Learning to Love That Thing I Hated

trail running forest park

I was always that “I only run if I’m being chased” girl. But a couple of months ago, I changed that.

Over the summer this voice in my head—one of many—told me to start running. And, quite frankly, I laughed at it.

Now you all know me as being a very active person, so the hard feelings toward running may surprise you.

As a kid I played sports, did everything I could outdoors, then danced the rest of my life. Six years ago I traded my car for a bicycle for commuting to work. Though I stopped dancing, I became a regular Yoga practitioner with a ridiculous love for hiking.

On one of those beautiful summer Portland hikes in Forest Park, my crazy ass took off running.

Even crazier…it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I was having a blast.

Mr. H has been a runner for a few years now. First and foremost, he advised me to not get all 150% Britt with running, to take things slow and steady so I didn’t kill myself. He also recommended that I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

This part really spoke to me…

“You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else. And like everything else we love—everything we sentimentally call our ‘passions’ and ‘desires’—it’s really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run.”

When it comes to exercising, I’ve always been into the organic way the body moves. Combining that with nature is one of the most exhilarating moments I have known. Which is why my running focus has been on a trail rather than a treadmill.

Trail running has come very naturally to me. I’ve been running once a week since the beginning of September and each week it’s become a bit easier. I’m doing somewhere around two miles, but on technical trails with plenty of asshole hills along the way.

Running commands our full attention, with no room to think about the usual to-do list that often plagues our busy minds. The one time I wasn’t truly present on the trail last month—you guessed it—I ate shit.

trail running crash

Fortunately, I had a cat nurse to help me out. Unfortunately, I earned a new nickname by Mr. H after the June pothole bicycling accident and now this.

Hi, my name is Crash.

As I learn to love the thing I hated forever, I’m learning so much about myself along the way. When I used to try to run, I didn’t like it when it got too tough so I’d stop and give up. Now I embrace the tough, I keep going.

I’m just starting out with this new adventure. I don’t know much, I don’t wear any fancy running gear, and I’m not fast.

It’s not about goals, like beating my best time or training for a marathon one day.

It’s about running free among the trees. It’s about breathing and being. It’s about finding love when things get hard.

What about you guys…anything you hated that you’re learning to love?

46 thoughts on “Learning to Love That Thing I Hated

  1. I am actually enjoying exercising because I have found what works best for me and the balance in how much to work out each week too 🙂 My name is Klutz – we would be a good pair for sure – ha! Happy Day

  2. I wish I could learn how to love running… I used to not be the hiking girl type and then I left on a year-long world trip on my own and realized that if I didn’t walk around or take long hikes, I wouldn’t see much else than cities, where I didn’t really want to stay anyway. So I learned and I love hiking! I’m so happy now to have friends in Colorado, for example, with whom I can go hiking and have fun in the woods or up mountains (hike my first 4 14ers summits in 1 day last year!

    Now… we’re back home in southern France for a few months and have completely stop the hiking or walking around and I’m growing restless (and a little fatty, if I may say so…). I wish I could learn how to love running, because there are nice trails and beautiful landscapes around us… but… there’s always a but…

    HELP!!! Help me love it! that would do me sooooo much good!
    I love yoga, but am soooooo lazy that I can’t even do that on my own, I need to take a class (which I did 3 times a week when I was in Mexico) so I could progress and learn. And I did wonderfully… but once I’m not in class, I can’t do it.

    I think I need someone to take me along. I’m a follower, when it comes to sports. I’m not such of fan of doing things on my own; I like to share the moment, even if both parties are lost in their own thoughts, but at least, we’re together… you know what I mean?

    oups… sorry for the novel, here, but you asked! 😛

    Enjoy the Run!

    1. Haha! You’re more than welcome to write a novel here anytime.

      That’s so great that you found a love for hiking. I’ve enjoyed hiking since I was a teenager. Unfortunately, I didn’t have many opportunities until our recent move to Portland. Now I’m spoiled and hit the trails at least once each week. Hiking was a big reason for our move, if you can believe it!

      I imagine I would get a little fatty in Southern France as well. Too much good food around! 🙂

  3. I only run when I’m traveling and am relegated to the hotel gym (at home I exercise to fitness DVDs). I don’t love it, and it’s hard on my knees if I overdo it. That being said, the few times I’ve had the occasion to run along a beach, I never wanted to stop. So I guess it’s like real estate–location, location, location.

    1. Our knees are precious, for sure! If something doesn’t agree, it’s always good to back off.

      Beach running…le sigh. I haven’t tried that yet but definitely want to next summer. Location while running is a must for me. It keeps my mind off the ass-kicking in progress. 🙂

  4. I see so many more women running now than I do men. I use that excuse to not run. I get on my bike and it reminds me of my youth and I do enjoy the rides I take. Have fun, Britt!

    1. On the trails there seem to be more guys, but I see quite a few gals too. It’s definitely more challenging than paved streets so we women need to be pretty tough up there.

      Hey, biking is fantastic! Easy on the bod and always fun. Because of bike commuting, I get to act like a kid every time I go to work. 🙂

    1. I hear ya, honey. I thought about it off and on for years until the one day I just took off. I felt pretty ridiculous though. I made sure I was on a deserted part of the trail so nobody could see me huffing and flailing. 🙂

    1. Isn’t that an awesome quote? I passed the book along to my brother-in-law when he came to visit a couple of weekends ago, but I had to jot down that quote before I let him have the book.

