I have a confession to make. Here goes. *cough* Ahem. Deep breath.
I hate to run. I’m a runner, and I hate running.
I repeat: I hate. To run.
There, I said it. I’m a runner, and I hate running.
Now, let me qualify what I mean by that. I hate running…for the first 15-20ish minutes. After that, running is blissful, stress-free, euphoric, and my favorite thing in the whole, wide world. When that runner’s high kicks in at the 15-25 minute mark (generally, around the end of mile 2), I’m dandy. Beyond dandy. Dandy to the tenth power.
But before that point, I hate it.
I don’t care what people say, running a 5k sucks. Sucks hard. Sucks like Stephenie Meyer’s writing. Sucks. Because the race is too short–I mean, who really, would have ever thought I’d say 3.1 miles is too short? By the time you start to feel good and that runner’s high kicks in, the race is essentially over.
That’s why I’m shooting for a 10k and half-marathon by the end of the year. They’re lengths I can run and feel good while running them.
I used to think people were crazy when they talked about the runner’s high. I thought the idea that putting forth that amount of energy and actually feeling good–fantastic!–was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard of.
Until it happened.
One day this past summer, I was on the treadmill, just running and walking, alternating and doing my intervals…when something clicked. That’s how it felt. Like something had flipped a switch inside me. Suddenly, the fatigue left me, my breathing became easier, I was able to actually increase the speed I was running at.
And I was smiling.
I was pouring sweat, running faster than I had been all summer long, and smiling about it.
I didn’t have to do walking intervals anymore, either. Everything just worked. It felt fantastic.
So the next time I went to the gym, I started out at that same pace that I found made me feel so fantastic. And it sucked. I hated it. It was hard to breathe, my legs got tired too quickly, and I had to go back to run/walk intervals.
Until I hit that 20ish minute mark. Then, the same transformation happened all over again. Breathing, fatigue, speed…smiling. All of it.
BETTER WITH TIME?
That was 6 months ago, and it still happens that way. I still hate to run for the first couple miles. Outside or inside, it doesn’t matter. I hate to run.
The thing is, even when I feel that I’m going to fall out, like I’m going to be a smear on the track or treadmill belt, I keep going. Six months in, and I still have to push myself through the this-sucks-and-I-hate-it phase of running.
Every single time.
So if you’re new to running and you hate it, I understand. I hate it, too. If you have never experienced that kick of dopamine in your system, I implore you: please keep going.
Because running has made me a junkie looking for his next fix. I’ll do just about anything to get just a few minutes of that euphoria that comes when the runner’s high washes over me.
Even run. And I hate running.
But I love doing it too much to ever stop again.