Although I'm not a fast runner. In the past few years I've finally been willing to admit that I am a runner. I don't have the "runner's body" I hoped I would get before I started running, but I do have a body that can run. After completing 5 half-marathons, I'm grateful for all I've learned over the miles, and I'm well aware that there is more ground to cover with my shoes as well as in my emotional/spiritual life. So, especially for those of you that think anyone that enjoys spending hours each week running is CrAZy, let me share some of the things I've gleaned from it. Perhaps others can learn them by other means, but I have no doubt that I could only have learned them so well through the pain, sweat and labored breathing in all the miles I've covered.
First and foremost, I've learned that I can do more than I ever realized. My mental concepts of what I can or can't accomplish are way off base, either that, or they become self-fulfilling prophecies. I'm not usually a person that likes a challenge, if it seems too hard or too painful, I'm usually the first to admit my limitations. But running has taught me about the value of pushing harder and going further, and the rewards that come with it.
I've also learned that I am my own biggest obstacle. I can go slower or faster. I can lose 10, 15, even 20+ pounds and running does get easier. I can gain 10 or 15lbs back again, easily! I can allow that to get in my way, or I can choose to run anyways. If I want, I can make room in my schedule to run or not. It's really not about anyone else, which leads me to...
The most important thing I've learned from running is that it is HARD. Don't run, fine. But don't complain about how you don't have any endurance or are out of shape. If we're going to grow and get better at anything, it is GOING to HURT. We have this notion in our safe little society that we can have it all, that we can improve without doing any work. We hope, in the depths of our hearts (and while watching infomercials at 2am) that we really can get a little bit of something for nothing. It just doesn't work that way. Everything costs something. (It might be, that it costs someone else something---but regardless, even gifts freely given came at a price). If I want to get better at running, or ANYTHING, it is going to take WORK. There are no shortcuts, there is no way to get through that 10mile run besides putting one foot in front of the other. The agony will end and the endorphins will be there and it will feel great! You won't have a "mountain top" experience during or after every run or every week, but when you do, all the things you love about running will come rushing at you all at once like a refreshing, cleansing, full-force waterfall. *sigh*
Endurance doesn't come without going further than you've gone before. And while I might complain and my mind may SHOUT "I can't do this!" I must keep going. It's true on a run and it's true in life.
They say that all of life's troubles can be solved with salt water--- tears, sweat and the ocean. My guess is that when you live in Kansas, you'd better get some extra sweat out to make up for our lack of ocean :-)
Enjoy. (and PRESS ON!)