Fashion is the way I introduce myself to the world, every day, without saying anything.

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The truth is I hate running. Allie and I both do. We actually forged our friendship over the mutual hatred of it. Okay that’s a lie, but I definitely used to hate working out in general, which is always surprising to people because I’ve danced all of my life and I’m a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. But I had my reasons!

1. I was bored.

2. I was uncomfortable.

3. I couldn’t run for a long time.

4. I didn’t know how long, how fast, how hard I should push myself to actually be productive.

5. I was bored.

6. I couldn’t keep to a schedule.

7. I didn’t have great running shoes so my feet and knees hurt.

8. I was bored.

The list could have gone on. I would have sat there enumerating the ways in which running sucked for far longer than it would have taken to do a lap around my block. That was the power of my disgust.

Then I married a runner, and since my guilt complex is pretty solid, whenever he asked me to go for a run with him I could either choose to bullshit my way out of it and see him be visibly hurt or just go for the damn run.

Well years and miles have passed and now I go running with or without that guy. Truthfully, I don’t run as much because I’m working out every day already, but on my days off there is something alluring about taking off down the block. And I have my reasons!

1. I was bored, but now I am clearing. Clearing out all the voices in my head telling me I can’t do anything right, my shame voices, my guilt voices, my negative, downer, bummer, unhealthy voices that keep me from getting to work. If I can clear those out during a run, the rest of my day is about to be a powerhouse of productivity.

2. I was uncomfortable, but now I am stylish. That’s right. I was uncomfortable because I wore workout clothes that didn’t fit me, didn’t breathe, didn’t make me feel like I belonged on that open road. Call me crazy but in dance class, I always felt that I danced better when I liked what I was wearing. Maybe that’s vain, but if it got me to be a little more daring and a little less fearful, then I’m okay with that.

workout fashion

 

3. I couldn’t run for a long time, but now when I want to stop I do an extra loop first. Part of this is because working at Bari has made an incredible difference in my overall health and wellness. The other part is because whenever I have pushed myself one block further, I’ve proven to myself that I wasn’t actually about to die after all. This happened on one occasion with Craig when he wouldn’t tell me the time or distance we had been running and when we got back home, we had run a 10K. I hadn’t run for months before that.

4. I didn’t know how long, how fast, how hard I should push myself to actually be productive, but now I know how to figure that out. Being a personal trainer, I know what my maximum heart rate is and at what percentage I should be working to make a difference. But you don’t have to be a personal trainer to know that. You could a) hire one to work with you (hint hint cough cough) or b) google it. There is so much more information out there now that if you have a question on how to get started chances are someone else has asked it and it’s been answered.

running

5. I was bored, but now I am open. Some people come up with great ideas on their runs, or let off some steam, or solve big problems. I let myself zone into the moment. Instead of checking out like I do when I’m commuting on the subway, or narrowing my focus like I do when I’m walking on the city streets, I allow my perspective to open and let the world affect me. When I run, I commit to this small practice of vulnerability and it coaches me into an open place for the rest of the day.

6. I couldn’t keep to a schedule, and I still can’t keep to a schedule. On any given day, I have a to-do list that makes me want to start uncontrollably sobbing. Running, since I don’t come by it naturally, is NEVER at the top of my list. So when I finally reach the bottom of the list and it says, go for a run, you can bet that I’m not going to talk myself out of going just because I may not do it again for a few weeks. Like Allie always says, just put on your shoes and walk out the door. You never finish working out and say, “Wow, I really regret that.”

7. I didn’t have great running shoes so my feet and knees hurt, but now I have better running shoes. This is the dumbest excuse I ever made. My God, JUST GO SHOPPING.

running shoes

 

8. I was bored, but now I’m more interested in my personal growth than ever before. Running is not about anything but you. It’s your moment, your mile, your discovery. It won’t look like mine, it won’t look like your own from last week. When you can get invested in your own improvement, competing to be the best you that you can be, the boredom evaporates. Haruki Murakami put it best:

“For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”

What do you think about running? Do you like it, want to try it, have you been doing it for years? What’s your secret to getting out on the road?

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