Friday, December 11, 2015

A minor running epiphany

We have seen unseasonably warm weather lately -- highs in the 50s. My feelings about the treadmill are well-documented, so it's no surprise that I've been taking advantage of outdoor runs while I still can. Colder temperatures are surely on the way. And, honestly, I run pretty well in the cold. But as soon as there's snow (aka something for me to slip on), I go inside.

My favorite post-work route is just outside my office. I know exactly which turns to make to get the distance I want, whether it's one, two, or three miles. On Tuesday, I opted for a route that would definitely give me two miles but also the option of three if I decided I wanted to go a little further. The route weaves around the on-site ponds and along two busy streets, especially during the evening commute.

During my run, I went past a lot of motorists -- some moving and some stopped. A lot of them stared at me. Probably because I was in short sleeves in December.  And that ... right there ... is a key change in my running journey. A running milestone that has nothing to do with distance or time.

When I started running six years ago, I would run only on side streets and at odd times so I would be sure no one would see me. I was very self-conscious about how I look when I run. I was sure people would look at me and think:

"Do you see that face she's making? Gross."
"Do you see the way she jiggles? Gross"
"Who is that girl fooling? She's not a runner."
"She definitely doesn't look like a runner."

All of these thoughts made me delay signing up for a race. I was convinced people would point and laugh at me. When I confessed this to my friend, Jennie (the one who conned talked me into taking up running), she told me, "Other runners won't even notice you. Those who aren't running will wish they could run."  

I kept that in mind and finally signed up for a race. Sure enough, no one pointed and laughed. Other runners were caught up in their own heads.  Race spectators were all there to support and encourage runners -- even those they didn't know. I eventually got over my feelings of insecurity and I haven't really looked back.

I only had one instance where this wasn't true. A few years ago, I was running here in my city. Some guy rolled down his car window and yelled out to me, "Keep running -- you're still fat!"  Rude, right?  At the time, it really stung.  But now I just think that guy was a jerk and well, he was in a car, so he probably can't run. And that was once.  Out of how many runs?  Hundreds. Maybe even thousands.

So when people were staring at me the other night, and my first instinct was to assume it was about my short sleeves, that's progress.  That's huge.  It's a statement of how far I've come in my running journey.  Maybe I'm not fast.  Maybe I haven't done a full marathon.  But I've found a place where running is enjoyable.  Running is my stress relief after a bad day. Running is my escape from the computer and social media. Running is how I meet up with old friends and make new ones. Running is something I do for me. And I don't care what anyone thinks of me.


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off 
Saturday:  Off 
Sunday: Off 
Monday: Fit Fusion
Tuesday: 3-mile outdoor run 
Wednesday: Core + Fit Fusion

Thursday: 1-mile walk

This was a pretty good week for workouts. I'm surprised at myself.

I'm looking forward to my final race of the year tomorrow!


  1. This is so great!

    I will admit that my self-consciousness is the biggest thing that keeps me from getting back out there. I know it's silly and no one really cares, but I feel like my entire body is a flashing neon sign. I need to get over that.


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