I started running in March, 2010. I was in law school and dealing with a painful divorce and I come from Polish folk who, over-40, rapidly turn into, well, very large people. I needed to do something to prevent or at least postpone the babushkafication of my body and to keep depression at bay. In short, drastic changes needed to be made to keep my sanity and my health. So, I bit the bullet and started running.
To be clear, I am no runner’s runner (even today, I am slow as hell) but, back then, I had never run at all before. Still, I went from never having run more than a block to doing a 10k without stopping, in just a few months. Later, I even did an accidental half-marathon one Saturday morning at Torrey Pines State Park (although there was walking involved, as well as lots of hills). I even inspired one of my law school classmates to become a runner. It was a bit of a miracle.
I loved the discipline of doing it regularly and the meditation of actually doing it. No music, just the sound of my breathing and the prompts from the running app “Run… walk.” Even though I sucked hard at it and I never got the runner’s high from it, I loved it. It was, for sure, work, but I never regretting running, even when I fell hard once and looked like I’d been in a bar fight.
And then I got an injury, and had to stop for a while. But I went back to it. And then I had GI issues, and had to stop for a longer while. In fact, I had to stop for almost a year, last time, and it sucked. A lot. I did yoga and weights, but it wasn’t the same. I missed my pre-dawn discipline, and its effects.
On my last visit to the doc (October) the scale revealed that I was at my highest weight ever. This I already suspected, but hadn’t wanted to admit. After all, my clothes didn’t fit right any more and, despite the boyfriend assuring me I looked great and the flexibility I had from the yoga, I didn’t like how I looked or felt. That large number just sealed the deal.
The next morning, before the sun was up, I put on my Nikes and my running shorts (that were much tighter on my thighs than I’d recalled) and hit the road. Restarting the practice, again. Despite the very short (and slow!) running intervals and the short total time of running/walking, I was panting like a kick-boxer by the time I was done, soaked in sweat. I was a mess. But I was happy. No regrets about how much work I had to do to get back in shape. No regrets about a slow, sweaty run. Just happy that I did it. And then 2 days later, I did it again.
Two months later, I’ve lost inches off my body (I should note I’ve changed my diet too) and, with each run, I do a little better. Every run day, no matter how much my brain says it doesn’t want to go out in the cold (it was 44º this morning) and the dark, or that I’m old (over 50) and parts ache, I throw on the togs and go. I never regret it by the time I’m rounding that last turn for home, if not sooner.
So why am I sharing this story and what does it have to do with your creative business? What I hope you get from this is not that you can lose body fat if you run (although you can) but rather that we have the power to change our lives, every day. It’s never too late. It’s not the drastic, big change things but rather the every day small choices we make that reflect our power to do more, be better. Even after distractions that take us off our path, even with aging, worries, busy-ness, responsibilities, and world news that could make a saint drink vodka at 9am, we can choose to do one thing we know works for us. Then choose to do it again. Then, rather than live in the regrets of not doing, rather than each morning complaining about how hard it is out there and dragging yourself to work, you can recognize that you choose do what you do, what you love, what you know, and you can develop the discipline to push yourself to be just a little better at it. A little better at life. A little better at your work. Today.