"I always tell beginning runners: Train your brain first. It's much more important than your heart or legs." - Amby Burfoot
The hardest part about exercising is not the beating of my heart, the sore muscles, the pounding of the pavement as it reverberates my bones.
On the contrary, the hardest part is getting up, getting started, getting going. Once my feet hit the sidewalk, I can run. I can fly. I can strive.
It is the choosing - the deciding - that is most difficult.
I used to think that I wasn't meant to be a runner. I am not tall or lanky. I don't have that lean composure, that elegant stride, that controlled breathing - characteristics that are so common among runners.
I am actually rather curvy, a Marilyn Monroe type figure. And my stride is a little funny. And I run pretty slowly, one foot in front of the other, methodically.
I took up running in 2006, not because it is an innate talent, but because my heath is extremely important to me...and running is one form of exercise that doesn't allow for excuses.
Running only requires a pair of tennis shoes, a good sports bra, a sturdy jogging stroller (if you want to include your baby), a pair of legs, and a beating heart. No babysitters! No gym fees! No pricey equipment! No gas/driving! I just have to lace up my shoes and head out the door.
I started running with my firstborn baby in 2006 and, since then, I've completed two 5Ks (see above left: that's me after my first 5K in December 2007).
5Ks are fun and inspiring and, strangely, addicting. There is something so thrilling about crossing the finish line and about watching the other people out there - and they're not all just Olympic gods and goddesses. The people on the track are ordinary people. Young. Old. Short. Tall. Thin. Stocky. 5Kers are diverse, to be sure.
I never would have pictured myself as a runner, as a racer. But now - now, I proudly say that I am. I run. I breathe. I soar. My heart is strong. My body is strong. I am strong.
And that feeling is truly one-of-a-kind.
***For more running inspiration, check out "The Gigantic Book of Running Quotations," edited by Hal Higdon. The GIGANTIC (yes, it really is huge...as in, dictionary huge!) book features hundreds of quotes to inspire, challenge, encourage, and humor runners. I am a "quote collector" so I love having this book on my bookshelf. It really is motivating and would be a fantastic gift for any runner in your life. Only one thing could make it better: pictures. Maybe a few photos of Richard Whitehead or Team Hoyt, for starters.
YOUR TURN: How do you get motivated/inspired?
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of "The Gigantic Book of Running Quotations," edited by Hal Higdon. To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Monday, June 1 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).
*UPDATE* The winner is #37 Erma. Congratulations!