Only If Someone Chased Me
I started running back in March.
Actually, I really started back in January. I had one of those “it’s a New Year, I’m all super motivated” moments fueled by caffeine and too much blog-reading, and the next thing I knew I had registered for a 5K AND announced it on Facebook so I couldn’t back out.
So I looked up the Couch to 5K running program and located some free training music, laced up my Nikes and ran out the door. I returned about 30 minutes later, limping and in pain, hating myself and cursing my genetics. The next day I was in much worse pain. Everything hurt: my feet, my knees, my hips.
So I came to the conclusion that I was not running material, and gave up running. Yes, after one C25K run.
But there was the nagging issue of that race I had registered for…
Meanwhile, I had created a bit of a shitstorm on Facebook by blabbing on about what a great year this was going to be, and all these amazing physical feats I planned to accomplish. Other people were messaging me for links and information. People were letting me know how they too had become inspired and what they were going to accomplish this year.
I felt like a turd.
A friend let me know that she had begun the C25K and had planned to run a 5K at the end of 9weeks, which was scheduled within a week or two of the race I had registered to run. She invited me to do it with her. I agreed in the same noncommittal way I do when the kids ask if we can go to Disney World.
“Mmmhhhhmmmm. Someday, sure.”
The race was scheduled for the 3rd week in March. My friend continued to report her running progress to me, while I continued to not run at all – and NO, I am not in the kind of shape where I don’t need to train for a 5K. By the end of February, I realized that I had to start doing something or else admit to my friend and my Facebook friends that I had failed.
I should point out that there is a 5K going for every random cause out there. The original race I registered for was to raise money for colon cancer. Now, I have no specific ties to colon cancer other than I fear it every time I have a painful poop. This might explain my lack of motivation. However, the race that my friend was running was a benefit for pediatric cancer – and she had lost a child to cancer. She shared some photos of her daughter with me, and I was moved enough to feel a connection to the cause.
So I restarted the C25K the first week of March. Note that the training is 9 weeks along, yet I had skillfully given myself 3 weeks. I could only do the training in the evening, after the kids were in bed, because I was working full-time and had no other time in the day to do it. So three nights a week I put on my ipod and ran around my subdivision in the dark. I even did it in the rain.
I realized on my first run that I actually didn’t have to run all balls-to-the-wall eye of the tiger fast, which is what had caused me to quit the first time around. Instead, when I felt like I was going too hard I could simply slow down. Duh. It didn’t matter to me how far I ran, I was really trying to just keep moving for certain amounts of time. Endurance, people.
Talk about learning about yourself. I realized that I tend to be a 0 to 100 kinda gal. It is funny to me (now) that I quit after running one time because, really, how ridiculous are those expectations? I always tell my kids when they are first trying to do something and it is hard “hey, do babies know how to walk right away? No, they need to learn and practice a bunch of other stuff first.” Yet here I was not applying that to myself. Interesting.
Fast forward to the race (oh yeah, I let the colon cancer race sorta slip by and considered my entry fee a donation to the cause). On race day I was super nervous, as I had only made it to week 3 of the training and even then, if I may be honest, that weeks’ training had gotten messed up due to some scheduling and technical issues (husband was traveling for work so I could not do the evening runs and I had loaded the wrong stuff onto my ipod but didn’t know it until after I got to the gym). I showed up, met my friend and some of her other friends, and then I ran the race.
About the race: ok, so first of all it was kinda chilly that morning so I layered and now I HATE all the pictures from that day because I think I look so bulky. Also, the race was a cross-country trail that included looping around a pond twice. Seriously? When I rounded the turn and saw the finish line I thought “holy shit, you’ve done it! And so fast!” before I realized that I had to loop the pond, run the other half of the race, then loop the pond AGAIN before I could cross the finish line. Bummer.
So I ran the race. My time was 39:58.
The kids cheered me on, rushing me when I did the first pond loop and I was so annoyed about not being as close to the finish as I thought that I sort of brushed them off. Not very nice. I still feel bad about that. But they did the “kids fun run” afterwards and they each received ribbons that they were quite proud of.
Of course, after the race I had to decide what to do with my fledgling running career. Stop? Finish the C25K training? Become a daily runner? I decided to finish the training. And now I run 2 miles, sometimes 3 miles, about 3 times/week.
I am not sure when it changed for me, or why, but it did. Running has become something I can count on. It is 30 minutes I give to myself, when I can, that is just for me. I can use the time how I want: I can spend it making note of everything that hurts, scanning for someplace to stop. I can spend it thinking about stuff that has bothered me, think up new ideas and plans, fantasize about the future. I can spend it telling myself “you just did a mile without stopping! you are strong.” I can’t think of a better gift.
Now whenever I hear someone say “oh, I don’t run unless someone is chasing me,” I want to scream “that was me too.” If only I could help them realize it’s not about being chased, it is about chasing the possibility of becoming someone different.
If I need to chase you to get you to try running, I will. You’ll thank me for it.