The Thoughts of a New Runner (Who Is Usually Quite Sane, I Promise)

As I pulled on my tennis shoes, I had lovely thoughts like, “I feel great today. The weather is perfect for a nice 3-mile run.” Or “I’m going to glide like a gazelle across the pavement.”

I gave my husband and the boys a quick wave, put on the headphones, and left. I started a fast walk as I fiddled with my iPhone: music on Pandora; tracking the workout with MapMyRun. And I ran.

As I began, my steps fell in sync with the music. “I could run forever,” I thought.

.25 mile later, my breathing started to get ragged. “Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. I can do this.”

Breathing under control, I turned onto a gravel road and faced nothing but fields and a farmhouse. My legs became heavy, tired. I focused on my arms, imagining they were parts of a machine, pumping and pulling me forward.

The farmhouse was on my right, a small house with several out-buildings. “Probably for storing equipment,” I thought. But I read a book recently about a family of country boys that were buying women and killing them, storing them in buildings just like those. I moved to the other side of the road.

Halfway up a small hill, my calves were on fire. “What happens if they burn right off my body?”

Then I heard, “Distance. One. Mile. Time. Ten. Minutes. And. Forty-Three. Seconds.”

“It’s only been a mile?” I tried to pick up the pace, but my legs didn’t seem willing. “I’ll just do 2.5 miles instead of three,”I thought. And then, “No. Three miles this time. I’m doin’ it.”

Finally, I reached the turn-around point. I paused the app, stretching my calves and catching my breath. A truck rolled slowly over the top of the hill. “Oh great, they’re going to stop and ask if I need help. I probably look like I’m dying.” The truck passed without pause. “Well I guess they’ve never heard of small town kindness. What if I were dying?”

I tapped the Resume button and started running again. “Halfway done. I can do this.”

My thoughts wandered until I heard, “Distance. Two. Miles. Time. Twenty-one. Minutes. And. Fifty-eight. Seconds.”

My calves started to burn again. I felt the back of my ankles tightening. “I can’t do this anymore,” I thought.

The next song started playing: “Die Young” by Ke$ha. I thought about my son. Cystic Fibrosis. Stories from adults with CF, swearing that running is what keeps them healthy. Ke$ha sang, “We’re gonna die young.” I fought back the tears. Pounded fear into the pavement. With each stride I thought, “Not if I can help it.”

When I crossed our driveway, I heard, “Distance. Three. Miles.” I shut it off.

I was finished. I did it. I will do it again. For myself. For my son.

Image Credit: Google Images

Image Credit: Google Images

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45 Comments on “The Thoughts of a New Runner (Who Is Usually Quite Sane, I Promise)”

  1. Ashley @ OurPersonalRecords says:

    That’s awesome! The first run back is SO difficult!!

  2. Wonderful post – one of my favorites from you! Your struggle and ultimate triumph come through clearly. I was really rooting for you. Great job!

  3. That is great! I struggle with running as well but it feels so good when you complete what you set out to do!

  4. Keep going Laura for your son and you! beautiful words 🙂

  5. outlawmama says:

    Oh, that was chilling. I didn’t know where you were going but you sure elevated a running post into something sublime and extremely memorable as I head out for my run.

    • Laura says:

      Thank you, lady!! I forgot my reason for being out there. If those people with CF can run until they are coughing up blood and mucous, then dammit my perfectly healthy lungs can get out there and do it. It gave me the fight.

  6. Amy Terror says:

    Great post! I have been psyching myself up to get back into running and I just haven’t been able to do it. I used to run a mile a day in high school, every day to keep in shape and after having kids, I just never have the time. Your post made me want to make that time!

    • Laura says:

      I was the same way! It’s been the better part of the ten years since high school that I have been out of the running loop… And it definitely feels good to make the time for myself. Get out there and join me, Amy!! Maybe you’ll have something else to write about. (as if our kids don’t give us enough material on their own…..) 🙂

  7. Oh, the bizarre thoughts that enter your head when you run! You had me laughing at the storage facility part. I probably would have been thinking the same thing.

    Stay strong and keep running, for you and your son. You won’t regret it.

