Well, I did it. I turned myself into a runner.
Lest there be any misunderstanding about things like speed, endurance and frequency, let me explain: I like to run.
That’s it. I’m not fast. I don’t do it nearly as often as I would like and I usually don’t run more than a couple of miles before I have to walk. But I like it.
I like the anticipation of a run, wondering if it will be a good one or not, wondering if I will run as well or as far as I plan. I like fighting through the initial stiffness before reaching the point where it feels good, as if my body finally remembers that it was made to run. And I especially like how I feel when I finish: muscles and skin heated, energy surging, my mind clear and sharp.
All of these reasons are why, after any forced hiatus from running (like pregnancy), I am always eager to start up again. And those same reasons help me persevere as I reacquaint my body with the joys of pounding suburban sidewalks. Like my old attempts at running once a year, it rarely goes as I expect because my mind and body just aren’t in sync.
If I could converse with my body, our little back-to-running chat would go something like this:
Me: O.K. We’ll start with a leisurely walk and make it a brisk one here in a few minutes. I think we’ll continue that for about ten minutes for a good warm up.
Body: Sounds good to me! Ahhh…feels good to stretch and get some fresh air!
Me: (breathing deeply) Oh, yeah, this is nice.
Body: Wait, brisk walk already? I thought you said a few minutes!
Me: C’mon, I’m feeling strong. Let’s go ahead and pick it up!
Body: (muttering) Don’t. Push. It.
Me: I think I’m ready for a light jog. Let’s do a 2 minute jog/1 minute walk sequence.
Body: What?! I just gave you a baby seven weeks ago! What do you want from me?
Me: Whew! This doesn’t feel as good as I thought it would!
Body: You’re killing me! I can’t concentrate when I’m jiggling all over like this. Can we stick to walking ? I’m still carrying all those banana splits you ate for nine months!
Me: I could definitely use an out-of-body experience right about now…
Fortunately, I just need that one over-eager session to settle myself back into reality. Nine months away from running is a long time. It’s like starting all over again, expect for one significant detail: I know I can do it and I know roughly how long it will take. It might be a struggle, but knowing that the struggle will end is an invaluable boost. It takes the edge off those beginner’s pains. It keeps me moving.
If you’re new to running or just getting back into a running routine (that’s me) ease in slow and steady. You’ll reach your goal safely and make yourself a runner for life!