I love running.
I love how it makes me feel. I love how healthy I am because of it. I love the number of baked goods I can eat fairly guilt-free (just don’t tell Toni…). I love how powerful I am, how far I can go, how peaceful it is, and how high the endorphins make me at the end.
But something horrible happens every time I get up to go running.
It’s not subtle, either. It won’t be ignored and demands to be listened to, paid attention to, adhered to.
Evil-Julia kicks in and starts smack-talking me.
I tell myself that I can’t do it.
I tell myself I am NOT a runner.
I tell myself that it will be hard, impossible, painful, and that I will fall, hurt myself, embarrass myself, let myself down.
I tell myself that I don’t look like a runner when I’m in my regular, day-to-day clothes – what makes me think I look anything BUT ridiculous and poser-y in my running gear?!
I tell myself I’m fat. I do. I talk about my thunder thighs and my chubby belly and my face that I feel looks bigger when my hair is up in a tight bun and that my butt jiggles when I run and that’s all anybody is ever going to look at.
I forget that I’m thirty pounds lighter than I was after Isaac was born. That I walked into a lingerie store to buy new bras because my boobs have shrunk SO MUCH and the lady told me, without any thought, that I was a medium (I’ve NEVER been a medium). That the clothes I bought at the beginning of this year because nothing fit me are too big for me and I’m rapidly closing in on the need to buy a whole new wardrobe. Again.
I forget that last weekend I ran 12.84 km, the farthest I’ve ever run and more than half-way to my 21-km-half-marathon goal for next year. I forget that I had to ask my brother-in-law, who runs twice as fast as I do, who has been running his whole life, who runs 10 km for breakfast, why my toes were going numb and he said I needed new shoes. Do you know what that means??? It means that I’ve logged so much mileage in these blue and hot pink shoes since the beginning of the SUMMER that I need new shoes already. Seriously.
I forget everything good about what I’ve accomplished. But, I don’t stop moving. I don’t stop putting on my running gear that I laid out the night before for this very reason. I don’t stop making pre-run toast or peeling that pre-run banana. I don’t avoid reviewing the route, looking at the distance, and visualizing the scenery in my mind. I don’t stop myself from putting on those shoes, taking a deep breath and escaping the house like a ninja so I don’t wake up any babies as I leave.
And I step outside. And the cool air hits me. And the feel of the pavement is under my shoes. And the quiet of the early, early morning surrounds me. And all of the worries, the stress, the obligations, the responsibilities, the to-dos fade away. And I get to the end of my driveway and I start to run. And then I remember.
I’m a runner.