Two Miles

Laying in the grass on Wednesday night, I pulled my right knee to my chest and exhaled.  The evening was comfortable with a slight breeze in the air.  When I first slammed the car door shut, I zipped my busted black Walmart hoodie up to my chin and internally patted myself on the back for bringing it along.  It now rested sprawled out on the roof of my car.  I looked up at the sky with my back pressed into the freshly cut blades and thought, Oh my God...I really just did that.

I'm not a runner.  I'm never going to be a runner.  Running is a solo sport; your biggest competition is yourself.  I don't enjoy being in my own head for such an uninterrupted amount of time.  There is no cheering section, nothing to keep your mind off of your mind.  In tennis, 90% of the game is mental but when I start to get frustrated I can shift my focus to my swing or reading my opponent's steps.  Something physical that I can blame in that moment for why my game is poor until I stop beating up on myself.  Running, well...there's nothing but the changing scenery.  The marker that ends the race grows further and further away.

I selected the soundtrack to Begin Again, which was an okay movie but something about the songs really pumped me up.  Keira Knightly and Adam Levine crooned to me while I gazed out at the fields and wildflowers on the edge of the park.  They tuned out the shouts of the baseball game.  The soft and slow build in each song kept me on pace, my goal of which was to go tortoise-level slow and get used to the idea of running for so long.

Five minutes in, I struggled.  My mental game was off and my mind shrieked at me to stop.  I tore off my hoodie and tied it around my waist.  A few weeks ago, I ran with Alisha and I swatted at the doubt in my head and let her wise words push through: "The first mile is the hardest."  In the second mile, my Runkeeper app happily told me I picked up speed and was moving 20 seconds faster than my first mile.  She was right.

At the first mile marker, I was through with my hoodie slapping against my leg.  I tossed it in the grass next to a sign for the pool and figured if someone snatched it up, then they needed it more than I did.

The second go around moved smoothly until about a mile and a half in.  I was slowing down (or, at least, it felt like I was slowing down).  The baseball game ended and cars whizzed by me.  I did my best not to watch them pass and lose focus on the moment, the effort of pushing one foot in front of the other.  Teenage boys played soccer in the field.  One of them kicked the ball onto the path and another dashed out to grab it.  He paused to let me through so I picked up speed to be polite and that was all I needed.  The increase in speed carried me to the second mile because I knew the faster I went, the sooner I'd be done.  Talk about motivation.

When Runkeeper applauded my second mile I stopped cold and threw my fist in the air and didn't give a shit if anyone saw me.  I walked laps around my car in the parking lot to cool down.  Adrenaline still pumping, I completed a few sets of push-ups and sit-ups before finally collapsing in the grass.

So there I was, in the grass reaching for my left leg to stretch out my quad and basking in the glow of my first real run.  I did it.   On my own.  I set a goal and I accomplished it.  It was tiny, minuscule, but it mattered to me.  This moment was mine.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats!! This is such a relatable blog post ��Running is the bane of my life (said as I am currently avoiding going for a run), the only way I can get through is audiobooks! www.englishgirlinnewyork.org

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