I want to be a runner.
It’s honestly been one of my goals for a while now. Seems like EVERYONE EVERYWHERE is running, and I want to jump on the bandwagon!
Running is kind of in my genes. Dad ran track in middle and high school, did triathlons, and had to run all the time in the Army. He was a lean, mean, running machine until he hit mid-thirties and starting having knee problems. Mom used to play softball and tennis so she used to run quite a lot before she had children and achy knees. Bro has always enjoyed running as well- on the baseball field, basketball court, and the cross-country course in high school. I was never involved in any sports where running was a big thing- ballet class and swim team – and now I regret not starting to run until my 20’s.
It all started years ago but really culminated last summer when I was home from college. You see, while on my college campus I never was the girl to go running the mile-loop around campus. I never was the girl at the gym in the morning before class. Shoot, I never was the girl out on the sand volleyball courts at midnight playing intramural games. Basically- I’ve never been the fit girl. You know which kind I mean.
So last summer I decided I wanted to start running. How hard could it be, anyways?
Hah, boy was I in for a wake-up call.
First of all, my apparel- my shorts always hiked up when I moved any faster than a walk, my shirts always billowed out behind me in the wind (that was usually non-existant in Durham in the summer), and my shoes… well.. I’ve had them since high school so they aren’t really running material.
Then there’s the hot, sticky, humid Durham summers. I won’t go into much detail but let’s just say that breathing and moving are quite disgusting to do… and by the time I was done with a mile or two walk/run/jog, my skin & clothing were sweaty and shiny and nasty.
Lastly, there’s this whole issue of my body. I think it hates me for trying new things such as running, because every single time I jog or run, my right shoulder starts throbbing. Not some “ouch, I did too many push-ups” pain, or even an “ow I pulled a muscle” pain… no, this is more like “oh my lanta I can’t move my shoulder it hurts so bad!” Which makes running and pumping my arms trying to look all legit, impossible.
My runner dreams were flushed down the toilet last summer when, after a few weeks of running maybe once or twice, I decided I was not cut out to be a runner. *Cue sad music*
A few weeks ago, however, as I was working out and doing some weightlifting (keeping it muscle-woman over here with my 5-pound dumbbells. Booyah) I thought to myself “Mere, you should start running. For real this time. Write out a training plan and stick with it. You have no excuses.” (Actually there are a few excuses such as busy schedule, work, volunteering, blogging…priorities, y’all, priorities) So I kind of brushed it off until last night.
It was 8:15 and I was pulling in the driveway after a day out with some friends. As I rolled up my windows and readjusted my ponytail, I thought, “hmm, nice night for a run.” I unlocked the front door of the house, walked upstairs, and as if my hands were magnets, I immediately and somewhat robotically changed into shorts, a t-shirt and my tennis shoes. Before I knew what was happening, my Map My Run app was loaded and going, and I was jogging down the road.
When it got to the point where I couldn’t catch my breath, I stopped, and walked a ways. Then I started running again. Then jogging. Alternating every time I couldn’t breathe. When I began to feel a bad cramp coming on, and oh, that aching shoulder pain, I pushed through it (crazy, right?!) and kept moving… I ended up doing 2 miles back and forth on my street. I won’t tell you my time because it’s kind of embarrassing for a novice runner, but at least I have something to improve on.
I’m telling ya- spur of the moment decisions are the BEST.
I felt so good after my little excursion (minus the throbbing shoulder pain and the hard to catch my breath factor) and then after stretching and doing some intense yoga I felt even better. One hot shower, two handfuls of blueberries, and three empty water bottles later, I was ready for bed. I will unashamedly say I was in bed at 11:00 last night- super early for most people my age on a Saturday night. But you know what? I’m totally ok with that. Because after my little date with tennis shoes and the pavement, I felt like a new (albeit very tired) woman.
So maybe I can do this whole running thing. Maybe I can train myself to push through the pain of my shoulder, run despite the weather in Durham, and buy actual running apparel.
Maybe my goal of actually becoming a runner can come true.
Are you a runner? Do you have any tips you could share for beginners? Have you ever made a spur of the moment decision that turned out great?