I used to hate running

I spent a year and half in Sweden where running is like breathing; all Swedes run frequently or occasionally whether it is summer or winter.  If you are one like them, you will not understand how hard running can be.  But it was never part of my growing up.  I could spend hours still in front of the chess board contemplating my next move but I could not run a kilometer.  The fact, that I was born to a couple who after 10 years of marriage had no hope of ever having children and who were so happy of the miracle that they spoiled my brother and me rotten, did not help me either.  During my childhood I rarely did anything I disliked.

I was 25 when I received a first warning sign.  During a failed attempt to sign up for a gym I found out that my fat ratio was the same as an overweight person’s but I waved it off as nonsense because I was skinny, so how would that be possible?  A few years later after working in the office for long hours with a fridge full of frozen meals, ice cream and cookies, I could not fit into any of my pants.  Then I realised that I was in the worst shape of my life.

PBrocolierhaps it was then when I finally grew up and accepted that life is not only about things that you like.  There are plenty of things that you might dislike but they are good for you.  You should exercise, eat broccoli, drink lots of water, take vitamins, remove make-up before bed, floss teeth, etc.  This can go on and on, but running for me was definitely on the top of my hate list that I should do but I couldn’t bring myself to.  Thus I decided to tackle it first.

I admitted that I became one size bigger and thus I shopped for a bigger sport outfit.  I signed up to the same gym once again but this time most importantly I started showing up.  I already knew that it takes at least 30 minutes of exercise in order to begin burning fat so I started each time with 30 minutes of treadmill, and it was hard.  No, it was a nightmare.  For the first time I run 4 miles per hour and I almost died.  I increased to 4.5 m/h in the upcoming weeks but once my leg cramped and I had to stop.  I kept coming back twice a week and doing my routine – a treadmill, crunches, machines and stretches, and I still run a baby slow speed but at least I could finish.   After my first 30 minutes of “warm up” when my face turned dark red and my body drenched in sweat, the worst was over and I would continue my exercises to burn as much fat as I could, often for another hour and half.

I don’t know exactly when I overcame my hate of running.  I am not completely convinced that I am fully over it because I still have hard time running outside and prefer going back to a gym.  But I continued running a treadmill every week for two years and at some point it became something that I started to enjoy.  Some people say that running a treadmill is boring but I disagree.  I find a gym to be my solitary where I can lose myself in deep thoughts and not to worry where I should run next and when to cross a street.  All I had to do was jump up and down and run straight.  I stopped focusing on the music and started thinking about my life and what I was going through.  Two years later I was in the best shape of my life, and now since I know how it feels to be healthy and fit, I keep wanting to go back.

sneakersAfter moving countries, I took a break for a year until I found the gym that fits my needs again.  I lost my best shape but I am working on getting back there.  Sometimes it is hard to start running again but after I do and finish my 30 minutes, it feels amazing.  The adrenaline pumping through my body is the best feeling in the world.  I feel high and it is better than drugs.  And then I hit the machines, I push hard until I feel my body dripping in sweat because then I know that I am making my body healthier and stronger.

Maybe one day I will be able to, but for now I still cannot run outside.  I tried in a beautiful forest thinking that the nature would make me enjoy it better but I ended up dreading it instead.  I feel much better on a treadmill, my solitary.   But as long as I run, that’s all what matters, right?