Monday, April 11, 2016

Jess Goes Running: Perseverance and Patience

Spring has arrived in Chicago--sunny and 60 one day, snowy and 30 the next, with some afternoons containing all four seasons!  I can't really complain too much; the days are getting longer, with more sunlight, and to feel the warmth from the sun as we inch closer to summer is something else.  And with spring comes one of my favorite times of the year--the start of racing season!

A few months ago, Facebook's "On This Day" app brought me back to the very beginning of my running life: the first weeks of Couch-to-5K, way back in 2012.  At that time, I could barely run 30 seconds without wanting to give up.  Now, 4 years later, I'm still running, still growing, still getting stronger and faster.  I mentioned this in the last post that I wrote, but I so love being a runner in the city of Chicago and I feel exhilarated every time I go out on a run.  There are so many route options that I never get bored and am always finding new things.  I have seen the benefits of perseverance and patience and feel proud and motivated to continue onward.

Though I didn't go running as often over the winter as I would have liked, T. and I frequently went to the gym and I would definitely say that I kept up most of my physical fitness over the winter.  It was also the first winter in a few years where I did not gain weight, which is a scale victory I am happy to claim.  Anyway, as the weather started getting warmer (though let's be honest, Chicago had a pretty mild winter so we can't complain too much!) I started getting outside more, not only for running but going for walks.  It felt, and feels, good to get back at it.  

There are times where I don't run as often as I should or as I would like.  But when we get reacquainted, and I start reintroducing myself to running, I realize how much I have missed it, and how much I have come to need and appreciate it in my life.  I find this moment of zen in the middle of a good run and everything is right and good in the world.  A perfect harmony of rhythm in my feet in the pavement and the breath in my lungs.  It is truly incredible.

And so, while there are occasionally times where I can't believe I'm a runner, I also can't even begin to imagine life without it--I keep going.  I have already participated in my first race of the year: the 2016 Shamrock Shuffle 8K, my third time running the race!  It was super fun, my first time running with friends, and beautiful sunshine even though it was freezing.  I have another race coming up in a few weeks, the Ravenswood 5K (which is also T.'s first race!) and a few weeks after that, I'm doing the Tough Mudder Half with a lovely and strong group of ladies from work.  Hopefully I can do the Lincolnshire 4th of July 5K again, and I'm definitely going to sign up for the Chicago Half Marathon this year, too.  There are a lot of races over the summer and with my days off, I should be able to find a few more races to fill up my calendar!

Oh, and... I just signed up for the lottery to run in the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  The drawing is on April 21.  (Who am I?!  Someone who signs up for marathons, apparently.  Who would have guessed!)  Stay tuned... we'll see!

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