Run, run, ye gangling crew

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.

And running is impossible.

And I love Parks and Recreation so very much.

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.

3 thoughts on “Run, run, ye gangling crew

  1. Regina

    Oh god, I hate running too! I’m not long and lean, I’m short limbed with an extra long torso. I am T-rex only much, much smaller. I’ve never loved running, I’ve never experienced a “runner’s high” from the moment I begin to the second the run is over all I can think about is stopping. I also am a fast walker and I dart all over place! I have bobbed and weaved my way through many a crowded Manhattan street!

    1. saucydryad Post author

      I feel so completely scammed that I’ve never had that ‘runner’s high’! If I’m running, at whatever pace, for more than 30 minutes, you’d darned well better promise I’ll have some endorphins waiting for me. It’s only reasonable.

  2. Pingback: Saucy Dryad

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