Getting back into shape is hard. Not only doing you have to focus on not beating yourself up for all the time you spent getting out of shape, but you have to stay motivated enough to keep up the routine that is going to get you back into shape. Finding motivation in the middle of a Nashville summer probably wasn’t the best idea, but I have been pushing myself. Even though the humid air tries to swallow me whole, I try to push through. I don’t go far, I maybe run 20 minutes a day because my calves are burning so bad I can’t stand it. My feet ache, my knees hurt, my breath is heavy and my mind is telling me it’s had enough. Sweat is covering my eyes and the breeze that I felt within my first few strides has since subsided.
I take a deep breath in and then let it out, praying each time my foot hits the pavement the cramp in my side will go away. With every song that plays I wait for the voice through my headphones to tell me I’ve at least run a mile, but when I unlock my phone I’m barely at a half. “I can’t do this,” I tell myself, “not today.” But, I keep going, I don’t stop. The runner inside me is not giving up. The runner inside me will not settle. She knows better. She knows my body is strong enough to finish. She will not let my mind, my self doubt or my insecurities win.
The more I focus on my breathing and my stride, the quieter the voice of doubt becomes. I coast off every now and then to sing a few of the lyrics playing on my iTunes, but my calves are screaming. It comes in waves. I push through it until it subsides and embrace the peace until it hits again.
The sun is beating directly down on me and I can feel the stillness of the air much more than before. I’m starting to get dizzy and the ponytail on my head is becoming heavy. I feel the sweat seeping out from under the brim of my hat.
“You’re almost there.”
I can hear her loud and clear. She’s pushing me with every bit of strength she has left. With each bead of sweat that is now pouring off of me, she cheers me on. She will not let me disappoint myself. She knows how badly I want this. It’s only one mile. That’s what I’m fighting for. Far less than what I used to run, but that’s where I am. I can’t be mad about it, I have to fight for it. That voice in my head, she’s my best friend and my worst enemy. She is the runner inside me.
That one mile isn’t as easy as it used to be, but it’s all I have to hold on to right now. Every time I step out on that open road I fight the battle between heart and mind. What do I want more? To give up or get ahead. So I fight for it long enough to make it.
I did it. She did it. We did it. I can’t thank her enough on days like this. She pushes me harder, she keeps me going, she won’t let me give up. She has faith in me when I don’t have faith in myself. She is there exactly at the moments I need her the most and because of her I have been able to accomplish goals I never thought possible. All because she believed in me. It took me awhile to find her, but I’m so happy I did. She is the runner inside me.