Disney Running and Travel,  Just Jana

Running Contentment

This week I wrote down the word “Contentment.”

Contentment is always a goal of mine. Sometimes I feel content with life and other times I feel like I’m flailing around like a fish out of water. I long for the times where I can just be.

I’m one of those people who is silently competitive. I like to raise more money than everybody else for my TeamRMHC races (yes, see sidebar for the link to donate). I like to be part of things that are just starting out (see twitter, ello, instagram). In high school I wanted to always win all the awards I could at dance team camp. I’m pretty good at quietly being competitive when it’s something I love. I like to be the best at things. It just feels good.

Lately I’ve felt very much NOT content with my running. I’m not getting faster, at least not a lot faster. It seems I’ve put on weight and allowed myself to get out of shape, causing me to huff and puff through a 1.5-2 mile run. In my head I’m better than that. In my head, it’s easy. In my heart, I want it to be easy. I want to be the best I can be. To be content.

This morning, I ran with my running buddy and cheerleader, Sharon. We headed over to Cobb County and ran a 5k for beer while being chased by Red Hares.

It was a hard and hella hilly race, and my first race since March. Luckily, I hadn’t looked at the elevation chart beforehand because it was pretty much all uphill for the first 2 miles. And like I do, I kept apologizing to Sharon for being so slow. I think I heard her threaten to hit me if I said it again, but I get very self conscious because I’m slow. She runs 9 minute miles and I run 14-15 minute miles. But she reminded me that she WANTED to run with me so I shut up. We were doing it for fun and beer. That’s it. We weren’t out to win the race.

After we finished, drank our beer(s), ate our hot dogs and then stopped at Chick Fil A, I drove home where I immediately posted to a friend that I finished – that I’d had beer and that it was ok to have two before 9:30am because it’s game day and how it kicked my ass.

She responded with Congrats and that (ugh) I’ve inspired her to get back at it.

And that’s when I realized it. I kinda AM finding myself content with my running.

I run how I run.

Which is with arthritis, with big toes that don’t bend at all, and with about 50 extra pounds on me.

Every step is painful and make me question whether I’ve had my medicine or put enough topical pain reliever on my feet. But the good news is that after about 2 miles, the pain is so great I don’t really feel it. But every step is a chore.

But then there are those last 5 steps over the finish line. And they are absolutely worth it.

I’ve found intervals I love (1:30 run/:30 walk) and when I feel like it, I listen to my body. Sometimes it says run through the walk interval and sometimes it says, “Jana, you need to walk for 5 minutes or I’m going to give up.” I’ve learned to hear its cries, and to be honest, no matter what I do, I end up finishing in just about the same time.

I’m content with where I am, with how fast (slow) I run, with the aches and pains I feel and work through, and with the fact that even though I’ll never be THE BEST, I’m content to be MY BEST.

And that’s all I really need  to ever be.