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Two years ago, I moved from New York to Florida to work for Women’s Running magazine. The transition was easy in almost every way but one: running.
I’d lived in the northeast all my life, and the heat and humidity in my new home state felt absolutely stifling. Each run was a battle and the heat kicked my butt every time.
Slow five milers felt like hard tempo runs and speed workouts left me on the verge of passing out. Long runs? Forget it. The first time I tried to run farther than 10 miles, I had to call my boyfriend to pick me up.
My running friends told me, “Don’t worry. You’ll adapt. It just takes time.” But my inability to complete easy workouts made me constantly question my fitness level. Worse, I started to get mad. I was angry at Florida for being so hot, and angry with myself for not being able to handle the temperature.
Eventually, my body did start to adapt. I got better at managing hydration and learned to run every early in the morning or late at night. In fact, I didn’t even realize I was still harboring anger until I ran with Dorothy Beal (our SKECHERS Cover Model Contest winner) the morning before her photo shoot in NYC. As Dorothy, a Virginia native, shared stories of running in a mild climate and beautiful trails, I felt a pang of jealousy.
A few days later, I visited Dorothy’s blog and came across a post she’d written about a frustrating run. Dorothy often runs while pushing her three children in a stroller. She described one particularly tough workout:
“I was mad that I have to run pushing my kids all the time. I was mad about all the people that complain about having to get up early to run – I’d love to get up early and run solo. I was mad about my friends who get to run together in the morning. I was mad about friends whose husbands or wives stay home with the kids while they go out to run first thing. My feelings were completely irrational but I didn’t care. I wanted someone or something to blame for my bad mood.”
Her post was humbling. In almost every way, I have a much, MUCH simpler situation to manage when it comes to running. It’s these moments of perspective that remind me to be thankful and happy: I have the luxury of running whenever I want, of running solo or with friends. In fact, in Florida, I never have to worry about a blizzard or icy streets. Most importantly, I have a healthy body to run with.
Running isn’t easy, no matter where you live or who you are. Everyone has obstacles, and the fact that we choose to overcome them in order to lace up our shoes and hit the streets makes us special.
I want to know. . .what’s your biggest running obstacle? Let me know here or tweet me @JessieSebor.