Thursday, November 17, 2011

running around

I am realizing that I haven't posted on this topic, yet . . . shame on me! Here goes . . .

I have recently taken up running. Yep. I said it.

Why is this such a big deal to me, you ask?

Many reasons . . .

I, allegedly, don't like "exercise." (I still, definitely, don't like the "gym.")
I used to look at runners and think, "what's the point? Aren't you TIRED?"
I have a bad back.
I have bad knees.
I like to walk, and isn't walking better for you, anyway?
I have a bike, and isn't biking better for you, anyway?
It's late, late fall in Minnesota. We'll have snow and ice on the ground any second.

With all of those reasons, the question begs: WHY did I start running, exactly?

The real answer? I don't really know.

I had been mulling over trying running for some time, and I had an impulse one weekend -- I just downloaded a "Couch to 10K" app, bought a pair of New Balance running shoes that were on clearance, and started trying to run.

And you know what? I LOVE IT.

The whole thing started just to see if I could do it -- just to see whether I could run, whether I had a level of physical fitness that would allow me to, whether my back would allow me to, whether my knees would allow me to. Whether, in time, I could work up to running around Lake of the Isles, (about a 2.5-mile loop,) which is a short walk from my apartment. Whether, in more time, I could run from my apartment, to the lake, around, and back. (About 4 miles, according to a friend of mine.)

And you know what? I CAN!

Not saying that I went from nothing to running a 5K overnight -- in fact, I haven't even gotten that far yet. BUT . . . I can run for 10 minutes without stopping! And the road to running hasn't been paved with perfection; I had some knee aches that had to be strategized and taken care of early on. (Translation: SuperFeet saved my knees. I have always put them in my "work shoes," but I now know they are a must for running shoes, too.)

Most importantly, I "get" running, now -- I totally, completely understand why people run. After those first few minutes where I struggle a little bit, my body flips a switch. My muscles are warm, the fatigue disappears, and my brain checks out. All I do is MOVE. Nothing more, nothing less. It's an amazing vacation from my head, an incredible way to pound out particularly stressful days, and I finish feeling strong, fit, powerful, healthy, and exhausted. I'm on my way to being in the best shape of my life, (great that I can say that at 32, huh?), and am willing the snow to hold off for at least a few more weeks! (Aren't we all, for so many reasons?)

What are your experiences with running? I know it's not for everyone, and I'm still not convinced that my body can handle the impact long-term. But for now . . . I'll see you at the lake. :)

4 comments:

Courtney said...

So glad you are enjoying it :-)

Courtney

Ali said...

Oh no, I can't believe they got you! You crazy running people are all in some kind of athletic cult!

Good for you, I'm sure it's a great workout.

tweal said...

"Most importantly, I "get" running, now -- I totally, completely understand why people run. After those first few minutes where I struggle a little bit, my body flips a switch. My muscles are warm, the fatigue disappears, and my brain checks out. All I do is MOVE. Nothing more, nothing less. " Yes!

Doesn't it feel good to 'get it'? My running story is much the same as yours - I hate the gym and live near some great trails, so I tried running to see if I could do it. I wondered why people did it, and figured it would be painful and torturous. I was wrong - I loved running! Once I found my groove, a few minutes into the run, I felt invincible.

Over the years I stopped running for various reasons, but I've recently started up again a little bit. When I walk the dog, I do short bursts of running to recondition myself - I am nowhere near as 'good' as I was when I first ran, but I know I can get that back soon.

p.s. Winter running is actually my favourite, and you may surprise yourself with it too. I don't typically go out if it's colder than -15c, because the body warms up about 10-15 degrees when running. Also I don't go if it's wet or really icy, but otherwise it's great to run in the cold. I run on the packed snow, and I take shorter strides but I've never fallen or slipped or anything. Give it a try one day, you may love it!

Courtney said...
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