  8. Love this, Laura. I especially related to the “It’s only been a mile?!” thought process. You’ve inspired me to step up my own jogging program! Well done!

    • Laura says:

      Lol Sometimes I think running without a watch or app tracking my time and distance would be better for me. To just run until I don’t feel like running anymore. Then again, I might only make it down the street and back. 😉

  9. I hate running and totally relate to the first ten-seconds of loving it and then the sudden realization that it sucks. I loved reading about your motivation and it gives me a great encouragement to stick with my post-baby running plans.

  10. This is my favorite post of yours, ever. I am a runner, and you wrote the feeling of wanting to give up but not giving up absolutely perfectly. Congratulations on your three miles. Your son is so lucky to have you.

    • Laura says:

      Thank you, Samantha! I really appreciate that. There was much more in my head, a lot more crazy.. a lot more fighting with myself.. but I had to keep it pretty condensed to fit it for the grid!! 🙂 I appreciate your kindness!

  11. Bee says:

    You did it! Go, you!

  12. Laura I am so impressed with you. I did a 5K at age 45 in like 45 minutes. And that is the only time ever I have run. Two years later, cool running shoes purchased, I think all the time “Hey, I should go running.” But I never do. You ARE DOING IT. Brava. — Cindy

    • Laura says:

      That is awesome, Cindy!!! I want to do a 5k race… I’d like to get a little faster first though! Strap on those shoes and get to running, lady. It will be excruciating, but then you’ll feel so good. 🙂

  13. As I too am a runner who is sorely out of shape, I related to your running thoughts completely! Then, when you got to the end, I felt the weight of the illness hanging over you, and you really brought it home. Very nicely done.

    • Laura says:

      Running is so addictive… That “I conquered it” feeling that you get after fighting with yourself the whole way. Very empowering. Thank you!!

  14. Vanessa says:

    Anybody who makes it past the first quarter mile of a run is a hero in my books.

    Years ago – before the internet was in every home – I did a speech for school on Cystic Fibrosis. To this day, every time I read of another advance made in the treatment of CF I do a fist pump.

    • Laura says:

      Oh wow, that’s cool. We do big fist pumps here as well. I’m sure it’s a whole new world today compared to the time you did your speech. If there were ever a “good time” to have CF, it’s now!!! Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂

  15. 50peach says:

    Proud of you!!! Way to not give up and remember something so personal to give you strength. You’ve discovered one of a beginner runner’s greatest tools. Finding your purpose at the moment when it starts to suck. Awesome job.

  16. dberonilla says:

    I am so happy for you that you did it! And when you talked about the truck I could have sworn we were the same person for a minute there. Haha. So funny how our minds work.
    Congrats Again. You are a rockstar!

  17. The thought about the farmhouse and the murder made me laugh. I often see big trash bags on the side of the road and wonder if there are body parts in them and how no one would ever know because who opens those things.

    But this post was so much more than that. Good for you for continuing on with the run.

  18. tua1992 says:

    It’s amazing how one 1 mile led to another and then your thoughts led to yet another one. Absolutely inspiring post. Great job and yes a great post. 🙂

  19. […] Close Families – The Thoughts of a New Runner – An inspirational tale of […]

  20. kianwi says:

    Ha ha, that is so exactly what it is like! There are days I have to fight with myself the entire way! Fortunately there are also days I run like a gazelle 🙂 Good job!

    • Laura says:

      Sometimes it’s much better… But a lot of it has been struggle for me so far. Totally the mental thing that keeps me going right now. I hope to be gazelle-like someday. 🙂 Thanks!!

  21. ann bennett says:

    when I do water aerobics, it is so boring and mindless at times. This is when I create stories. Happy running, it does take dedication.

  22. Loved this! I laughed out loud when I first read your app talking to you. I feel exactly the same way! how can it be that I’ve only ran 1 mile?? I can relate to your emotions pushing you through to the finish line.

  23. mollytopia says:

    Running is amazing. Makes us remember who we are, and what we’re for. Even if it’s different from one day to the next. Thanks for the reminder. I’m for you, lady – keep up the great work! I’ma lace up my shoes tomorrow : )

  24. Well done Sister! You had me laughing and then teary and then cheering. Blessings to you!

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