ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion
aroraborealis

I don't run! (or: run, baby, run!)

I have long proclaimed, with a certain amount of pride, that I only run when chased by creatures with big teeth or claws. I'm sure I ran around as a kid in games of schoolyard tag, but, in general, I didn't much like running, and my dislike of it was pretty well set in stone by my gym class experiences with running. Man, if I could go back and delete gym class from jr high and high school, I wonder if I would have re-entered my body as a physical space years earlier? Could there possibly be an environment less well-suited for encouraging less physically confident or adept students towards an orientation of lifelong activity? What a waste.

Not that I'm bitter!

Anyway, so I've proudly identified myself as someone who doesn't run, for quite a long time. So it was a little mysterious to me when, sometime in November, I just got bored walking home one night and decided that it would be faster if I ran part of the way. So, I did. And I didn't die! Bizarre.

After contemplating this experience, I cornered moominmolly for advice, since she has talked about running in a way that I found approachable. She said, in essence, "Go for it! Get good shoes."


So, using this "Couch to 5K" training guide and my new sneakers, I have been running a few times a week since the end of November. This is crazy and weird and fun. The way the training schedule is set up, I do each workout 3 times and then move on to the next week's, and I'm amazed at how noticeable progress is every single time I go out.

The first time I do a workout, it's a real stretch and I'm totally not sure I can do it at all, but I push through and feel awesome for having done it. Then, the next time, it's still a push, but less so, and I feel great for it being easier. And the third time, the same, but then I start to get all nervous about the next workout -- how can I do that much more? But the next time, I tell myself, "Hey, I'll try it, and if it's bad, I can always stop." And then I do it! Or I don't, and that's okay, too, and I do it the next time.

So, this was the first week that I had a different workout each day, and each time the workout was a big change: first 5 minute intervals, then 8, and finally, holy shit, 20! I am fairly confident that I have never run 20 minutes in a row in my life. And I totally did it! Not only that, but I felt like, "Hey, I could keep going!" That is totally awesome. This is really fun and exciting and it feels good, and I like it!

I've run into a couple of challenges:

First, self-consciousness. I feel like I don't look like a runner is supposed to look, and this made me shy to run outside, especially when I was running very short intervals. I've pretty much gotten over that, which is very satisfying.

Second, knees. It turns out that concrete makes my knees sad. Of course, most of the sidewalks near me are concrete. And I think asphault, while better, isn't great, either. I took a week off running at all in December because my knees were so unhappy (and I was unhappy at the prospect of not being able to run, which was also interesting, since I'd only been doing it for a month at that point.) Fortunately, that week off, and then a week of running in Wyoming seemed to help me recover, and since then, I have been doing most of my running along the train tracks to the east of my house, so I'm mostly on gravel (running on gravel is hard! but it makes knees happy) or a trail. It's also nice because it's not crowded and it feels a little more like being out of the city. On the other hand, if I took a fall, I would be hard to find. So, if I'm ever missing, check the train tracks, ok?

Every day that I run, I feel awesome. My body feels good, and I feel good. It's so satisfying to do something I never thought I would do, and that aside, it simply feels good in and of itself. I love doing something that feels totally selfish and yet totally virtuous -- so often, virtuous things feel like deprivation or self-flagellation, while this... doesn't.

Plus, it's exciting to meet a new me. I mean, in the last three or four years, I've done a lot of things that I wouldn't necessarily have expected myself to do in the past, but that doesn't stop it being amazing to find a new one. It makes me wonder what the next one will be!

(Thanks to moominmolly and sconstant for their inspiration on this one.)
Tags: running
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