First, allow me to apologize for not posting recently! No excuses, just a new goal to post at least two times per week. Now for this week’s post…
“He who laughs, lasts!”
~Mary Pettibone Poole
“I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!”
I began running about 2 1/2 years ago. I never, ever thought of myself as a runner. I walked everyday, and I loved it. An online friend turned me on to fast walking and I got fantastic results from it. It was low impact and easy and fun to do, so that was my exercise of choice. Then, one day as I was walking my six-mile course, something snapped like an over-stretched rubber band. I’d torn a hip flexor muscle and it hurt – a lot. The short of it is, walking was never the same again. It hurt, and that sucked all the fun out of it. In addition, before the injury, I noticed that I had to walk further and further to work up a sweat and get my heart rate up. I was already walking for 75 minutes a day, and didn’t know how I was going to keep carving more and more time out for my walks. I started looking around for something else to do. Someone suggested running, and my first thought was, “Only masochists run.”
After all, running is painful, and it’s really, really hard. Why would anyone do it unless they are being chased by large, carnivorous animals? But as I continued to search for a new activity to replace walking, I kept coming back around to running. I loved my bicycle, but the bike path in this town is fairly short so I was bored with the scenery already, and taking to the streets means taking your life in your hands (please, motorists, be kind to cyclists). Aerobics? Please. Workout tapes and treadmills and ellipticals were out, because I longed to be outdoors and quickly got bored with them. And suddenly I asked myself, “Just what are you afraid of?” I immediately came up with a list: I was afraid of injury, of how much pain I’d be in from the impact on my joints, the burning in my lungs, the cramps in my side (I clearly remembered these from gym classes past), the blisters on my feet. And then, once the list of fears was out there, I decided that none of them was really so terrible, and I was intrigued by the challenge of it. I was determined not to let fear dictate what I would and wouldn’t attempt. So, I strapped on some shoes and decided to run a mile.
The first time I did it, I hated it. It took me longer to jog than to fast-walk a mile! And I was hot and sweaty, my feet hurt, and I felt really out of shape – huffing and puffing down the bike bath like a 100 year-old steam engine. It took me a while to even attempt it again. But boredom and a plateau in my weight loss got me pounding the pavement. When I re-visited running I did it with a goal in mind – a friend had invited me to run a 5K for charity – that’s 3.12 miles. I felt it was do-able with a little training, so I set out to train. I had 12 weeks, and was determined to do it. I got myself an iPod, some proper running gear – including cheap, new shoes; I caution you against this. If you are seriously considering becoming a runner, make shoes your first priority, not your last. Anyway, in 12 weeks, I learned to love running. The first 2-3 minutes are miserable, but then your body warms up and gets used to the pace, and you’re off! With my favorite music in my ears, and the endorphins coursing through my veins, I am never happier than when I’m running and I’m in ‘the Zone.’ It’s bliss. The only thing to top it is running in a new locale and taking in spectacular scenery.
(More great pictures & inspiration follow the jump… )
Which brings me to what I’ve been up to lately. I ran in the Presidio10, a 10 K race for the Ashlyn Dyer Foundation, on Sunday, April 17th. The race is in San Francisco. You run along Chrissy field, across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It was only my second race at this distance, although I run farther in my weekly long-run. But the course was hilly – there were even stairs! – and I was proud that I finished under my goal time. It was stunningly beautiful, and I loved every minute of my 62-minute run. No, I’m not the fastest out there – not even close. I’m not in the best shape, I don’t have the best gear, I don’t really even look like a runner. Do I care? Not a lick, because I bet you I was the only person out there who smiled from the beginning of that race to the end of it. I had fun, I mean I really enjoyed myself. And if you’re going to exercise everyday for the rest of your life, as I plan on doing, shouldn’t you at least enjoy it? Now go out there, and find your joy.
|Running Across The Bridge|