Thursday, January 21, 2010

My history with running

If you know me, you know that I'm a bit tall. If you've known me since I was little, you know that "little" is a relative term. A substitute threw me out of class in 4th grade because she thought a high school student was having a laugh. Why am I telling you this? Well, I've always been tall, and with that comes odd injuries and very long legs.

In 6th/7th grades, I was able to run long distances (for a 6th/7th grader) with ease. My legs, being quite a bit longer than most normal-sized kids' legs, simply took me further with each stride. I certainly wasn't in better shape than any of the other kids - I just was able to do more with the same amount of effort. Of course, when 7th grade turned to 8th grade, everybody started catching up to me (I'm still tall, just not freakishly tall as I may have once been considered). Nowhere was this more detrimental to my athletic well-being than the sport of basketball, where I went from the sure-rebounder who got all of the "put back points" to being just another kid on the court. But, I digress . . . having to put actual effort into being faster than somebody was not very attractive to me - and I stopped running almost completely.

So, fast forward through the years -- in high school I played some basketball and threw stuff for the track team, and tore my ACL. College saw me put on a ton of weight, as drinking lots of beer with little exercise is wont to do. Senior year, I started working out & eating healthier, and actually lost some weight -- funny how that works.

After college, I was living on my own for awhile . . . um, yeah, that was fun. At one point I joined a gym and immediately proceeded to sprain my ankle. Well, I'm not really sure what I did -- I stepped out of bed & landed funny -- essentially, I stepped on my own foot, with only one leg. Anyway, without further describing the limits of my clumsiness1, the gym membership didn't last long. Then I met Duffy - and it was wonderful . . . I had just bought a townhouse, she moved in, and we instituted the "candy drawer", which was just that -- a drawer full of candy that we'd eat whenever we felt like it. We'd also buy those great big pretzel barrels filled with snackfoods -- and go through them a bunch.

So, my general health sucked, and then I started working out & eating this crazy diet -- I didn't really have a plan, just sweat as much as I could & eat as little as I could in order to comfortably get through the day. It worked that time, though, and I looked good for my wedding pictures. Without a plan, though, it was destined to fail, and it did as soon as I no longer had a goal in mind.

As soon as the weather got warm after my wedding, I tried running, and just never got into it. Obviously, I discovered cycling somewhere in here, but even when I tried running (6 or 7 times in the past 3 years, I've tried running), it didn't do it for me.

Then my friend Megan posted this silly Facebook status asking who would run a 5k with her -- 5k is three miles, which I can do, literally, without breaking a sweat on the bike. So I said that I'd join her . . . and then started with the "Couch to 5k" program. Thus far, I'm digging the program -- as opposed to every other time that I've tried running, the program doesn't expect the world from you right out of the bat -- warm up walk, and then running in increasing increments. The goal is to get you from "nothing" (couch) to running a 5k within 9 weeks. I'm only two weeks in right now, and am still walking more than I'm running, but I feel myself getting stronger in my strides -- by the end of the second "run" portion, I don't feel the need to head back to walking (though I do it, just for fear of burning out). So far, this gets my highest endorsement . . . though I know week three seems to be the weed-out week, so we'll see after that.

The 5k we're running will be the Susan G. Komen "Race for the cure" on April 25. If you'd like to donate to the cause, please do so here.

1There are no limits to my clumsiness.

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