Sunday, June 26, 2011

Because Hard Things Are Worth It

When I was a teenager (which was such a long time ago) I remember if I had to run a mile or more, it seemed like a huge feat. Well, since I am now an adult and I have a fear that my metabolism will suddenly slow down causing me to grow obese from the great amounts of chocolate I consume, I now run many miles.

Last week, I actually ran 10 miles. Now for you marathoners out there, this probably sounds like a warm-up run for you. But for me, it is a very big deal. I woke up that morning, knowing exactly what I was about to do but I tried not to think about it. Me, my mom, and two other lovely ladies started our run out at the reservoir up the canyon. The first half of the run was just peachy. I felt awesome. My body felt strong and the beauty around me of trees, streams of mountain water, and rock formations kept me entertained. Then I made it out of the canyon and past my house a little ways, and everything took a turn.

I found out recently that I have this thing the doctor called trochanteric bursitis. Sounds like a deadly disease, right? Well, it is really not. I guess a lot of runners or people that ride bicycles develop it. I would give you the exact definition of what it is and does, but quite honestly I don't know exactly. And I don't want to bore you. What I do know is that it sends a sharp pain up my thigh and then it makes my hips ache.

Well, as I was running up a giant hill, the sharp pain shot up my left thigh, and pretty soon it happened to the right as well. I tried ignoring the pain and I kept running. The pain grew stronger and it became difficult to ignore. I felt myself slowing down, but I forced myself to put one foot in front of the other. There came a point that I almost started crying because it hurt so bad. This was the worst it had ever been. I tried rubbing the pain out while I continued to run down the highway. Then I tried to put my focus on something else besides the pain in my hips. This idea didn't seem to help.

I began to notice instead how hot the rays of sun felt as they beat down on my face.
I noticed how boring the landscape now was.
Just fences and fields of hay. And a highway that seemed to go on forever.
I noticed how dry my mouth felt as I moved my tongue of sandpaper across the insides of my cheeks.
I realized how badly I wanted water.
I wanted to feel it inch down my parched throat.
I wanted a bowl of strawberries.
I wanted to bite into the red fruit and taste the sweet juice explode in my mouth.

 Then I just thought about how I wanted to quit. How I wanted to be done running. I told myself I wasn't a distance runner and wondered what had ever motivated me to try running ten miles.

At this point I probably had only a mile and a half left to run. I really wanted to give up. It was too hard.

But then something really neat happened.

I have said before that I feel like if I had a symbol, it would be a little bird. Hence, the title of my blog. Well, just as I was playing with the idea of walking, a little bird told me to keep going. I kid you not. A precious yellow-bellied songbird landed on a fence post near me and started to sing. Then it playfully flew ahead of me and landed again on the fence. I told myself to just run to where the bird was sitting on the fence. And each time I made it to the bird, it took flight, landed a few fence posts down, and let out a few cheery notes of song. The little bird motivated me to keep going.

By the time I made it past the fence, I was on the home stretch. I felt my legs carry my body a little faster past the row of houses, across the street, and to the finish. Then I was free to collapse on the cool grass and I was given a tall glass of ice water. Also, later that day I had a bowl of strawberries. Wonderful.

Although it was hard to run 10 miles and I was tempted to give up at times, I'm glad I didn't stop. It is so rewarding to know that I accomplished something I probably thought would be impossible a couple years ago. Plus, I burnt over 1,000 calories on that run so I indulged in eating all kinds of foods that night and didn't even have to feel guilty.

Just like my 10 mile run, sometimes life can be hard. But it is always worth it. Hard things only make us stronger, better people. Speaking of hard things, Brian gets home on Saturday. Yes, this Saturday. 6 more days. The finish line is in sight!



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