In my efforts to be healthier, I've engaged in a variety of exercises: jogging, yoga, biking, kickboxing, zumba, and strength training. By far, the most challenging has been jogging. My body rebels: my knees ache, my lungs burn, my breath is shallow, my legs feel like lead.
I seem an unlikely candidate to run a 5K race. I was not born to run. I am slow. I am nonathletic. In fact, my only B in college came from a PE class! However, when motivated to achieve a goal I become resolute. I typically rise to challenges. My pride pushes me through difficult challenges, just so I can say, "I did it." Long term, though, what will keep me jogging is enjoying and desiring it. And surprisingly, I am beginning to do just that.
The key for me seems to be my frame of mind. When I begin to jog, my mind frantically yells, "You can't do this, you'll feel miserable in just a few minutes. You better walk instead." I fear the feeling of being unable to go on. Of being miserable. One day I decided to talk back to my mind in a modified Deepak Chopra sort of way. I said "I am capable of more than I have tried or dared to dream. Be open to jogging 3 miles." That simple thought allowed me to calm down and jog without so much fear of what might face me a few minutes down the trail. I also had another thought thought while jogging. "I'm going to be open to what I might learn while jogging." My jog through the park has become a time of awareness of and connection with myself and with the world around me. I have begun listening to lectures on yoga and Buddhism while jogging. This has given me the opportunity to ponder and practice some valuable concepts on my run. I have become more appreciative of my body by contemplating the way every cell works to allow me to
run. My feeling and expression of gratitude allows me to work with rather than against my body. I jog to see what my body wants to do on the trail. Towards the end of my run last night, I wanted to slow and walk, but my momentum and quick heart beat propelled me on and I realized it was actually easier to continue jogging.
Jogging at the park is still not easy for me but it is becoming a time of spiritual growth and renewal, a pause in a busy work week which allows me to reconnect with myself and my values. Friday night I sat on a bench by a pond after jogging, appreciating the breeze on my sweaty face and relaxing into the calm summer evening that was fading into night. I was content in that moment as well as pleased to have finally jogged 5k for the first time. I don't think it will be the last.