Figuring out you love something can be rather easy sometimes. I figured out I loved my Mom when they first put me in her arms. I figured out my love for music in kindergarten when I became obsessed with the song All Around the World (La La La La La) by German Eurodance group ATC. There was something about that song that I just truly love which, of course, ensued hours and hours of it on repeat, numerous aggressive dance routines, and probably a sad mother. Sorry Mom, that song was a lot. I figured out I love, specifically, King Crab legs (opposed to other crabs) when, somewhere in my childhood, my Dad gave them to me for dinner. In retrospect I think I loved it for the experience.
There never seemed to be enough crab legs served at dinner, so it became a kind of battle. Who could get the most meat, the best crab, the best dinner. It was a challenge. It get to the rich savory meat you had to break through the spiky, firm shell. In winning the battle with the crab you were rewarded with, in my opinion, the best food to dip and drench in butter. The favors lasting and pure. A true gift of nature. I figured out I love to run this summer which I think is kinda weird, but really cool.
Why weird? Well let me explain. For most of my life, about 19 years of it, I hated running. I labeled myself a skier, a gymnast, an athlete, but never a runner. The mile run in middle school was so traumatizing that I only think I ran one of them in my three years there. Only running when I was forced to, I hated feeling out of breath, hated sweating, hated the feeling in my chest. I labeled myself as a person who couldn't run, and I believed that label. I stopped trying, and eventually I stopped running. Other than some failed attempts to jump start some workout kicks in high school, I didn't start regularly running till I went to college.
Half motivated by my friends and others, and half motivated by a want for change in my life, I started going to the gym. This was my first time actually consistently going to the gym. Due to sports in middle school and high school I had dobbled in the gym, but mostly only to as conditioning for skiing. I never was physically spending hours of my time in a gym. Now, my love did not come quick or easily, but that's ok because some love doesn't come easy. I think those kinds can actually be more rewarding, like the crab, it's a battle. It's a challenge. And that is what running was for me. First a battle, then a challenge. A challenge that I could fight, and sometimes win. I remember the first time I got on the treadmil in the basement gym of Stanford Hall. I decided I would just see if I could run one mile.
I bottomed out around .8 miles, and I was mad at myself. I was mad that I couldn't push myself enough to just make it to a mile. I was mad, but then I wasn't. I wasn't because I was also proud. I was proud was there, and that I tried, and I didn't just try, I tried my best. I think that moment really stuck with me. I am not a person who easily finds pride in myself, but running was something I could just be proud I did. It meant I was still putting in effort, still getting out of my room and going to the gym, still trying to stick to a self made promise to get in shape.
From there I started to like running. I liked the daily challenge, or rather game, I had with running. I could set goals, and reaching those goal meant I was getting stronger. Even better, when you reach your first goals all the other goals got a little easier to get to. Running was becoming funish. I still worked my body hard. I still did not like the uncomfortable and strenuous feeling of being out of breath. I still felt gross sweating, but the dislike was much less than it was in my past. I have found that in my life that I have to grow to like things. I am usually not a fan of first because they make some part of me anxious, and that apparently stresses my brain out.
Once I start doing something though I usually realize I really like it. The same internal principal applied to running, but in this case I just need more time to grow to like it then I normally do. But I eventually got there. It might have been over the summer when I started being able to run for hours on the trails around my house, it might have been when I could run along the river and breath with ease, or it might have been when I got back to school and actually understood what a runners high was. Somewhere along the way I started to love running. Looked forward to wandering over to the gym to see what my body could do today. It became a relief from the day. A time I could just hangout with myself and music, another thing I love.
Now, like music, running is something I don't think I will ever lose. Even if one day I can't run anymore I will still love it, and love the challenge, strength, and clarity it has offered me. I think it's also kinda cool that this is just the beginning of my running journey. My mom was an ultrarunner, and she didn't start loving running till after college. Anyway, we will just have to wait and see what happens, but for now, I am going to just keep playing the running game.