In my dreams, I run.
This is how I know that, inside my 50 year old, overweight, out of shape, lazy body, I am a runner. In my dreams, I run. Many, many nights, my dreams are filled with running. Not sweaty, panting, legs-full-of-lead running like in real life. Running that is smooth and effortless. Running like the wind with nothing holding me back.
I was on the track team in high school. Coach used to have us run miles and miles for warm-up. I loved running sprints, but took on the challenge of distance as a method of strengthening my body and preparing for those glorious short bursts of all-out speed. I won’t lie, I was never very good, but I loved the feeling of running as fast as I possibly could.
I have a friend at work who runs. She has a dream of being fit and she is well on her way. She sees runners as being really fit people, and so she runs as part of her regimen. She hates running, but she has joined a training group and she runs. She has been encouraging me to exercise more and become more fit. She affirms me every time I go to the Y or walk or do anything physical. Whenever I talk to her, I feel a strong desire welling up inside of me to get fit enough to start running.
In my real, daily life, I do not run. But, at least I am starting to walk. I figure that if I walk on the treadmill at the Y, I will eventually work up the energy and nerve to crank the speed up from 3.0 or 3.5 to whatever would count as running. I have to work up to it for two reasons. First, because I really am out of shape. Even walking fast makes me feel as if my heart is going to burst out of my chest. (I sometimes wonder how people on those “Biggest Loser”-type shows go from no activity to intense workouts, but that is a question for another day.) Physically, I have to be prepared to make the transition from walking to running. The second reason is more about a mental block. I am afraid to click the speed up. I am embarrassed to have other people at the Y see me (fat lady) trying to run. I am embarrassed at the noise I would make as I lumber along. I am embarrassed that I would only be able to “run” for a few seconds and then would have to return to walking. Now, I know that nobody at the Y is looking at me or thinking about me, but I still feel this cold terror about trying to run and failing.
I am not ready, yet, to run. Still, I am committed to getting ready. I am going to keep walking. I am going to become physically stronger and able to run. I want to run. I long to run. Once my body is not so cumbersome, I will run. My running will no longer be reserved for my dreams. I think my dreams of running are the way that I am breaking the mental block about running. If I can run in my dreams, I will be able to run in real life. First, I have to walk. Then, I will run. My dream is to run a 5K. I have set it as a goal. The day I run a 5K will be a dream come true.