I've run six miles before. Three times. Two years ago. I started this particular training after finally working my way up to 5K after an eight month break from any running. It has been a process. Again.
In April, several friends are going to run a 10K on my husband's 45th birthday. Most of us are in our 40's. This makes us feel very badass. Unless, of course, my sister-in-law shows up. She's the hottest 50-something you've ever seen, has knocked out a few half marathons and will be jogging backward in front of us, smiling and talking the whole time. We love her ... even when we hate her a little bit.
Thursday I knocked out five miles. Allow me to repeat it for effect: this was my first five miles in two years! I felt badass!
I also wanted to stop. I always feel awful the first half mile. Always. It doesn't matter if I'm running a mile or six. The first half mile is when my body says, "You are stupid. Why do you do this? You are STUPID." Then I hit a groove and I'm usually okay for awhile.
On this long run, covering so much ground, I had to take both of the "big hills" in our area where we run. So, after conquering both and hitting the last longest stretch (running into the wind, of course), I wanted to stop. I really, really, really wanted to stop. I didn't. I cursed at myself for being dumb and stupid and ever wanting to run. I tried to look around at nature as a diversion. I tried to find a better song to motivate me. However, it was several minutes of misery.
After the leveling out, and after the wanting to throw myself off a cliff, I started to remember what it was like to start running again after such a long break. Then I remembered what it was like when I had never run, ever. I downloaded a silly little app and would run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds several times. And then I would run more and walk more and let the app boss me around.
I remembered how scary and miserable it was the first time I ran six minutes straight. Here I was, about to knock out five miles. Yet that first six minutes in a row seemed way too daunting. Impossible.
Every time that app took it up a notch, I was pretty sure I couldn't do it. Yet, every time I'd look behind me at what I'd already done, I would almost chuckle that those stages intimidated me so much.
That's when I thought about my kids. How slow healing can be, and how hard it can be to see it happening. When I coach parents of hurting kids, many times I encourage them to journal their experience so they can more easily look back month after month and year after year and see the progress. When you are in it, every day seems too daunting. You feel like you're getting nowhere. The little regressions that are a part of the process feel like you'll never be functioning on a different level in your home ... ever.
I hate the slow-and-steady thing. I like quick and easy. And fast. And obvious. I LOVE OBVIOUS!
I like my little phone apps because I can look back and see where I started. I can see my training process. In another app I can actually see where I ran. How far I ran. That feels amazing. As my friend, Stacey, says, "I don't like running. I like having run."
I don't like the slow-and-steady process of helping my kids heal. I don't like the slow-and-steady process of giving them what they need for issues that will be life-long. It's hard. Learning to pace yourself is exhausting, and I always tend to lean toward going too fast and frustrating myself. It does not come natural for me. So, when I can, I go back and remember life a year ago. Two years ago. Four years ago. When I coach parents, I hear their stories and remember things I have forgotten - things I never thought we would be without.
And when I run, I just keep cranking up the music and putting one foot in front of the other. Over and over.