Once I finally get out there, the first mile of so of my run also involves an inventory of sorts. Typically this part of my run is what I would consider to be the most difficult piece. Or at least that is what I've always thought.* Something changed a bit recently, though, and my perspective has shifted. I now recognize that the first 8-10 minutes are when my body is simply saying hello. The twinges, aches, pains, sensations are all means of communication, and I'm learning to tune in and listen. Hips, quads, calves, feet, all checking in and informing me of their presence. My body is just waking up and wants some attention. I'm working hard to respect and accept this process knowing full well that the hurt is temporary. The ultimate reward, being fit and strong, and anything, please God, other than numb or unstimulated, is endless.
There was a moment recently when I considered an alternative to running and being physically active, wondering what it would be like if I opted to keep my body quiet instead. I'm sure there's something to be said for an existence of muted living, but that is not for me. Because, feeling alive is a prerequisite, in my mind, to being alive. When I place myself in a situation in which I am vulnerable or challenged, I do it with consciousness. Better to expose myself and risk feeling something, than to cloister myself and avoid the risk of exertion. I'm definitely more inclined to feel the pain knowing that my strength will only be stimulated by the threat to my comfort and, at this point in my life, I know one's strength, or lack thereof, becomes most evident when a situation demands it. That is when we truly show what we are made of, action by action, muscle by muscle.
*I've come to realize the worst part of any run would be not taking it..