On the Road Again
At about this time last year, I took up running. Some of you who have been reading my blog since the start might remember the trials and tribulations of my plantar faciitis at that time. The funny thing is, I hate running. I always have. But at some point in my athletic career, running became the holy grail of athleticism. If you could run, you were fit. If you could run, you were an athlete. It didn't matter how good I was at jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, rowing, softball or any of the other more competitive pursuits I've been involved with in my life, I always looked at runners with envy.
It wasn't that I hadn't tried to run. I had completed the Couch to 5K program no less than three times. After my second year of medical school I completed the Learn To Run program through The Running Room with two of my friends. At the end of the 10 week program I could get through 5k, but still hated every painful minute of it. Regardless of how long I spent on the elliptical trainer at the gym or how much I was able to squat I never got any good at running. I just figured that my body wasn't built for it.
Last spring I decided to give running yet another kick at the can. I wasn't finding the time to make it to the gym regularly, and running had the added bonus of walking the dog at the same time. I'm all about the multitasking.
So I started slow. Big dog loved it. He got so used to our 5:45am wake up times that if I dared hit the snooze button he'd plop his big head up on the bed so that his nose was nearly touching mine. He was not a training partner that would take no for an answer. So I'd get up and run. And walk. And run. And walk some more. And pretty soon, I was doing more running than walking. And pretty soon after that, I was running 30 minutes straight. I still didn't love it, though.
There were obstacles. A heat wave in the summer kept me from running anywhere but the treadmill at the air conditioned gym for three weeks. I never felt acclimatized to the severe humidity, and even my little 30 minute runs became a struggle. In September I ran a 5k race and missed my 30-minute goal by 30 seconds. I got discouraged. But running gave me more energy and I knew if I stopped, I'd lose the gains that I'd worked so hard to achieve. So I kept running.
Soon I began to notice strange urges-- when I was at home in the evening, I'd think about going for a run. If I hadn't run the day before, I'd be thinking about running throughout the day. It's wasn't a guilt... it was a craving. I ran in the rain. I ran in the snow. I ran in the cold. And at some point along the way I realized that I enjoyed running.
I'll never win any races. I'm not breaking any land-speed barriers. But I've recently committed to running a half marathon in May. I'll be happy if I run it in less than 2.5 hours. My closet is filled with running shoes in various states of destruction and I use words like Fartlek and Body Glide without giggling.
I guess I'm a runner.