Running was never my thing. I always found it long, difficult and frankly, a little boring. I know some people feel the same way about cycling, my personal love in the multi-sport trinity, but I never quite got to that "runners high" you hear so much about to make me fall in love with it.
It's nothing personal against running. It's just a mental block.
And one that I'm working on breaking this week.
I have two weeks to prepare for my first real road race, the Shamrock Run on March 1. I've been involved in other races before, but as a walker who was participating more in support of the charity than in testing my athletic capabilities.
Since I started my triathlon training all of my running workouts have been done inside on a treadmill.
Monday, I took my run outside.
I'd say it was oh so much fun, but the sarcasm wouldn't properly translate over the Internet.
With a flexible schedule, I was able to play the weather and ventured out my front door mid-morning. I had two watches strapped to my wrist (one acting as my heart rate monitor, one acting as my timer), my cold gear Under Armour on and my trusty iPod set to medley of Bangles, Britney and Kelly Clarkson.
My coach told me to run an easy pace, which is actually the only pace I know how to run. Despite my two-watch set up, I don't have any of the fancy gadgets available to tell me what my pace or distance is. I ran for 30 minutes at a pace that felt akin to what I've been doing inside.
Of course, half my run this time was against a headwind and my nose doesn't usually run this much when I'm at the gym.
It wasn't pretty, but as I try to let go of my idea of perfection so too goes my idea of winning style points. I ran for 30 minutes. I didn't stop to walk. I even hit all the traffic signals at the right time.
That's not to say my easy pace was, well, easy. There were times I wanted to stop. My fingers were cold. The wind in my face was unpleasant. And my heart rate was running pretty high.
Still, I got through it. I didn't stop. I didn't collapse. I didn't even need a nap afterward. I even came dangerously close feeling a runner's high, though I think it was more the euphoria of surviving than the work of the endorphins.
Here's the thing: By the time the Shamrock Run comes around, I'll have several outdoor runs under my Under Armour (so to speak). I won't be a seasoned runner by that point, but if I keep the right frame of mind, let go of trying to be perfect and stop comparring myself to others around me, I'll run the best race I can at this particular moment in time.
And that makes the runny noses worth the effort.