I had a great moment of realization and reflection this morning. I went for a run (my leg is on the mend, so I'm running for longer periods these days) and had to stop around 45 minutes (rounded out my 60 minutes on the stationary bike at home). But I didn't stop because my heart couldn't take it, or my body was too weak - I had to stop because I'm trying to be cautious with my leg and not push it too much.
Anyways, this is big because it was only 4 years ago that I could barely make it around a basketball court without feeling exhausted and winded. I remember when I first started running (if you can even call it that), my then boyfriend had told me that if I did any less than 20 minutes, there was no point at all to cardio (of course, that turned out to be not entirely true as even a bit of cardio is better than none at all!). I remember being completely devastated because at the time I could barely manage 5 minutes, and scared because I could not comprehend how ANYBODY could run for any longer than that. However, it did put things into perspective for me, and gave me a goal to work towards.
For the next few years I slowly built up my endurance, one minute at a time. I ran for only 5 minutes until I felt comfortable enough to increase my time to 6. Then 7. Then 10. Sometimes it took days, sometimes it took months.
Two years later, I hit the 20 minute mark - what a great feeling that was! I set a new goal for myself to get to 30 minutes. When I hit 30, I tried for 40. And then, when I finally got to 40 minutes of non-stop running, I discovered that I was in good enough shape to continue running for as long as I needed to. It's like, once you hit your stride, it's easy to just keep going. My only concern now is keeping my legs injury-free.
I'm still a little bit slow; I'm sure my "running" pace is a runner's jog lol. So now that I've worked my way up to the time that I want, perhaps it's time to start working on the speed that I want. I wonder how much faster I can get in 4 years.....
When I came back from my run, there was a couple entering the building. They were winded and sweating, talking about how tough their 15 minute walk had been, but smiling because apparently this had been a great accomplishment for them. I smiled back; everyone's gotta start somewhere!