Monday, September 6, 2010

On Running.

I can't believe I'm actually saying this. I love running. If you've known me for more than a few years, you know this is a pretty new development. I have always hated running. HATED. When I was in high school and was involved in various sports, I dreaded the part of practices or training that required running around the track or through the park. It's not that I didn't like exercise, I've always enjoyed exercising in general. Just not running. The burning lungs, the pounding on my knees, the infinite search for a good bra for "ample-chested" women, the shin splints....

About 3 years ago, I randomly decided to start running. I don't know why. I had baby weight to lose, I was getting bored with going to the gym, and I had a friend who was always talking about how great she felt after going for a run. I had further incentive to do it when a friend of mine moved out of state and gave me her almost-brand-new treadmill because they couldn't fit it on the moving truck. So, I started running. Poorly. I could barely go 1/4 mile without stopping to walk. I did enjoy the time to myself, though, so I kept at it. I ran my first 5K, which was much more fun than I'd anticipated, probably because of the type of event more than the running itself. I lost some weight. I ran another 5K a few months later. But, I can't say that I really "loved" running. It was...okay. An excuse to buy an iPod. It made me sound kind of cool, to come into work and say things like "You'll never believe the coyote I saw when I was out on my run this morning," or "Oh, did you try to call me earlier? Sorry, I must have been out running."

Then Jr. came along, and for almost a year and a half (the whole pregnancy and up until he was around 9 months), I didn't run at all. And I can't say that I missed it. Sure, I felt guilty when I'd see my running shoes in the back of the closet, all dusty and half-smashed under a box. But I had absolutely. No. Desire. To. Go. Running.

However, a couple months ago, I was once again getting bored with my workout routine and frustrated with the 3-month weight loss plateau I'd been on, and since I was winding down with breastfeeding, I decided on the spur of the moment to start running again. This time, I bought one of those Nike Plus thingies and some new shoes so I could actually track how far I was running. One morning, after giving Jr. a bottle at around 5am, I set out, my only goal to go until I'd reached 5K, walking or running. I found a new trail near our house that went a little further into the desert than I'd ever been before, and that has ALOT more hills than I'm used to. I think that's what did it - actually watching the sun rise over our neighborhood from the top of a killer hill, no one around but me (and the bats. Good Lord are there alot of bats around here). When I got home from that run, I felt fricking FANTASTIC. Tired and sweaty, yes, and I'd had to walk about 70% of the 5K, but still fantastic. I had energy all day, and I couldn't wait until I could get out on the trail again.

That was about 2 months ago. Since then, I've run/walked about 90 miles. I make myself get out there at least 3 times a week, usually more, and my best runs seem to be the ones that start when it's still dark outside. There's just something about being on that trail and seeing the sun come up, and knowing that while everyone else is still asleep I've already accomplished something for the day. It''s....exhilarating, I guess. I've starting noticing who the "regulars" are, the other people that I always see when out on my run - the old guy with socks pulled up to his knees, the middle-aged couple with the 3 dogs who are never on leash but thankfully very friendly, the guy with the not-so-friendly beagle who I make sure to avoid when I see them further down the path, the older lady who's always waaaaay out in the desert, so far away that I can't talk to her but I see her out there almost every day...and they see me. I don't know how I look -- probably super red-faced (I flush really easily) and sweaty and out of shape, but at least I'm out there, right?

I've worked my way up to a 7K route around my house. To be honest, I still have to stop and walk at least once or twice and I come to almost a standstill whenever I'm faced with a major incline. But no matter what my time or distance, when I'm on the road and listening to my carefully-selected playlist (current "Power Song": B.O.B. by OutKast) and thinking thinking thinking about whatever heavy issue I'm working on, I can tell that it's finally happened.

I love running now. I'm a runner.


LauraC said...

I think finding the right place to run makes a huge difference. I still hate treadmill running, thus hate summer running. But give me some trees and fresh air and a place I can sing out loud without anyone hearing and I could run forever.


I still walk up hills most of the time. The hills in our neighborhood are crazy, as Lindsay can attest.

Joanna said...

So, funny. I was the same way about running when I was younger and now I love it. I agree with Laura in that finding a good running location makes a big difference. I love running in our farm park.

I've also begun to notice the regulars, including the dogs. There's a Beagle/something mix that I see all the time, and he's the cutest dog.

As for the bats, we have been hit hard by whatever it is that is killing off bats. Last year we had a colony of about 20 bats. The only one I saw this year was the one I found dead on my front lawn. (And yes I was very, very careful when I disposed of it.)

Julie said...

I am SO IMPRESSED!!!Seriously!! After a 5am feeding, the only place I am going is back to bed. I hate running, but maybe what I need is to find a good place or some time or some motivation or something. Way to go Desi, you runner you!