      Yeah, it was funny when I finally went for it. As I just told Andrea a second ago, I made sure the coast was clear on the trail because I knew I was going to look like a crazy woman. Not sure if you watch Friends, but there’s one episode where Phoebe runs with her arms flailing and it’s freaking hilarious. That first time on the trail, I felt like Phoebe. 🙂

  5. Britt good luck on your health kick, I am trying to do weights, not very good at them and I know I need repetition to get any shape in my arms at all. I hate running, so I walk but I am a lot older than you and find the walking is better on the old bones. Kath.

    1. More power to you, love. I can’t stand weights, so I practice Yoga to take care of the upper body strength. Walking is one of the best (and safest) forms of exercise, because you can do it as much as you want, at any age. Solid stuff!

  6. I like to run in spurts. Meaning, really, I’m a walker, and like to walk and walk for hours, with my dog…But I also like to jog here or there with her, too. I’ve never been a good runner, never good at distance running, but I can’t deny a short run feels exhilarating. I think it’s a listen to your body sorta thing.
    Walking and yoga are much kinder on me 🙂

    1. A little jog here and there is a great tactic to elevate your heart rate. And listening to the bod is always the most important thing. You can’t beat walking and Yoga…they’re still my favorite. 🙂

  7. Ha! Running.. an “on-off relationship” with me. It’s a seasonal thing and something I like to do periodically depending on weather conditions (not too cold, not too hot, no rain..pff yeah 😉
    I prefer the term “jogging” .. as it puts less stress on the performance haha , but still accounts for the benefits.
    Wishing you ‘cool runnings’ 🙂

    On the other hand sticking to the theme of ‘learning to love the thing I hated’ I must say I’m starting to feel much less aversion (not in the state yet of really loving, doubting it will ever happen but you never know) to ironing. I found it relaxing now and actually puts me in a kind of meditation.

    1. Running is a seasonal thing for a lot of people, and you’ll find in Texas that there are many months where it is totally impossible to run outside in that heat. Hence, the reason why so many have treadmills and/or gym memberships there.

      Ironing is an interesting one. With all of my tidy tendencies, I have to say that I can’t stand ironing. But recently I discovered a love for steaming. It’s faster and super meditative. 🙂

  8. I’ve always liked to exercise. Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at me. But I work out 5-6 days a week. I never liked lifting weights though, until I started doing Jillian Michaels DVDs this year. Now I love it.

  9. I miss running. I used to run all the time when I was younger, now I don’t get the chance, and my schedule is eaten up every day by more and more things that demand my attention. 😦

    Things I hated (or thought I hated)… well, cooking actually. I used to say that I would never cook. It’s so much of a hassle and I hate it. But when I tried it, when I sat down to eat what I made, when people enjoyed my cooking and complimented me for it… I started to like it more and more. Now, if you check out my Pinterest, you’ll find it consumed by recipes!

    1. You should run again, Zen! One of the perks that Mr. H and I love so much about running is the small amount of time it takes to get a fantastic workout. Trust me, we’re busy bees around here. Squeezing in even a half hour has tons of benefits. After your life settles from the move you can get back out there.

      LOL! I’m with you on the cooking. Though I’m definitely not the cook in the house, I have learned to enjoy the few times I create in the kitchen. Now it’s colder and it’s baking time…I’m all about that!

  10. I only run when I’m angry or upset (yeah – I’m a bit weird like that) and it clears my mind of everything!

    I’m gardening now and I used to be very bad at it (I was a plant serial killer), but now I’m getting into the swing of keeping my captives alive I’m enjoying it a lot more 😀

    1. Speaking of gardening, I’ve always hated to prune plants. It seemed so cruel, but now that I’m restricted to indoor gardening only, I find that herbs especially flourish when pruned. So now when I must snip here and there, I don’t feel so guilty. Also if you want free additional plants to keep or give away, cuttings are the way to go. Spreading the green love everywhere!

      1. It’s so cool that you two are talking to each other right now. Dianne, this is my mother-in-law…she’s the bomb. MJ, this is my favorite girl in Australia…she’s also the bomb. 🙂

    2. Nothing wrong with that! To get up the bastard hills around here I turn to something that’s bothering me, hone in on it, and it keeps my sorry ass going. Running is so different from Yoga for me. My thoughts are more deep and sensitive when I practice Yoga. When I run, I become Red Britt. 🙂

      I love hearing about your meditative garden sessions. I’d like to have a garden one day. I think I’d really love it…once I stopped murdering plants.

    1. I used to do stomach crunches all the time. They were a normal part of every dance class. But information kept coming out that crunches weren’t the most effective/safest way to build core strength, so I’ve changed up my routine. Really, Yoga has enough core work to keep the area strong and happy. Pilates is excellent too!

  11. I used to do some high-impact aerobics, but my knees began protesting, and now I need to watch my workout routines so I don’t blow them out. So I don’t think running’s in the cards for me. But I still enjoy long walks at a good clip, especially in areas with great scenery. 🙂

    1. We definitely have to listen to those knees! We only get one pair, right? High energy walking on a regular basis is always a fantastic idea. Often that’s all we really need to stay in shape.

  12. I love to hike — for the same reasons you suggest, exercising in nature. Nothing can beat it. I walk fast, and I can hike pretty fast as long as I’m feeling good from the start. I suffer from arthritis and wonky knees, so I have to be careful not to overdo it. Although, at my age, overdoing it doesn’t take long!

  13. You have the bug Britt and there’s no cure. Wait until you get to the stage where your legs are on auto and your mind switches channels of its own accord. You’re lucky to have those trails – enjoy!

  14. Well, I used to love to run, but these old bones won’t participate in such things any longer. Learning to love something I hated? Sounds like a great idea, do you think it would work with housework?

    1. Aw, that’s too bad! I really love to swim too, but that’s been hard for me to keep up with in the recent places I’ve lived. So running is the next best thing for me.

      LOL on the housework comment!

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