Friday, February 19, 2010
A Benefit of Experience...
Yep, that's me a couple of weeks ago... running with three layers on the bottom and five on top. Brrrrr... I am so ready for the warm... and, I will so appreciate warmth after this cold.
I always "say" I started running when I was twenty. Truth is, I started running as a child. It was play then... I imagined that I was a horse galloping along free and strong... No matter the "start date," running has had a part in most of my life.
I read Running for Health and Beauty during the first year of Amanda's life. I can't remember the author's name, but she convinced me that running 1.5 miles three times a week would change my life. It did. Of course, it took me a whole year to run the entire 1.5 miles. I was so excited to make that milestone!
Looking back to those days, I was a new mother in a marriage that was not the fairy tale I had signed up for... overwhelmed, fearful, and filled with a love that scared me in its intensity... for this tiny creature who was totally dependent on me. I was young. I was stupid. I was terrified. And, I needed to feel the successes of making it from one telephone pole to the next. Running gave me an area that I could push myself to keep going... and succeed. It made me feel stronger. It made me feel like I could cope; like I could make it; like I could raise this child to be a survivor, too.
Fast forward three years. I still celebrated every successful mile and a half. I still fed off the beauty of nature; the gift of a body that could run; and the gratitude I would feel while making my run. I met a new friend, a little older... a little wiser than me. She ran, too. Her runs were three miles long. My one point five mile adventure didn't sound so good anymore. My balloon felt a bit deflated. I told her I didn't think I could ever run that far. She said sure I could. I joined her on several three milers over time. I learned the secret of pacing myself. I learned that my limitations were only in my mind.
It didn't take long after that barrier was broken for me to extend my runs to include 10ks (6.2 miles). My regular runs would be three to five miles. More years pass. Making a long story short, I celebrated my fortieth birthday by running my first marathon (26.2 mi.) and would enjoy four more marathons over the next few years. Those were my peak running days.
More years passed. I lost my desire to do marathons... yet, it became harder and harder to be satisfied with running "normal" amounts... if I wasn't doing long runs on the weekend, did it really count? Adjustment to decreased mileage was difficult.
Then, I hit the menopause button along with some other life changes. I sat on my butt. I thought running was over for me. I didn't really care. Until, a few months ago I realized that life just wasn't as good and I wanted that to change! At 53, I started running again... the biggest difference between 53 y/o Tanna and 20 y/o Tanna is that I knew I could run. I started back running two miles at a time and quickly progressed to three. I started back running two miles. I smile to realize how long it took me at twenty to make it to a mile and a half. There are a few things to be said for age and experience.
It's all in the knowing. The voice I coach myself along with now knows... it is encouraging... it does not doubt. My pace was very slow to start... slow, but sure. I so often wonder how very much we keep ourselves from doing, accomplishing, enjoying, being... just because we doubt ourselves.
I'm so grateful for my friend, who because she knew she could run three miles, taught me that I could too. Thank you, Milha. =)