I have never liked running. Not at all. It’s always seemed to be a good idea, and I’m envious every time I drive past joggers on weekend mornings in their swanky athletic attire; they look like gazelles! When I try to run it likely resembles a far more awkward animal. A rhino comes to mind.
Oh sure I can run…Running laps. Running suicides. Running ladders. Running stadiums…I’ve been subjected to the torture of all of these on many occasions during years of PE classes and organized sports. I dreaded the day each semester of middle school when we had to run a timed mile. I tried EVERYTHING to get out of it, and even cheated on my lap count once, all while my hatred for this activity intensified.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for running, I’ve been hugely involved in exercise since I was a teenager and have had phases in all kinds of things ranging from bikram yoga to spinning to weight training. I always envied the elite joggers from afar, but had given up hope of ever becoming one and rising to the top of the exercise hierarchy.
This all somehow changed a few months ago when it dawned on me that seven of my closest girlfriends were all training for half marathons this fall. Suddenly I felt left out, and I don’t like being left out. In fact, I think I dislike being left out of things more than I dislike running. Who can guess what happens next?
I jumped onto the running bandwagon without pausing to remind myself I would actually have to complete the race. I’d conquered the 5K race many times, and even a 4.2 miler, but 13.1 miles? People do this voluntarily? Oy.
With the help and motivation of my friends I developed a training plan for a half marathon this November. The first few weeks – those were rough. I was anything but graceful and full of aches and pains. I wondered if this was even worth the aggravation, and if it would ever become easier.
Sure enough, as the weeks went by, very slooowwwly, running became just slightly less of a hellish challenge. I remember thinking I’d never be able to run five miles without stopping, but it happened. Then six miles. Then seven last weekend. I’m halfway through my training program and am still in shock that I’ve gotten this far. I’m terrified that my long runs keep increasing, but I have gotten into the mindset that slow and steady wins the race.
I’m not hoping to finish in any specific time or stay at a certain speed. When race day comes my goal will still be exactly what it was in the beginning; to complete the race.