“‘I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!’ It was not the last time that he wished that!” –Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit, Chapter 2)
There have been a few times recently when I was thinking something very similar to what Biblo was thinking as he traveled from Bag-End to the Lonely Mountain. Now, I wasn’t making an epic journey across mountain ranges and through tunnels or riding on eagles and talking with dragons when I had this thought. No, I was running down the road with my sister as we train for a 5K in October.
You may laugh that I am dreaming of sitting “…by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!” as I am running past our local high school, but what I am thinking about, and what I think Bilbo is thinking about, is why am I doing this? Why am I getting up early to go for a 20-30 minute walk/run three times a week when I would much rather get up (even at the same time) and have some tea as I wake up slowly watching the sun rise.
I think the answer to “why am I doing this” is because it’s a challenge. I am not much of a runner, I did competitive Scottish highland dancing for 10 years and swam in the summer for 10 years as well, but I never ran. The times I did try running, after I stopped dancing and swimming, I never could get into it and really didn’t enjoy it.
I am a relatively fit person. I manage my family’s horse farm and, with my two sisters, care for the 9 horses once or twice a day depending on feeding schedules. As a result, I do a lot of walking. I also do TTapp and The No Om Zone Yoga on a regular basis to keep fit. But running is definitely a challenge.
That is why I agreed to do it when my sister asked me to do a 5K color run with her on October. Because I felt like I needed to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. It has been a bit difficult because I have bad Achilles tendons due to dropped arches and they give me trouble now and then. More significantly, however, I have vasovagal syncope, basically I pass out easily if the conditions are right, so I suffer with anxiety that my vasovagal will kick in while I run. This makes my getting up and running three days a week a mini victory each time.
Like I’ve said, there are the times when I feel like Bilbo and wish I was home on the back patio sipping my tea, letting myself slowly wake up as the sun rises. But then I realize that I just ran farther than yesterday, or that I may have had some Achilles pain, and instead of giving up and walking all the way home, I walked for a few extra minutes to rest it and was able to run for our last interval.
Those are the times when I remember why I embarked on this journey, if you will. So I could challenge myself to stretch beyond what is comfortable, what is familiar. And who knows, maybe I’ll meet a dragon along the way.