December came around and I had decided that I wanted to actually start running again. I had been saying this to myself and anyone who would listen for months, almost 6 in fact. I had wanted to start running again when I came out of hospital all those months ago. It was on my “getting better” plan as I know first hand the benefits running regularly has on my mood, ability to regulate myself and my overall outlook on life.
Initially I had a lot of anxieties around running again. For some reason, an anxiety of “will I be able to breathe?”, “will I collapse?”, “I don’t know the area as well” and so on and so on until they escalated into a gigantic snowball of seemingly fitting reasons as to why curling up in my room, avoiding the outside world, myself or the edge of my comfort zone was the better idea than any other.
The excuses came thick and fast: “it’s too hot”, “I’m not ready” and “next week, next week, next week” until I found myself in December, reflecting on my year and feeling disappointed in myself for never actually DOING it. In all of that time I’ve spent not running, I could be running 10k races by now.
To be fair to myself, I gave it a shot and actually got out in October/November a few times – but it was nothing consistent because sure enough, after a few months of recovery and managing, my mood dropped to despairing lows that rendered me incapable of doing anything much at all. My mojo had been stolen, and my running shoes remained unlaced, unloved and unused.
So December came around, and I found a running plan that was really mild and manageable start to get me used to putting my kit on, lacing up and throwing myself out the door. I started to feel so accomplished having done some exercise again, and that my Fitbit data reflected more movement and a less stagnant existence of life passing me by one TV show at a time.
As always, when I do anything, my mental health issues came knocking again in the form of starting a new medication that I found initially to be extremely sedating. Another pause ensued as for a week or so I really was just a walking, talking sleeping zombie. The effects have started to wear off now, and so finally, today I laced up my new kicks and I went.
I had initially intended to do this run yesterday, but the sun went down and the tirade of excuses began to flow like my fire eater whiskey over the festive season. I decided then and there, that not only was I going to start running regularly again, but I was going to do it in the morning. This felt like somewhat of an epiphany for me.
I laid my kit out on my chair, I went to bed early and set my alarms. I put my cereal bar next to my coffee mug, and filled my water bottle – all so there would be minimum faff or excuses to conjure up a resistance to my dreams of becoming a morning runner.
At 7.45am I was out the door, running down the street on the start of what I feel will be a worthwhile and special journey ahead of me. That’s not to say I didn’t have my anxieties about it this morning whist I stared at my reflection, clad in my running gear and doubted that I could even make it to the other side of the park. I think it may take a while for my exercise anxieties to diminish into confidence but for today, today I won the battle of mind and body. Today I won the battle of taking the first steps into creating a habit for life. Today I won myself a sense of achievement by 9am.