I used to hate running. Like actually despise it. Growing up running was my sister’s thing. It was something my dad was good at and my sister was good at. It was something I did because I felt I should.
(Color Run after studying – and eating – abroad for 4 months)
Running for me started freshman year of high school. My sister was recruited by the running coach and I decided to join as well. For the next four years I never let my track coach live down the fact that he recruited Julie and not me. I ran the long distance races because that is what Julie ran and being twins we had to do the same thing, right? Wrong.
(Before running our first half marathon together)
I forget when I transitioned to the medium-length races, but it was definitely for the better. I started training because I wanted to be better, I wanted to compete. Even still, I dreaded running. I loved talking with my friends while running and I loved being good. The 800 and the 1,000 meters were my races and Julie could have the mile and the 2 mile all to herself. But even still the actual act of running was still not enjoyable.
Looking back on this I can say that I didn’t enjoy running because I did it for all the wrong reasons. I ran because my sister did. I ran because I was unhappy with my body shape and wanted to lose weight. I ran because I thought I should.
In college I kept running for the same reason. I felt like I had to run to either get in shape or stay in shape. I ran because I was dissatisfied with my body. Every run was a mental struggle to keep going. I felt like I had to reach a certain mileage or the run didn’t count. And I hated every mile…every tenth of a mile.
I should say that I did enjoy running with my dad and my sister. I enjoy running with other people because it’s a social event. So I didn’t hate that. I thoroughly look forward to times when I am home and can run with my dad.
(Sorry for the blurry picture, but I love the reflectors)
My approach to running changed drastically this past year. My dietetic internship gave me so much more than I had expected. I learned how to ask for help, how to manage multiple commitments and how to accept things as they are. Multitasking became the norm. Nothing was as good as I wanted it to be, but with a lack of time it was simply as good as it was going to get. I rarely had time for exercise. While in my clinical rotations I counted my walk to the site as my exercise for the day because every other moment was spent doing work.
(Running along the beach with friends)
When rotations ended I craved movement. And not because I felt like I had to get back in shape or because I disliked my body. Actually the past year of not having time to exercise and not being able to eat as well as I wanted to or felt I should transformed my mentality. I appreciate my body for surviving and succeeding in the past year. I feel accomplished and mature. I honestly feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.
That being said, I want to exercise now. More specifically I find myself wanting to run. I don’t feel like I have to run every day to be a success because any day that I move my body is more than I could do this past year. I run because it feels good. I run because I value having the time to do so. I run because my body is healthy and strong and I can.
I am so grateful for my dietetic internship for giving me profound experiences and increasing my knowledge. I am also thankful for the life lessons and the change in perspective it provided.
I enjoy running now, but I didn’t used to. Some days yoga sounds much better to me than running and that’s okay. I’m never going to be the runner that my sister is, but I enjoy sharing her passion of the sport at my own level of commitment and desire. I enjoy cheering her on. For the first time in my life I am content with my body and I value all that I have been through. I will continue running as long as it feels good. For now, I look forward to my training runs and seeing what this marathon holds for me.