If I was going to subtitled this blog entry, it would be "Slow Runner", but the real point is "Not as Scary as You Think."
I am, in fact, a slow runner. There I said it. To be completely honest, sometimes it bothers me, sometimes it doesn't. I'm human. I have insecurities. Where the growth in life comes is what I chose to do with those insecurities. I choose to push through them, and not let them consume me. Again, one of those life keys....consumption. Not everything in life is going to feel all sunshine and rainbows. That's just not feasible, and quite honestly it reminds me of Stepford Wives, and THAT scares the everliving shit out of me.
When I started getting back into fitness and watching what I ate, and loosing weight again, I noticed that my run times were significantly slower. It was weighing on my mind a little, but I was doing a pretty good job of not letting it weigh on me. Then I realized WHY my running was slower: the last time I was REALLY running, I was 30 pounds lighter. I'm dragging an extra 30 pounds with me as I run. Now, I've made peace with the fact with I've gained thirty pounds back from my lowest weight and am still able to run up to 5k, and am ready to start running beyond on my way to 10k. While gaining 30 lbs back is a setback, there is a big triumph that is coming out of it that I can be very proud of. Success is not linear. Big life lesson in that one.
I never wanted to be a runner. I remember running the mile in elementary school and always being one of the LAST to finish. I was HUMILIATED. I HATED it. That hatred stuck with me. I thought running had to be the most absolutely STUPID way to achieve physical fitness. ZERO cells in my body got it, ZERO. I MOCKED runners. Then one morning I woke up and decided, "I'm going to become a runner." There was no real be conversation that I had with myself, or anything big that happened that made me decide that this was a good idea. If you know me really well, you know these "mighty pronouncements" are pretty much how I roll when it comes to these sorts of things, and a majority of the time, they always turn out well.
How does one become a runner? Duh! BY RUNNING! However I needed three things first 1) permission, 2) a goal and 3) a plan. By permission, I'm talking my physicians permission. I had already been swimming at that point, but I wanted to make sure that at my weight my joints could take it. Her answer was "good for you", and yes, just train smart. OK, goal....I found a 5k on Spectacle Island that would happen in enough time to train. Now plan.....I had heard about Couch to 5k....downloaded it....checked it out....that looks reasonable. So I was all set. Time to start running....right?
Eh...not so fast. I was TERRIFIED going on that first run. TERRIFIED. I don't know what I was so concerned about. Was it that I physically unable to do it? That people would make fun of me? Probably a little bit of both. I very vividly remember telling my coworker that if I was not back in 40 minutes to come to the Public Garden and look for me. I was dead serious. But guess what? I did not die, and no one pointed and laughed at me. YES!!!! I concurred one thing that thought I would NEVER do, and I was SO PROUD of myself. It was not as scary as I thought. I was hooked.
Now I venture to guess that no matter how much weight I lose, I will never be a "fast" runner. (Whatever that means.) My time will improve with more running and weight lost...I've proven that before and look forward to that happening again. Maybe it just goes with my personality, but I can withstand just about anything for a specified period of time just as long as I know when it's going to end. To me, 10k is a MAJOR distance and I can't wait to get their again. According to my plan, it'll happen in 70 days. I doubt that I'll ever run a 1/2 of full marathon...but never say never.
As much as I love how running makes me feel, one little quirk about me is that initial mile. I BLOODY HATE IT!!!! It starts pretty much 30 seconds in, "what the f%ck are you doing? Why the hell are you doing this!?!?" It continues for an entire mile, and then it miraculously vanished. I've learned to laugh at it, because the negative chatter is so blatantly indignant...I just have to.
But once I just past of that I do some of my best thinking, enjoy spending time in nature while still being INSIDE the city, listen to the sound of my own breathing, and be proud of every single bead of sweat. Running is how I mediate. I've tried traditional meditation. I can't sit still that long. I really think running makes me a nicer person. Lord knows I work a good part of that aggression through the music I choose to listen to.
So what can this mean for you? Start running? Maybe. Only if it feel right for you. That's a gut thing. I totally believe in and trust my own gut feelings and think everyone should be more in touch with those things. I think you should, however, do something that scares you and you don't think you can do. You'll probably end up surprising yourself. Remember that success is not NOT linear. Real growth comes from dealing with your insecurities. While life is not always sunshine and rainbows, the Oracle that is Dolly Parton did impart on us that "The way [she sees] it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." That's a lot of wisdom that I've gained by putting one foot in front of the other and just keep running.