredible, it is so rewarding. I never thought I would ever be a runner. I always put myself down, criticizing my short legs, saying that some people "just aren't built to be runners". But you have to believe in yourself. So next time you are doubting and you want to give up, just take a deep breath and keep going. It only gets better.
"Impossible is nothing." -Muhammad Ali