The Beginner’s Guide to Running- Part 4
The following is the FINAL of a 4-part guest post series from from reporter, fiction writer, and 20Something Blog Author, Andrea Lynn Tyrell.
I woke up needing inspiration. I was still at the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed let alone off the couch. All the pep talks in the world couldn’t help me.
Whenever I get depressed, my go-to pick-me-up is “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” television series. I grew up on that show and always admired the characters’ strength in all the horrible situations they find themselves in. Plus, Buffy is a bad ass. Enough said.
In middle school, I wore a WWJD (what would Jesus do?) bracelet. Throughout my twenties, I’ve often asked myself, what would Buffy do? It’s a silly question to ask but it does help me get through tough times. Buffy would know that she had responsibilities to take care of and that she need to keep her body strong and fast so yes, she would go for a run.
Pablo Picasso stated, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I left my inner child take over; my imagination ran wild. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I ran a mile, pretending that I was Buffy herself, chasing after a hungry demon. Sometimes, you need something silly in your life to motivate you.
(Shout out and a thank you to Joss Whedon for creating my role model, a fictional character who continues to inspire me and other nerds around the world.)
If you’re in need of inspiration, there is no better option than your friends. I have always believed that a true friend kicks your ass when you need it most. Running was where I needed it the most.
I met Joy in college. She has the best smile in the world and is one of those people who always seem to keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny. Joy just got back from a year spent in China, where she did research for her master’s thesis. Before she left, Joy was an avid runner but due to the heavy pollution in China, she stopped. When she came back, she wanted to run again.
I usually hate asking people for favors and exercising is no exception. But Joy was delighted to start. We met at the local university, hoping to run on the track surrounding the football field.
Unfortunately, the gates were closed. We debated whether or not we should climb over the chain link fence but knowing myself, I would have probably ripped the crotch of my pants on the way down so we quickly aborted that option. Instead, we ran around the perimeter of campus, avoiding bicyclists and cracks in the sidewalk.
I’ve been trying to set a goal with my running. I’m training but I haven’t signed up for a 5K yet. I need to make that my goal, finding a fun run in the autumn and train for it.
Color Me Rad is a 5k run based on Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors. Runners wear white and are encouraged to dance their way through the course. Throughout the run, colored powder is thrown on the runners. Once they reach the finish line, they are human rainbows.
The whole Color Me Rad event sounds like a silly, sweaty time. Of course I’m up for it. Joy and I both registered as VIPs and started training.
Work has been dragging, moving ever so slowly and I was exhausted of feeling exhausted all the time. I never thought it would take so much energy to sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day but every day when 5 o’clock rolled around, I was drained.
When I got home, I felt bluer. I wanted to cry and hide in my bathroom. I needed to get out this funk. My boyfriend suggested that we go for a run. Exercise is the BEST instant antidepressant.
With great determination, I threw on my shoes and headed to the park by the river in order to collect some energy. It was after 9pm when we started. I was ready to release all my anxieties from work into my run, allowing my stressors to push me into an unusual sprint.
The voice in my head screamed.
I didn’t see the tree root emerging from the ground but my foot met it. I fell hard, reaching out my hands in front of me, landing on my left knee. I rolled over onto the grass and started to cry. What was wrong with me today? I couldn’t get anything right- work, this run. I looked at my knee; it was covered in gravel. The blood seeped through my pants.
My boyfriend, Steve, gave me a big hug and told me that everything was going to be alright. I took in a deep breath. Yes, everything was going to be alright. You just ran. You’re awesome. You’re not going to let your knee get the best of you.
Steve took my hand and I hobbled back to the car feeling hopefully about tomorrow’s workout.
That morning, I wrapped up my bruised knee and ran for a mile without stopping. My legs were killing me at the end but I felt great.
Fridays are a day of reflection for me. I like to think about all of the things that I accomplished during the week, both at work and in my personal life. I’ve been running for the past month and finally started feeling the effects of it. My clothes aren’t looser and I don’t have crazy looking muscles but that’s okay. I feel stronger mentally and emotionally. I’m able to connect to myself on a physically level which leads me to taking better care of myself in general- drinking more water, eating more veggies, even with flossing my teeth.
You need to do things for you. I have friends who are personal trainers and fitness experts, who are always trying to get me to diet or do crossfit. Hey, that’s cool if all that works for them. I needed something that works for me. I’m too in love with food and the folks at the gym give me anxiety. But running is something I can do solo, for myself.
I started running, thinking about my future self in poor health. I didn’t want to be sixty-year-old in a wheelchair wishing that she could run after her grandchildren. I wanted to climb mountains and surf when I’m in my eighties.
I now run because it’s fun and relaxing. Although I do think about my older self, I don’t let that image of me cloud my great in-the-moment moment as I pound the pavement.
For the longest time, I hated when people told me you only have this one life to get right. But those people are correct. You need to take proper care of yourself.
Just make sure that you’re still you. You do you. If thinking of something silly helps inspire you, do it. If you think that you need help from a friend, don’t be scared to ask.
This is your moment to do something great.
See you at the track.
Andrea Lynn Tyrell is a 29-year-old reporter, blogger, actress and fiction writer living in Reno, NV.
Tyrell has editorial, website and multimedia experience and writes about political issues, relationships and sex, entertainment and art, as well as human interest pieces. You can follow her on Twitter @AndreaLTyrell and at twenty20something.wordpress.com.