I’ve never been much of a runner. However, I’ve always had this insane jealousy of those that can run long distances. And by long distances I mean anything longer than five minutes. I always saw my friend Alex who would go on trips all over the world posting Instagram stories of her morning runs in the most beautiful places. Or my friend Thea who conquers marathon after marathon. (See these two said super-runners…and my apparent love of my sunglasses below.) I always wanted to be able to run because it sounds so much more fun than walking on the treadmill in a gym that smells like feet when I could be exploring the world outdoors.
So, yesterday, Domi and I went to the hotel fitness center ready to hike up the treadmill’s perpetual hill only to find that there was not a single cardio machine available. Domi suggested a run and I timidly said, “okay, but don’t let me hold you back. I know you’ll be faster than me.” He told me not to worry we could just meet back at the hotel whenever we were both finished. Off I went and much to my surprise I was much faster than Domi. I was feeling pretty badass until about 6 minutes in I got the worst cramp ever in my side. So bad that I actually sat down on the street in front of a group of tourists who must’ve thought I was about to poop my pants. Up came Domi asking me if I was okay and I said, “I just can’t run. I can’t. I want to but it’s too hard I get these side cramps and I can’t go anywhere.” To which he replied, “Baby, have you ever tried running a little bit slower?”
Well there was a perplexing thought. Huh, slower, that had never occurred to me. He told me to breathe through my nose and that he would set a pace that he thought might work better for me. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t. I’m just not a runner. No way no how, but determined to get my cardio in I went along with him begrudgingly. Except something weird happened. I was actually able to run for like a long time without getting any cramp. I was on top of the world!! How the heck did I not think to slow down before? I had no idea I was capable of something just because I refused to slow down a little bit. No one goes from sitting on the couch to running marathons without some training in the middle. Somehow I didn’t think that rule applied to me.
So, this morning when I woke up I was determined to find out whether this whole running thing was a fluke or not. I headed outside, put on my best playlist and started at a comfortable pace. I breathed through my nose and guess what?!? Today I could run even further than I did yesterday!! As I turned around to run back to the hotel along the harbor I felt like I was in one of those most cheesy scenes in a romantic comedy. I wanted to high five everyone I passed. I was smiling wide at the guy playing some instrument I didn’t recognize with a piece of tape that said “Jesus saves” on it; he didn’t seem to care, but I felt invincible!
I whipped off my t-shirt and tucked it in the back of my leggings (because I feel like that’s what really cool runners do) and all but danced to the music in my headphones. It was heaven.
Then I had this other thought. I could apply the theory of my running epiphany to the rest of my life. When something’s not working the path of least resistance isn’t to stop and not try again it’s to keep trying in different ways I hadn’t thought of and most importantly I have to stop, breathe through my nose, get outside and slow down.