On Running: Getting the Motivation to Start Running

On Running
Getting the Motivation to Start Running

I saw you running on the side of the road yesterday. You read my column every other Sunday, and something in the words gave you the motivation to start. It took a while, but each column made running sound a bit more tempting, until you finally found the courage to take the first stride.
Running wasn't what you had expected after reading my column. You didn't feel the exhilaration. You didn't feel free. No, you didn't feel anything like that. What you felt was pain. In a few short minutes, your lungs burned. Then, you're entire body started complaining and you had to walk back to the house.
The next day you felt like you had run a marathon the day before. You could hardly walk, let alone run, but in a couple days you went out the door again anyway, searching for the things I had promised you.
It didn't feel any easier that day, but after a few weeks, you could jog the entire meager distance you had mapped out for yourself. The small success gave you the motivation to continue.
Yesterday, when I saw you, you didn't look like you were having fun, but you had a look of determination on your face, and I could tell you were going to finish. And, you did.
When you set this column aside, you'll finish your run today as well, stepping outside into the cold while everyone else huddles inside. You'll add a little distance because you're starting to believe in yourself. You know you can do it.
In a couple weeks, you'll actually begin to enjoy it. For the first time, it won't hurt. You'll go through your day feeling a little different than you usually do, carrying a kind of self confidence you didn't have before. People will notice.
Before long, you will be running further and more days each week. You'll enter your first 5K race and feel a little nervous because you don't know what to expect.
Race day will come and you'll be surprised by the feeling of electricity in the air. You'll like being a part of a group of people who all seem excited to have gotten out of bed early on a Saturday morning. You'll feel like you've become a part of something special.
On race day, you'll finish the entire 3.1 miles without walking at all. You'll even find a little sprint inside yourself right before the finish line. Looking back, you'll watch a few runners coming in behind you and admire their effort.
The day after your first race, you'll read my column again, but it won't be the same. The words won't be foreign. The theme will seem familiar.
You'll go through your normal routine, which will lead you to the bathroom mirror. You'll linger and look into your own eyes as a thought comes into your mind that surprises you. Just a few months ago you never would have imagined it, and you smile as you say out loud - I am a runner.
I saw you running on the side of the road yesterday, and I know where you were headed.
Upcoming Local Events
Tuesday, January 1, 2008, 12:00 noon- Winfield Road Miles and South Carroll High School - Contact Alan Pobletts at 410-549-1873 or franpob@carr.org
Sunday, January 13, 2008- 12:00 noon- Mighty Medford Freeway 5K at Avondale and Stone Chapel Roads in Westminster - Contact Ton Yinger at 410-857-2930 or yinger32@yahoo.com

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at dpgflyingfeet@aol.com.