Lightbulb Moment

17 Jan

Today I had mine. So you see, my entire life I have tried to be a runner. Seriously. I’ve always wanted it but just could never do it. Here’s the recap:

  • Brown belted in karate in 7th grade. Helped teach kickboxing to kids. (It’s not running, but it’s active… counts for something.)
  • Obsessive stair-stepper in late middle school. Only kept up with it because my parents made me (which was totally legit – otherwise I would have never exercised).
  • Went on to join the track team my freshman year. Was assigned to long distance because I was too slow. I hated it because I was horrible.
  • Went on to join the cross country team my sophomore year. I quit because I couldn’t keep up.
  • Went back to track the following year. I begged them to put me on hurdles because the distances were too much. I was injured by the second meet and out the rest of the season.
  • Went on to run a half marathon in college. Clocked something like 2 hours and 45 minutes (yes, that slow) and thought I might die.

You see, I just recently had concluded that perhaps I had given running all I had to give it. I’ve come. I’ve seen. And – so I concluded – conquering just wasn’t going to happen for me. So today’s mentality as I went out for my frigid jog wasn’t about speed, or even distance. It was about getting the job done. I was going out there for thirty minutes and I was going to jog for as much as I could during that thirty minutes.

Now, let me give you a little backstory. Even when I was training for my half marathon and running a few (or several) times a week, I usually could only jog a mile or a mile and a half and then I’d have to slow and walk for at least a block or two. It would continue like this, except after the first mile or so my breaks would be every half mile. This wasn’t a matter of laziness, or lack of drive, this was a matter of MY HEART FELT LIKE IT WAS GOING TO EXPLODE. I would get up to 200bpm and suddenly feel like puking and passing out, though I had only run a mile or two, if I tried to keep going. Eventually, I broke down and bought a heart rate monitor watch (love that thing), so I’d legitimately only slow once my heart went over 190bpm. But still, if you know anything about heart rates, you would know that even 190bpm is WAY TOO HIGH for a jog. I had my heart tested. Sonogrammed. Listened to by cardiologists. Nada.

Clearly, running just isn’t my thing then, right? Apparently not so. Today’s jog, as I reached 5th Street and jogged across the intersection I felt myself slow just for thought. And, as I immediately did the math and calculated, I had already run well over a mile. I wasn’t even winded. Confused, I pushed on and ran harder. 4th Street. 3rd Street. 2nd Street. Turning around (meaning I had gone over a mile and a half) and still not winded. Was it the cold weather? No, that wouldn’t make any sense. Was I running slower? No, I never focus on running quickly just on running period. Hmmmm.

And then it hit me: the workouts. Remember all those lunges and squats I was complaining about? IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. My legs are so much stronger, so moving them is so much easier, so my heart isn’t having to work as hard. I have, quite literally, made running easier for myself. HOLY CRAP. Why did no one ever suggest strength training with running? I’m almost confused as to why, in running my WHOLE LIFE, no one ever recommended this. And so today, I come home REBORN as a runner. Of course, I’m not just a runner. But my dreams of future half-marathons and sprints around the city? They can finally come to fruition. Best day ever.

Have you ever had a lightbulb moment like this with your workouts? Were you as excited as I am!?

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