Running Through My Mind

I’ve always wanted to be a runner.

Unfortunately my desire to be a runner manifests in the same way as my dream of being a super awesome ukulele player: I have all the tools required but apply actual effort toward it only sporadically. I keep hoping I’ll acquire these skills by osmotically absorbing expertise through the universe, bypassing all the frustration and discouraging failure that comes before SUCCESS.  (Or, let’s be honest, sometimes only less failure.)

Today I woke up at 6am, super pumped to go to my 8am CrossFit RunTex class!  Unfortunately I couldn’t find the class – it wasn’t at RunTex, and it wasn’t under the bridge down on the running trail.

So today I became a runner.

I had all the equipment necessary and no excuses: I was at Town Lake (fine, Lady Bird Lake), I was wearing my new-ish Merrell Vibrams, the 80’s Rock Hair Bands station on Pandora was ready to go and my headphones were in the car.  All the planets were aligned to support this.

Wendy's collage of running items

As I took off running, Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ you started playing; this was gonna be a great run, I could tell already!  This was my first test of a longer run in my Vibrams, and while my stride felt different it was different in a good way.  I ran.  I passed some other runners.  I kept running.  And running.  My inner monologue seemed stunned and kept checking in: “Are we good?  You’re going to keep running?  Okay.  You can stop any time, you know.”  I contemplated walking several times, but each time I realized that I didn’t need to walk I just wanted to.  So I kept running.  I was afraid if I let myself stop I’d have trouble starting again.

Eventually I did stop and walk when my feet got sloppy, and that’s when the voice in my head started bargaining.  “You can walk on pavement but you have to run on dirt/gravel.”  “You can walk when you get to the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.”  “You don’t have to start running again until you get across the 1st Street bridge.”

When I got to the old power company building I told myself I had to start running and keep running until I got back to the bridge by MoPac – where I started.  And this is where my poor sense of distance tripped me up (not literally of course): my inner voice KNOWS I have a poor sense of distance and exploited this fact.

Voice:  “You have no idea how far away the bridge is.  It could be miles.”

Me:      “Or it could be right around the corner.”

Voice:  “Sure, or it could be miles.  You’ll never make it.”

Me:      “If I quit now and it’s right around the corner I’ll feel like I cheated myself.”

Voice:  “But it could be miles and miles away.  Miles are really far.” [The inner voice is also likes to state the obvious.]

Turns out after looking at a map that the bridge WAS a couple of miles away, but that’s irrelevant because the voice doesn’t make compelling arguments based on logic or reason: it’s a fear monger.  It gave no good reason for wanting me to stop running, but I’m used to giving in to it so I finally stopped around the baseball field by Austin High School.  It very wisely stayed quiet after that.  I walked/ran the rest of the way back to the bridge (but mostly walked).

Wendy's map of running Lady Bird Lake

Still, I felt good about what I had done.  I’d enjoyed it, and I surprised that stupid inner monologue by running more than we both expected.

So maybe I’m on my way to becoming a runner?  I just need to get that voice in my head on board.

Images: Collage clockwise from upper left – iPhone headphones, Lady Bird trail, Merrell Vibrams, Pandora; author’s own using AustinExplorer map.

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