All I have to do is tie my shoes.
The hardest part of running is leaving the house. I haven't gone a run in a long time and it's a vicious cycle. You grow tired from lack of exercise, and when you're tired, you don't want to exercise!
So yesterday I was in a huff about something or another and I was getting a little bit stir-crazy. I was beginning to feel confined in the four walls of my room, and my church clothes were making me itch. I threw on a pair of leggings and a tank top. I opened my closet to dig out my sweatshirt and I saw my sneakers gleaming, too white from disuse, from a corner.
No fully formed thoughts presented themselves in that moment. I slapped on some socks and a cozy fleece, and then I tied my shoes.
Tying your shoes seals the deal. The moment you put on your running shoes, you've made the commitment and you just have to exercise.
All it took was that small movement of putting on my Nike's, and I was motivated. I popped in my headphones, said "So long!" to my folks, and headed out the door.
I walked quite a few blocks, not planning on running since I know I'm out of shape. I then perceived a long stretch of sidewalk in front of me with no parked cars or people in the way, and I told myself to run all the way to a certain street lamp up ahead. I was off like a shot, not thinking about anything but Florence and the Machine's "Kiss With a Fist" pounding in my ears.
It's so freeing. Your mind has to work fast to dodge loose stones in the pavement and posts and curbs, and, yet, at the same time, it's almost involuntary. You're not really in control, at first. It's just your feet flying across the terrain of their own accord.
I finally slowed, breathing hard and ready to walk. I felt good. Arms swinging, I made my way up to the park where I like to run, cooling rain drops hitting my head from the gloomy sky.
I didn't know this, but the road that wraps around the park is closed on the weekends so that pedestrians can use it. All up and down this long road were families and couples walking, running, biking, and skating. There were soccer games being played inside the park, and boats being rowed slowly across the pond.
I felt even better looking out over this scene. The second I got onto the street, I ran again. The song playing in my ears, which may or may not have been by Justin Timberlake, was in perfect rhythm with my feet and I was happy. I ran farther than I thought I could, and then I walked. I did a combination of walking and then running for a while until I realized I'd been gone well over 30 minutes. I turned around and did the same thing all the way home. My final burst all the way up to my front door near about killed me, but I loved it.
Now it's Monday and my legs and sides are ablaze. Coming downstairs this morning for breakfast was a chore, and every time I have to face them I kind of want to weep, but that's ok. I like feeling like I did a good job yesterday. I like how my body is practically begging me for more of whatever that was. I think I'll just walk today, though, because I get shin splints and I don't want to overdo it.
I always say that I hate running. But, in truth, I think it's just that I hate tying my shoes.