Actually, “I’m a runner!” was what I said when I got fitted for my new running shoes. I should have said “I’m an aspiring runner!”… or “I’m a fast walker that can almost run sometimes!”. I was inspired by the shoes and an uncharacteristic surge of optimism. Also, I think I need the positive self-talk sometimes (I even mutter “I can do this” under my strained breath sometimes) because I certainly have my “I can’t do this!” days.
I’ve been running at the high school track and I’m starting to see the same people there…”the regulars”: some high school track athletes who pretend I don’t notice that they are lapping me (it’s OK, I’m twice their age…at least), the older couple that runs on the cushy turf stuff. Nobody talks but it’s nice to see some of the same people there.
Last week I had one tough run (tougher than usual). It may have had something to do with the weather and pollen conditions, but I ended up taking an extra day off. I was bummed after the fact but 6 days a week is a lot to run, especially for someone like me that never participated in organized sport of any kind and dreaded high school gym class. I wrecked my perfect attendance record, but the next day, I felt that the day off did me some good. Not that I plan on taking more unplanned days off.
Anyway, I am finding some unexpected lessons in running. First is that (don’t laugh), the journey is as important as the destination. If I think too much about the idea of running for a full half-hour at the end of a 6 week program, it’s discouraging. But each day, as I run a little more and walk a little less, I realize it’s doable. I still can’t imagine running for a half hour, but I believe in the journey. And I’ve come to trust the program. I think about all the “runners” I see and how much I admire their long muscles and endurance. They didn’t emerge from the womb that way. We all start somewhere. It reminds me of building maps that say “you are here”. Yeah, here I am. Time to get jogging.
Another lesson is that often getting dressed is half the battle. Well, half of the mental battle at least. Another big part of it is just showing up to the track. On the days when I really don’t want to run, I put on my running clothes and make a deal with myself: just go to the track and see how far you can get. I can always get through it. But making little deals along the way helps me get it done.
Another lesson: telling people makes you accountable. I do that a lot. The blog helps. Also, I think telling people allows you to get support you didn’t expect. My friend John, who I didn’t know was a runner, just sent me info on active.com, a training community with info on events and stuff. Community is important and it’s something I am going to seek out now that I know that I am not going to totally embarrass myself by quitting early (I’ve made it to week 4!).
I think that all the track time where I am trying to think about something else is starting to make me a little philosophical or something.