On becoming a runner

on

For the past 11 years, I’ve had a mental block against running. It all started in 8th grade, when my basketball coach thought it would be a good idea for us to run cross-country to get in shape for the upcoming season. I agreed to do it, but hardly ever trained. Like maybe I went on 1 or 2 runs the whole season apart from the meets (and I can’t remember why, but I don’t remember ever having practice as a team?!).  I just didn’t like it, and, as a result, finished second-to-last in the 2 meets I can remember.

I like to think of myself as being pretty athletic and have almost always kept up an exercise routine, running was the one activity I never wanted to touch after 8th grade.

Carlos started running several times a week over a year ago. When I moved to Mexico, he tried to convince me to join him. I did join him, but at first, I only walked. However, Carlos was persistent, so in February (mostly to appease him), we started running twice a week. It was really hard at first, and I couldn’t go very far. I was determined to show Carlos that I could, though.

After only a couple weeks at our routine, we went to Texas for a visit and kept running. To my surprise, I was hardly tired during the weeks I ran in Texas, and I was running longer than I had been in Mexico. I guess I just got into shape really quickly? I thought. Well, I went back to Mexico, and the first time I went running again, I really struggled. Seconds after starting, I was having trouble breathing. “What happened to being in such good shape?” I thought. Soon after that, I realized the altitude difference. Saltillo’s elevation is 5,250 ft., while Austin’s is 500 ft. Yikes. I knew this whole running thing would take discipline.

We kept running, through March and April. Each week, I ran a little bit further. My lungs usually tired out before my legs, but eventually they adjusted, too. Surprisingly, on the days I didn’t run, I actually missed it. In mid-April, Carlos and I talked about running a 5k on May 11 with some of our friends. I kept that race in the back of my mind every time I ran.

May 11 came and I had so much fun. Carlos ran ahead of me after kilometer 3, which meant I could see him waiting for me at the finish line. My time wasn’t amazing, but when I finished I felt like I could have kept running.  The highlight of the race was being announced as the 2nd-place finisher for the 10k in my age group-35 years and up. They eventually fixed the results and I didn’t get the trophy, but we got a good laugh out of it.

Running isn’t something I hate anymore. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love it yet, but I love the way I feel after I run. Running takes discipline, and discipline is valuable for all parts of life. I realize now that if I had to been disciplined to actually train during my high school cross-country days, I would have done just fine. I might have even started thinking of myself as a runner then, instead of now, at age 25. Better late than never, right?

P.S. Here are some photos of me where I run in the plaza near Carlos’ house, and of the 5k. Sometimes Carlos takes pictures of me doing random activities and then tells me to use them “for my blog” (hence the plaza photos). Thanks for being my loyal photographer, Carlos!

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