I’m a (relatively) lean, long limbed person who, in general, moves with alacrity*. And yet… I don’t like running. Is this borne of mandatory relay races on the elementary school playground, scrambling to retrieve a chalk-dusted eraser? Mayhap it’s the necessity of finishing a distance within the time allotted by the President of the United States of America, lest you doom your homeland to shame/imminent Soviet regime.
The imposed activity of my school years aside, I remained fairly active beyond that. In my twenties, I rode a mountain bike. Rode horses. Lifted weights at a gym for a while, to impress a boy. Zipped along on inline skates. Hiked and scaled rocks (mostly so I could find a remote place to read and eat my bread and cheese, but whatever).I kept active… without running.
Then came my thirties. I quit smoking (Yes, I was once a smoker, albeit briefly. I quit, along with my sweetie, at a Sally Jesse Raphael New Year’s Eve party. That’s for another post). My metabolism changed. For a while, Ren Faire activities kept the weight gain at bay. Then I was on my own. Mostly I hiked. I took cardio kickboxing classes. I tried Couch to 5K, but lost interest. I found a rail trail, and just went for a run. I got the job done, but found no joy. Started to think about why running wasn’t working for me. Biggest issue: I’m the worst at pace. I just want to get it done, because there has been no point – not ever – that I have thought, “well, I’ll just enjoy this run” or “this is ME time!”
That being said, I’ve done a few races, mostly 5ks . One of them followed a foot injury (chef’s knife dropped from counter height onto my big toe. Sutures were removed five days prior to the run). If it’s a good cause and I’m available, I’ll do it. At the very least, I’ve found I can slog through 3.2 miles.
Two years ago, I was asked to do a half marathon in honor of a friend’s 40th birthday. I was, by far, the oldest of the group, but reckoned that it was worth challenging myself. I downloaded a12 week training schedule, and I followed it to the letter: three ‘short’ runs a week, with one long run (building to 12 miles) each weekend. My discipline was impeccable. I logged every one of those scheduled runs. I did it outdoors, from November through mid-April. I never dropped to a walk. My pace was middling, unless I was running with the Birthday Girl. Good gracious. She’s a gazelle made of gossamer and whimsy. Easily beat my regular pace by a minute and half. And come April 20th, I stepped into the carrel, along with thousands of women. I leapt forward as the bell sounded. I heard the muted thunder of rubber meeting pavement, and I just wanted to be done. I never dropped to a walk in any of my training runs. On race day, I did. I felt defeated. I was a failure. I finished, and I did so with a smile, but it was only to hide the tears.
A friend who is a (freaking amazing) distance runner predicted I’d fall in love with this, with races and with running. I feel as if I’m letting him down when I say NOPE.
Another dear friend who came to fervently love running in the past few years can’t grasp my lack of enthusiasm. All I can say is, it’s not for me. I dearly wish it was, and I’m so delighted it brings her joy, but, NOPE.
I have a wonky hip. I have a knee that was trod upon by a joust horse. I’ve pounded upon these joints with more weight than is advisable. Also, jogging is the worst.
Anyway, if you love running, bless. I seriously envy you. Just try to understand that as much as I wish it were otherwise, this just might not be for me.
But I am stubborn, and even as I’m posting this I’m thinking “but if I could lose 15 pounds and find better shoes…”
We shall see.
*I am a brisk walker. Little makes me crankier than having to slow my pace for people who just do not understand that we all need to be moving forward with a quickness**. Please and thank you. Sheesh. **This goes double in Manhattan.