I haven’t been running for months. Until this morning I had no motivation. There are many reasons for that, most of which I am working up the courage to share at a later date. Yesterday I determined that this morning was going to be Day One. I’m not quite ready to run – the altitude and being out of shape and practice make that a difficult task. Walking, however, I can do. It helps that my mom wanted to go with me. It’s great to have a walking or running buddy, someone to keep conversation flowing (though I am quite good at talking to myself) and motivate you to keep going when you would rather just quit.
I’ve written about running before, how I started several years ago and it became part of my life. I found my inner competitor, loved the challenge of races, and loved the health benefits. What I failed to confess is that I actually hate running too. Every time I lace up my shoes I have to give myself a pep talk. Running is mind over matter. Sure, there is a technique to it if you want to be faster and avoid injury. There are training schedules and running coaches. But the main challenge to overcome in running is yourself. I have a voice in my head that begs me to just go back to bed. It pleads with me to stop and walk. It groans at mile 2, pitches a fit at mile 4, and tries to convince me I may pass out just before I finish mile 6.
I decided to fight that voice this morning with another voice. I told myself it was time. I told my feet they were going to cooperate. I set out my running shoes, pants, and top last night. I set my alarm for 5:15am. I pointed to the spot at the top of the stairs where my mom and I were going to meet at 5:30 and head out the door. The new voice won. I walked.
The air was crisp this morning, a little breeze was blowing and I felt the goosebumps on my arms, despite my long sleeves. It was probably 60 degrees, about 15 degrees cooler than what is comfortable for me. The earaches came on fairly quickly, but I let that voice – the one that had already won the first argument – tell my ears it was going to be just fine. There were some hills, something I have to get used to here. I let the voice take over again and remind me that hills just make me stronger. My shoes are new, so I felt the blisters start to form on the bottom of my big toe. But the voice laughed and said, “You always get those and they go away quickly. Keep moving.” I’m not exactly sure how far we walked, but it was a couple of miles I think. No great feat, but no small task either. Not everyone has two healthy legs, after all. Not everyone has a strong heart and good lungs. I was thankful for all of those things this morning. The new voice said, “Nicely done. Day One finished!”
I am grateful that I listened to a new voice. Yes, I have voices in my head (if you are honest, so do you). Sometimes they tell me lies and try to defeat me, or laugh at the attempts I make in life. But there are quieter voices that have the ability to speak up and I’m hoping those voices will start having the courage to increase the volume and drown out the dissenting voices. My new running voice took a bold step and with practice it will get louder and motivate me to keep going. My alarm is set for 5:15am again. My running clothes are freshly washed and folded next to my shoes. The meeting spot is still at the top of the stairs. Tomorrow I’m listening to that wonderful new voice.
New Voices = Joy