I don't love running. To be honest; I am not sure I even really like running.
I have considered myself a "runner" for almost 3 years. Starting with a 2km run during a Try-a-Tri that I was sure might just kill me - to currently preparing for my 4th Half Marathon (Read how it all started...).
When I began running, and began learning about running I was enamoured by the amount of runner friends I had that were so in love with running. I would enviously listen to their stories about hitting the open road, reaching a Runner's High and feeling like they could run for days on end.
I was eager to experience those things. I would imagine myself hitting 5k and feeling wonderful, deciding to run just 5k more, than 5k more, than 5k more.
3 years in and that has not happened to me yet :)
Running is hard for me. Very, very hard. It is not always pretty and this weekend while out on my 16km long training run I thought to myself "I don't even like running". But I think as a runner it's OK to not like running because I know what I do like.
I do not like anything past the 15th km. I do not like the first 2km's or the last 3km's. I do not like being passed way more than passing. My legs get sore around the 9km mark - my back reminds me it is crooked and reeking havoc on my lungs at the 4km, 8km and 15km mark. My second toe gets sore and I start to wonder if my toenail is bleeding as I pass 10km. The entire time waiting for a runners high to hit instead of runners trots.
But than the part I do like happens. I hit 16.01km and I am done.
And I feel like a million dollars.
I forget the pain from the 9th km, I take deeper stronger breaths and a small part of me hopes a bloody sock is coming out of my shoe to proudly show my battle scars.
After I run I love the run.
I love the way my body responds to my long runs.
I love how strong my legs feel.
I love how they look in shorts during the summer.
I love how deserving I feel of my full body massages.
I love my massage therapist.
I love how my clothes fit.
I love how I sleep.
I love being able to say, "Oh this morning? I was out running 16km"
I love how much nicer my skin and hair are since I became a runner.
I love my post run smoothie.
I love how I release an entire work week of stress in one long run.
I love seeing my husband at the finish lines.
I love the equally slow runners at a race encouraging each other.
I love the medals.
I love the accomplishment.
I love breaking past the mental barrier that tells me I am to slow to keep doing this.
I loved crying like a baby as I crossed the finish line for my first Half Marathon
So this weekend was when I decided it's OK to not like running, because instead I love what running has done to my body and to my life.
And that perhaps is more important, that is what gets me up at 5am on a Saturday, and that is what makes me push through and finish hard - even if I don't like it all the time ;)