Pretty much every time I’m running I think back to the days when running a mile was one of the most embarresing days of the semester for me.
Back in middle school, each semester we had to run a mile around the track. Besides the fact that I almost always dreaded gym class, I dreaded this day the most. I remember the days and hours leading up to that day were always daunting. I knew what was going to happen, I was going to struggle. I always struggled with running. The main reason I struggled is becuase I was overweight and out of shape.
So it’s the day of the mile run, I would change into my gym clothes and head out to the track behind our school. We would all stretch for a few minutes then line up by the starting line, I would usually place myself in the back so I couldn’t technically fall behind all the fast runners in the front. I would always start out with a slow jog (that was all I could really handle) while I watched everybody else sprint down the track. Sometimes I would start out in an optimistic mindset “you can do this” only to get to the second mile to begin strugging to breathe. Other times, I wouldn’t start off so optimistic, but the end result was always the same- a struggle. By the second or third lap, I was always walking with my hands above my head, the universal sign for “I’m struggling” (aka cramping). I would watch people lap me up, which meant they were on their fourth lap while I was still on my third. Then people would start to finish and I was still walking/attempting to jog in an effort to finish. I remember times where I would have a cramp, but jog thorough the pain just so I could finish. Then the time comes, where I’m one of the last people left to walk up to the finish line. The whole class would be standing there, some cheering me on, and finally I crossed the finish line. I would cross the finish line out of breath, sweaty, and extremley red faced- then plop down past the finish line or walk off ready to hang my head in shame.
Fast Forward to the other day, I woke up and went to my apartment gym. I was on the first week of a new fitness program created by my coach, Brittany Lesser. This day was the first day she wrote HIIT sprints into my plan (HIIT= High Intensity Inverval Training). The plan has me warm up for five minutes, sprint as fast as I can for 30 seconds, walk for two minutes and thirty seconds, repeating six times, then a cool down for five minutes.
I put on some pump up music (usually a very fast paced mix on SoundCloud) did my warm up walk, then started to sprint. While I was sprinting, I felt so good. With each sprint I would increase the speed a little more. I felt myself “flying” down the treadmil. There I was sprinting, and not struggling (actually enjoying it). I couldn’t help but to keep thinking about those times in middle school, I was literally getting emotional on the treadmil that day- just thinking about how far i’ve come.
Working out is such a great tool that provides physical and mental benefits. That day even though I was working out to achieve a goal of mine- getting in better shape, the immediate benefit I got from it was so mental.
So if your struggling, just know that if you keep working you will get to this point. The point where you can look back on those struggles, and you can appreciate something as simple as running more than if you didn’t experience those struggles.
And if you have already gone through any kind of struggle, I urge you to take into account how far you’ve come- you’ve gotten over that struggle. I hope you can find the good in it and appreciate how far you’ve come.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Until next time,