Complete and utter failure. When deciding on which lifestyle change I was going to follow for 21 days, I thought, “Why not take a challenge. Do something that you would never do,” which is why I chose to run everyday.
It wasn’t even a full week in before I already failed at my task. Day three came and went without me so much as leaving my house, much less than running around the block. It probably didn’t help that I don’t do much cardio to begin with or that I had also recently started rock climbing and so naturally every muscle of mine was in pain. At some point it became apparent that running every day alongside climbing was not helpful and probably more damaging because my body wasn’t used to such a workout. Architecture majors aren’t known for leaving their computers often, much less now during quarantine. That was another reason for trying to complete daily running, but not strong enough to keep me going through the 21 days.
The initial days were fairly positive, accompanied by the high that comes with a falsely inflated sense of accomplishment. That first day rush whenever someone starts a lifestyle change was pretty intoxicating, helping me push through a miserable 1.5 mile run and onto the next day. The second day was worse than the first because the lifestyle serotonin was leveling off and I became aware of just how sore my body was. Regardless I bravely faced another day and ran the same 1.5 miles, however this time rocking out to Girl Talk’s album “All Day”. Those catchy hooks and rap verses would sustain me for the next week, with the exception of my third day lapse, yet it would not be enough.
Run four was my breaking moment when I realized that I was not cut out for daily exercise. It takes commitment and a genuine liking for something for me to complete it on a regular basis. Unfortunately for running, I had neither of these things. Running everyday became mentally draining because I realized I hated running and since I hated running, I dreaded every day to come. At the same time, I continued to rock climb, a sport I actually enjoy and do regularly now. This two-sport combo was too much for my feeble, ill-equipped body and it was only a matter of time before I injured myself.
While it did hurt, I was secretly grateful to my injury as this meant I was allowed to relax and importantly, not run. At this point I wasn’t afraid to admit that I was setting myself up for failure considering I had practically been encouraging any obstacles to prevent my lifestyle progress. I did run a few more times after recovering, listening to more Girl Talk as I hit the pavement. Yet each time still sucked, and I kept questioning myself, “how the hell did I run cross country in high school?” In the end I don’t think I completed ten runs before I stopped and forgot about the whole lifestyle change assignment.
Ultimately, daily running was not for me. I could see this as an exercise in mindfulness for an athlete who needs to maintain activity in the off season, or someone more fit than I using this as some form of active meditation. However, I am neither an athlete nor a masochist so instead I’ll choose something I actually enjoy. Three days on the rock wall feels much more satisfying than every day on the pavement.
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