Running: Kicking the Gremlins to the Curb

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It’s early. It’s cold. I’m tired. Do I really have to do this?

That’s how this whole thing started. From walking the kids to school as my main form of exercise to running on a cold morning, every morning. You have to understand I’m not a runner. I use to be, in my distant youth. I use to run sprint and relay for the school track team but long distance was never my thing. Unlike cross-country running, relay racing isn’t something you can transition into a hobby – how many times have you seen runners in the park passing batons to each other on the trail — so I eventually dropped running.

That is until my nine-year old daughter signed up for her school’s cross-country team. I was excited for her. I drifted into flashbacks of my elementary school years and the fun I had attending competitions and training with the team. This was the first thing from my own youth that my daughter seemed to have an interest in. I don’t expect my kids to love everything I do or did but I must admit this interest did spark a feeling in me, a sense of kindredness perhaps. I think it was this feeling that caused me to do the unthinkable.

I started running again.

Actually what really sparked my interest to pull on the sneakers was fear.  It occurred to me that my daughter had never run in her life, excluding the occasional game of tag. Although her enthusiasm was a great motivator, I was worried it would easily be quashed by not being prepared. I didn’t want her to feel defeated before she even gave this new interest a shot. So showing my interest in running, heading out with her to practice, this was my way of showing support and keeping her motivated. What mother wouldn’t have done the same for her child?

So there it was, early, cold and we were both tired. My daughter was having doubts about her new found interest; she started to back out. I must admit, I could have easily given in. I had some time to think about my whole ‘I will run with you’ plan. But trying new things takes work. If not practicing for the cross-country team, then learning to read or play the piano, writing a first draft of a book idea that’s been floating around in your head, being the new person in the school or club. There would always be something and I didn’t want to set the example of walking away if you just didn’t feel like doing it, especially since she hadn’t really tried yet.

We ran. We panted. We walked.

I did say it had been years since I had run. We were back home so quick that my husband questioned if we had even left. Surely we were just popping in because we had forgotten something? I must admit, I was feeling a little disappointed with our progress. I don’t know why we feel that when starting a new fitness program we’ll break records on our first attempt. Maybe it’s only I who feels this way.

But instead of focusing our lack of success, joking about how little progress we made, I was enthusiastic about the run. I mean we did it! We didn’t run far but the two of us, neither one being a runner, did what we set out to do. We ran.

When trying something new, it’s so easy to give in to our inner voice, the one that reminds us we’re out of shape, we’re too old or young, we’re neglecting other things that need to get done, we’re being selfish taking 20-minutes for ourselves. We have to ignore it, even when it points out we’ll never make it to the finish line so give up now or that our run doesn’t compare to all the gals we know who run regularly.

We didn’t let our inner gremlins talk us out of doing it and I pushed that same voice aside when we finished our, albeit short, run. I feel great about that, about running. And we’re still running, weeks later. Doesn’t matter how far or how fast, we’re running.

Take that gremlin.

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