Marathoners and half marathoners alike pass by the sane spectators holding up homemade signs that say:
I could write an entire post about the hilariously encouraging and inappropriate race signs that can be seen along the sidelines, but I'm trying to stage an intervention here.
The first step is to admit it. You're crazy.
"Oh, I love running!" "I don't want to run anymore for a while." "I just wish I could get out there and run!" "I am not a runner. I hate it." "It's so fun! You feel great!" "Running is hard. And boring."
I personally have said all of those things. Those are obviously not the words of a mentally stable person. I'm either doing something I hate or not doing what I love. It's simply inexplicable. What's even crazier is that I'm not the only one. In fact more and more people just like me learn they are this way every day.
Melissa is a 17 year old high school senior who is beginning to embrace her inner runner. I can't diagnose her as full blown crazy, but she has some of the initial symptoms. For her, "running is a serious love/hate relationship. Thinking about doing it, when I first start to run or work out, and the soreness I feel when I'm done makes me absolutely loathe it. With that being said, I love the energy I feel afterwards, I love how I feel about myself when I'm done, I love the sense of accomplishment I get, and I love just focusing on one foot in front of the other hitting the pavement and not worrying about anything else."
I love Melissa's story of how she got started, because it's so relevant to most people's lives and tendencies. She admits that she's always "liked the idea of running" but never thought she could do it. She also shared with me that she has been very self-concious about how she looks when she runs. But I am more than happy to also say that these things did not stop Melissa from starting or continuing to run!
She began with finding a Couch to 5K application on her iPod, but she let it sit there and taunt her for months before she finally gave it a shot. On her first try, she went all out for the sprint, and was quickly discouraged by her inability to maintain it. And with a discouraging first try, she was put off for a few weeks at the idea of running. But did she stop, NO! Melissa jumped on the best pace keeper known to man, the treadmill. A few days a week after school, she would walk at home on her treadmill, slowly gaining speed with each walk. Allowing herself to adjust to faster paces incrementally also boosted her confidence that she can run and improve along the way.
Melissa got the courage to get out there and "run" again. And although she says, "It's not really running, and it's not even a fast jog, but it's doing something, and I love how accomplished I feel when I'm done. I've definitely realized that it doesn't matter how fast you are as long as you're passionate about just doing the best you can. It's not easy, and this is one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it's oh so worth it!"
With a testimony like this one, Melissa is on her way to running success, and she's making a great case for herself to be just as crazy as the rest of us. She's also mulling over the idea of a 5K, and I'm pretty sure with a little encouragement, she's might be insane enough to try it.
Know the signs. Check yourself often. If people call you crazy, if the stores in which you shop sell shirts that say "crazy", or if people make signs for others doing the same thing you're doing, you just may be crazy. And if you're going to be off your rocker, you might as well be running.