Running is still hard. But I made it all the way to the beach for the first time today, so I'm psyched.
The shitty thing about exercise is that when you're out of shape, it hurts like hell no matter how little you do. It's immediately discouraging. You force yourself to suffer for 45 minutes and when you're done you've basically got nothing to show for it. Repeat every other day for a week, and maybe you lose 2 or 3 pounds and looking in the mirror you can't see the fruits of your efforts. It hardly seems worth it.
But keep it up and you quickly reach a tipping point where you see and feel the rewards after almost every workout. During the workouts themselves, whether I'm running, biking, or doing sit-ups, or lifting weights, I'm now consciously aware of being able to push myself harder than ever before. After a workout, I can look in the mirror and see new definition in my body. It's subtle -- the big results I hope to achieve are definitely going to take time -- but I see it every day. And I can eat junk without worrying about gaining weight. Sure, I have to not eat junk if I want to lose, but as long as I'm working out regularly, I don't worry too much about tipping the scales in the wrong direction if I have Goobers and popcorn at the movies once (sometimes twice(!)) a week.
I suppose the moral of my story is that our need for instant gratification is relative. In the beginning, it feels like it never comes. But keep up with it and you'll soon feel like you get it every day.
Instant gratification is worth the wait.