Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I am a runner
I was not a natural runner. Every Friday in middle school, when our PE teacher, Mrs. Morris, had us run the "cross", I wanted to magically contract some illness that would have me sitting peacefully in the nurse's office instead of out on the field. The cross was a mile route that snaked around the field of our middle school. I was overweight and awkward. Some kids were coming in at 7 minutes, I wanted to come in at 10 minutes, but always my time would be somewhere around 13. I hated running. It was the most dreadful, awful thing that anyone could choose to do with their time.
In high school, I considered myself a swimmer. When some of the swimmers decided to run to practice before the workout, I thought it unnatural and detestable. "I am not a runner, I am a swimmer." I said, "Why do I need to run?"
My running started my last year of college. I felt sluggish and out of shape and I saw running as the most convenient and most affordable exercise I could do. My first goal was to run a solid 20 minutes. I remember shuffling through the ASU campus, slower than I could even imagine now and feeling that rush of joy when after my 8 weeks of a run-walk program, I finally ran 20 minutes without walking. I signed up for my first 5K and started to consider myself a runner. I ran 5k after 5k, took a break from exercising all together, and then got the pamphlet in my mailbox from "Train to End Stroke" enticing me to run a marathon. I paid my $100 fee and started training.
I remember the first training run in Balboa Park out in Encino. It was supposed to be an easy 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. I stopped 10 minutes into the run and had to walk the rest of the time. For the first month, training was an intense struggle filled with my 4 minute run, 1 minute walk series (45 min total) on the treadmill at 5:30 a.m. three times a week, followed by my weekend long runs where the I fought to keep up with the girls I ran with. About 2 miles into every long run, I felt like I was going to puke. I kept pushing past the puke point and I ran farther each time. No, I have still never run an entire long run. It actually wasn't until this season I was able to run 12 miles straight.. and enjoy it!
As my next marathon nears this Sunday, even though I run on treadmills and I may be slow and I do walk some of it, I more than ever consider myself a runner. Everyone who gets out there and pushes themselves and finds a way to fit running into their lifestyle, is a runner.
I have no desire to buy Pearl Izumi.
Posted by JoAnn at 5:14 PM