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 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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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