>An experience, not exercise

>This is the mindset I’ve had recently with running. This morning I charted a new course. Not new to my eyes, but new to my feet. Every Sunday morning I drive down Prospect on my way to church. I always think how nice it would be to run along that road, with the view of the trees and river and gorgeous houses. I’ve been driving that way to church for over two years now and I swear I haven’t noticed all the houses that are there.

So I parked at Junction City and took off at a moderate pace. My pace lately for longer runs has been around 11:00, which is fine by me. My heart rate, at an average, is around 175. It honestly does not feel like my heart is beating that fast. I usually can still catch my breath. I ran 4.39 miles, according to SparkPeople‘s maps. I turned onto Grandview and ran a little ways down that road. I’ve run on Grandview before, but it’s always different and different times of the day. I wish my iPod had a camera because I would have taken a picture of the view of the river. Grand it was. πŸ˜‰

Mentally, I do better when I’m running a course that’s unfamiliar. Usually I run down University, and because I know it so well, I know my landmarks. I then start to focus on my mileage and time rather than the experience of running itself, the beauty of it. Forgive me for being slightly melodramatic, but if you’re a runner and also enjoy the outdoors, I’m sure you understand what I mean.

So, even without knowing the mileage, I ended up running 4.39 in 47:37, which amounts to a pace of 10:51. That was also stopping twice to cross the street. I’m running a 10K soon (September 18) and need to get up to 6.2. I don’t want to run that race just trying to finish because I’m pooped. I want to run it competitively but still feel like I could keep going. My longest run ever was five miles. Adding 1.2 onto that shouldn’t be bad at all as long as I keep my pace about where it’s at. My goal for my 10K is 1:15:00. That goal, according to past race results, would put me towards the bottom of the list.

You know what? That’s fine with me. That still means I’m running faster than all the people on the sidelines and laying in bed on Saturday morning. I got over being self-conscious while running outside because I was always the person driving by wishing I could or would do what the person on foot was doing. I actually now have the motivation (usually!) to get out and run.

What has running done for me, and why do I swear by it to keep the weight off? It’s changed the weight distribution of my body, along with strength and cross training. My muscles are longer and leaner, my stomach is flatter, my arms and upper body are stronger. I have the legs I’ve always wanted, with strong calves and thighs. And those are only the external changes! I can’t imagine how I’ve improved my cardiovascular and respiratory systems. My heart has to be so much stronger now than it ever has been. I haven’t been sick enough to even warrant antibiotics in probably over a year. In 47 minutes, I burned 669 calories. Wow!

Running has given me a sense of accomplishment, that I truly can do all things through Christ. It’s reminded me of my physical limitations, but also how your body can adapt to challenges. It’s helping me root out what I feel is this last bit on insecurity about my ability to perform and how I look. I hope to get my cousin Bryan hooked – we’re going on our first run together on Friday. πŸ˜€

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