Before a run, I wake up—excited… Usually it’s about 4 a.m. and I begin forcing myself to eat some oatmeal and a spoonful of peanut butter. I am anxious to leave the house, but I take my time filling up my water bottle, eating my breakfast and dressing for my big run. My mind wonders over every laborious bite of food. Is today the day that I will fall in love?

Okay, I am going to be honest. Please forget what I am about to say after you read it. I am so embarrassed to admit, I do not like running, not one bit! Even so, every time I tie up my laces and head out; I am hanging on to a glimmer of hope. Today will be the day that I magically turn into a real runner!

I see real runners every time I go out for my runs. Real runners love to run. Real runners don’t feel the pain that I feel while running—especially the pain I feel after a run. Real runners enjoy the solitary moments of thought while running. At least, that is what I imagine it is like to be a real runner.

Last Saturday, I set out to run 12 miles. I arrived to Central Park; running for the first time with the Manhattan team instead of the Brooklyn team. At first, the run was going well. I enjoyed the company of a couple of runners I hadn’t met yet—both of which actually ran my pace. It was the first Saturday that I was running comfortably with others. The first 8 miles went so well. I was actually enjoying myself. My inner voice proclaimed, “This is the day! I am falling in love!!!!” Well, not so fast. It was so hot outside. I filled up my water bottle at every fountain and kept drinking. I felt tired. I had packed one packet of the Jelly Belly Sport Beans, but apparently that was not enough. I started to feel dizzy and, believe it or not, hungry!

After I hit 11 miles, I knew I had to stop. I ran back to our starting area (after 11.2 miles) and bought a Gatorade and a hot pretzel from a vendor. I knew if I didn’t get some energy right away I might have gotten sick. After stretching, my body felt as though I was hit by a car. Defeated, I made my way back to Brooklyn. Wouldn’t you know it, the trains were delayed and running slow!? Frankly, even though it was a hot and long commute home; it gave me time to think. The reflection on the train home helped me build the courage to admit it. I DO NOT “love” running right now, but I am falling out of hate with it. I am enjoying the fact that I am active. I love that I am now a non-smoker. I love that I am busy doing something healthy for myself.

So, I am courting “running” and eventually, I know that will grow into a very strong love of running. When I get discouraged, I will force myself to think about the days that I couldn’t run for more than 10 minutes. I force myself to remember what it was like to race out of the subway so I could quickly light up a smoke before heading into the office. Instead, I am running up the subway steps for a little extra push in my fitness. I will cling to the excitement I feel every time someone tells me that they notice I’ve lost weight… Well those are the things I am hanging on to that push me to my runs.

This Sunday, I will be sharing my new habit with supporters for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I am excited to join our team of 20 (and counting) for this 5K run (or walk). My goal will be to beat my fastest time of 39 minutes and 12 seconds. I hope you will consider supporting your school’s team. You can support in a couple of ways. Click here to participate as a runner or walker. If you have a schedule conflict, you could donate and support the fight against breast cancer (at the same link). If those options don’t work, why not come out and cheer us on this Sunday? The cheers from the sidelines are so meaningful to runners in the race. I am so excited and can not wait for Sunday to arrive. Maybe this will be the day I fall in love!

Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Central Park at 9:00 am
The SPS Team will meet at Strawberry Fields at 8:oo am

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

Images Used:

ha1flosse “Illustration of Zebras” Image. Free Stock Photos.biz2012. Web

“Racers on A Starting Line” Image. Free Stock Photos.biz2012. Web