This I Believe

Jessica Whiteman - Stafford, Virginia
Entered on November 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Not everyone loves to run. I used to hate running. I had to run a timed mile at the beginning of practice everyday. The threat of having to run more if I didn’t make it under the set time and not being able to breathe when I finished made me dread those few minutes everyday. I understood that this routine kept me in shape and slowly built up my endurance, but I still hated the competition it created among our team and my inability to run any faster than the person in front of me. I translated my anxiety over this part of practice into a hatred of running as a whole.

When our season ended my senior year I looked forward to not running or being busy all the time, to just hanging out and doing nothing. However, I didn’t realize how easy it was to get out of shape. After a couple months and some new found pudge I started going to the gym on a semi-regular basis. This gave me something to do and made me tired, but it didn’t make me feel like I was in shape again. After my best friend talked me into it, I finally decided I should go for a run with her. My definition of a run was one mile under eight minutes at the most, maybe a couple extra minutes because I was out of shape. I went for a few runs that followed this outline and started to feel more in shape. However, I still hated running so much that someone had to force me to go with them, or I had to talk myself into going the entire day before I went every time. After talking to my dad, who has run ten Marine Corps marathons, he made me realize that everyone who likes to run, does it at their own speed; and the distance, time, and people they run with is what makes them like it.

I started to run at different times of the day and stopped paying attention to the distance, how long I ran, or how fast I was running; I just started running and ran until I felt that tingly burn in my legs. I started running more often and realized I liked going to run under my conditions. Without the pressure, fear, and sheer exhaustion I had always associated with running, I realized I like the steady rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, the time by myself to think, and the truth that it keeps me in shape. The fact that I came to like running after hating it with such passion for so long made me recognize that everyone can like to run if they can simply find the circumstances that work for them. This, I believe