This past Saturday I got to kick of my first of many "long runs" by putting in four miles in my hometown of Yakima, Washington. I smile a little when I write "long run" for two reasons. First, 4 miles is not very long compared to the 13 I'll be running in March, or the 6 I just raced a few weeks ago. Secondly, because 4 miles is 4 more miles than I'd EVER thought I'd run if you talked to me a year ago. A year ago I was 40 lbs heavier and had yet to discover all of the unknown abilities I possessed if I'd only apply myself.
I planned my run for first thing in the morning so that I wouldn't get distracted and "forget" to run. I ended up waking up two hours before the sun (more like my toddler woke up 2 hours before the sun) so I got to enjoy a nice breakfast and morning time with my family before heading out.
The weather was nice and crisp. It was chilly but sunny and clear. In Yakima, there aren't a ton of tall buildings,and it's in a valley. You can see for miles if you get in the right spot. And apparently the right spot happens to be right where I ran. The sun was at my back for most of the run, for which I was very thankful. There was some good wind blowing right in my face for most of it, but I just kept reminding myself that it was making me a stronger runner.
I took in all of the colors of the fall, and the relative quiet of few cars passing and no "city" noises or gym noises. I'm officially a fall-lover.
I ran from my Grandparent's house to my Aunt & Uncle's house. That fact is a delightful piece of information because my cousins have always been very athletic (both in high school and on varsity baseball teams) and I've always been... well... NOT. It was nice to share that new piece of my life with them by showing up at their house all sweaty and proud.
Running in my hometown was a sweet victory in itself. When I lived back home - before moving to Portland for college - I was a very different person. At least in terms of my physical activity and my attitude towards sports. You couldn't pay me to run back then, and I had doubts about the sanity of anyone who did any sports for fun. I had been on the "outside" of all the cool athletic kids since I first moved to Yakima and took it rather personally. As a defense mechanism I wrote them - and their silly physical fitness - off and rejected it out of hand. PE taught me over and over that I was inferior at best, and a pain in the butt at worst. I was not needed or wanted in the athletic world, and all would be better if I just scoot myself away from all the healthy kids and go read a book.
Being free to run and just enjoy that feeling of strength and accomplishment was good medicine for my soul. In a way, it was more than a run. It was as though I were simultaneously making peace with all those "weird sports kids" and myself.
I did have some worries. "What if someone from high school sees me running and sees how fat I still am." I'd always avoided sports because I feared it drew attention to my weight. I just reminded myself - like I always do here when I run outside - of some important truths.
1.) No one probably notices or cares how "fat" or not fat I am.
2.) Anyone who wastes their energy on judging me for being fat is not the kind of person whose opinion I would truly seek after anyway
3.) Anyone who sees me running is sitting on their BUTTS in their car. So ha!
4.) Except for other runners... but runners are a nice crowd and usually proud to see a fellow road warrior out there.
So that's the tale. Three cheers for overcoming adolescent fears!