I began running for physical and mental reasons.
While I won’t bore you with the details of each, I will say that when a 20-something tells me now, “I don’t know why I never gain weight…I guess it’s just my metabolism,” I want to flick her in the noggin’. I was that 20-something. And, for that, my older friends, I apologize.
Now, in my mid-thirties, there has been a change. Don’t get me wrong, my dad left me with some amazing genes, but there’s been a slow change. I don’t need to describe it. If you’re in your mid-thirties or older, you know what I’m talking about, and if you’re younger than that, you won’t listen anyway.
As for the mental piece, let’s just say, I find that most runners (or worker-outers, in general) are happy…at least outwardly. There must be something about the endorphins or whatever, but I find healthy people are both annoyingly happy and centered. I could use a healthy dose of that.
I started running three weeks ago – June 11th(ish), 2012 to be exact. When I decided to start running, I created several rules:
1. I would try to run every weekday.
If I didn’t feel like it, that was OK, but I would try to get some kind of physical activity in every day of the work week. I would save the weekends for an “If I Felt Like It” run ’cause, really, Saturdays are for catching up on stuff, and Sundays are for SVU Marathons. To be fair, I’ve never felt like running on the weekends.
2. I would never run because I “have to.”
When something becomes a “have to” it becomes less enjoyable. And I know there are some things you just have to do like…umm…shower – what a pain in the ass that is when you’re busy.
3. I would not become a “runner.”
I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on shoes and wear spandex onesies. I don’t wanna. I’m not gonna talk about my endorphins or go on vacation and run along beaches. Good for you if you’re that person, but I’m not. And, quite frankly, I’m not running to become that person. I want to go on vacation and drink margaritas on beaches. Like Forrest Gump, I just felt like running. And, to be honest, it’s because I’m too lazy to get in a car and go to a gym.
Three weeks in, here are my lessons learned:
1. I don’t like running.
There. I said it. I don’t. It seems uneventful and anticlimactic. I open my door. I run. I come home.
I need to run away from something or run to something. Clearly someone needs to hide rewards along my running trail – like cheese or chocolate. Or someone needs to chase me dressed as a monster. This is why running in a timed running thing, like a 5K, will give me purpose – I’m working up to this.
2. Music doesn’t work for me.
I began running to songs – an excellent suggestion by an excellent runner friend. “Start by running for two songs, then work your way up.”
The first day I ran, I ran for two songs. I ended up winded and away from my home gasping for air, and then I had to walk home. Not OK. Plus, I feel music in every fiber of my being. So, a good song has me more run/dancing than just running. I know, it’s still “running,” but my neighbors already think I’m odd, let’s not give them running while doing the Thriller dance, too.
Another runner friend told me she runs to podcasts. Smart. Podcasts come in timed intervals, so I could download a 30-minute one or an hour one. What??! I’m not even running for 30 minutes yet!!! And if I have to run for an hour, I should just get in a car.
Silence isn’t ok ‘cause I think about the things I should be doing rather than running: completing work, cleaning my house, going to the grocery store, getting my dogs’ nails trimmed. Running and making lists is no fun. Now I’m gasping for air because of the run and anxiety. Awesome.
I am now using an app that helps me train for a 5K. Again, purpose.
3. Celebrating small victories is important.
I’m running about two miles now. The first mile is easy; the second mile hurts my soul. I’m not fast. I have no technique. But as of three weeks ago, I didn’t even run in the rain to my car, so the fact that I’m running two miles is awesome. In other small victory news:
- With the exception of three days in three weeks, I have gone running. And on those three days, I played Just Dance 3, so I was still moving.
- I’ve lost three pounds. I truly didn’t start doing this to lose weight, but it doesn’t hurt.
- I have more energy and feel less tired.
- It gets me out of bed in the morning to do more than just check Facebook and drink coffee.
- I’m drinking more water, which can only be a good thing.
- I feel creative and am writing more. Maybe I can’t attribute this completely to running, but I write every day post-run, so I’m gonna.
Look, I’m not a runner. I’m never gonna tell somebody to take up running – it’s boring (sorry, runners). I will, however, tell you that simply moving more has made me feel better. And, for that, I am grateful.
In other news, it also makes it easier to consume my favorite diet of cheese and bread and allows my 30-something-year-old body to catch up. And, really, guilt-free cheese makes it all worth while.