Yes, I run. I love running, especially when I get to run on trails. I have signed up for one 1/2 marathon in early May and am strongly contemplating another 1/2 marathon the week after (thus completing my full-marathon-in-less-than-a-week strategy). These races will be my 4th and 5th 1/2 marathons, which I think is pretty darn cool for someone who has acknowledged her 20 year high school reunion and has more than a passing acquaintance with things like wine and chocolate.
When I talk to someone about running or email someone about running or post on Facebook that I've just completed seven miles, I hear this all the time: "I could never do that."
And that's just wrong. Because yes, yes, you could.
I am 30 pounds overweight. (I used to be 50 pounds overweight, but I started running a few years ago.) And I am S.L.O.W. As in, a 12 minute mile laughs at me as it goes by. If I can do it and find enjoyment in the activity, so can you.
So, here's a primer for you.... an instruction manual, as it were:
- Walk for a little while. This is called 'warming up'.
- Run for a little while. When you can no longer take a deep breath, stop.
- Walk until people stop asking if you need medical assistance.
- Re-tie your shoelaces (also called resting).
- Stretch your calves (also called resting).
My friend Matt is diabetic. He likes to run. And, miracle of all miracles, he and his wife don't mind running along at my pace. When we head out for trail runs on the weekends, we have to stop every so often so Matt can test his blood sugars. If I get really lucky, his numbers are wacky and we have to wait for Matt to eat a granola bar or munch on some jelly beans. This is not rest time... this is a medical necessity. And if my heart rate happens to settle down into something appearing normal while we wait for Matt, hey! All the better.
No one said I was a good friend, right?
Now, there is one important thing to remember: Don't judge your own progress by anyone else's progress. Their time is not your time. Their pace is not your pace. Everyone crosses the finish line.
"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." - Dr. George Sheehan