Honestly, so much of my lifestyle has changed over the past year that it’s hard to pinpoint any one thing that changed me the most. But running is definitely one of those things.I had kidded myself for a long time that I didn’t need to be more fit, that (fast-paced, hill) walking was enough. But eventually I decided that I really wanted to be able to run, at least at this point in my life.
I had never run before. I mean, obviously I ran around as a child, and a little bit during the obligatory P.E. (gym) classes at school. When I was about nine or ten, I was even fit and fast, as I played football with the boys during lunch. In secondary (junior high) school, I “played basketball”. But because my fitness had depleted by that point, I was on the C(rap) team. And honestly, there was very little running around involved. My fitness began to decline at that point.
From age seventeen to twenty-four, I took up walking. My fitness increased a little, and I was happy with that. It wasn’t until I moved to an area without many hills that I realised how inadequate this really was. It was a beginner’s kind of exercise, the exercise you do when you’re so unfit you can’t do anything else. But it should be transitional.
So I took up yoga, and began running. And man, was it hard. Initially I could barely run 500 meters. I mostly ran at my parents’ house, so I was running up hills, but still. I was horrified at my lack of cardiovascular fitness, my lack of lung capacity. I hadn’t even tried to run in years.
I was struggling to run half of a two-mile circuit with many, many walking breaks. But. I immediately started to feel like a whole new person.
I remember sitting in my boyfriend’s kitchen one morning, having been for a run a few hours previously, and realising that I felt really, really fantastic. I was energetic, happy, enthusiastic. And I realised how much I had grown used to feeling tired and lethargic and generally terrible.
My busy schedule has only allowed me to squeeze in two runs a week, which I’m well aware is less than ideal. So my progress is very slow. I mostly run in the morning, and doing so before work takes discipline. My body is stiff and a little reluctant. But afterwards, I am clearer, more focused, more calm.
None of this is any news to anyone who exercises regularly. It wasn’t that I was unfamiliar with the idea that exercise made you feel so much better, either. But I guess I had to experience it to really understand. I’m working now on finding time for a third run in the week. The sky’s the limit.