Reconnecting with running—and the mental strength it brings
Over the past five years, I have done most of my exercise via strength training at the gym—running has taken a back seat. Because I am in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, I need to complete an annual 1.5 mile in a specified amount of time. Running was reduced to the minimum amount to achieve my goal time and nothing more—a means to an end, a necessary evil!
However, with the closure of the gym during COVID-19 and no space for home gym equipment, I decided to take up running again—not just to pass a test, but to get exercise and maybe enjoy it again. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy—especially since I was pregnant with my second child. With my first pregnancy, I only did strength training and no running at all the whole pregnancy, so this was sure to be a challenge!
Off I go through our neighborhood park trail every other morning for a 1.5 to 2 mile run at about a 10-minute mile pace. Some mornings are better than others, but I’ve been able to reconnect with the part of running I always loved the most (which I had almost forgotten about), and that is the mental battle, the conversation in your head where you convince yourself you can keep going, you can take on just one more hill, and that if you walk, you’re still going to be uncomfortable and it will just take longer to finish. A little voice reminds me, “Come on, you are in the service! You are tough!” I muster up the mental discipline to keep going and finish strong. Running in my college and early adult years really strengthened my mental toughness and discipline, but it’s only now that I realize how much that served me in other areas of my life. As the Florida sun heats up and I get further along in this pregnancy, I know I’m up against some obstacles that may slow me down. But all those seemingly simple mental battles that I’ve won along the way add up to something in the end.
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