Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Confessions of a (former) non-runner - Tia

I've never been much of a runner. I think the reason I never really excelled at basketball even though I played for years was because I hated all of the conditioning. All of the running back and forth and the Lord...the suicides (the one and only time I was ever so physically exerted to the point of throwing up was during suicide drills in junior high.) I just didn't like running. I ran track for a while because it was expected of me. And even though I didn't like it, I was fairly quick during sprints even though I was not gazelle lithe like a lot of the other girls. My legs were thick and strong...and fast...for short distances.

I remember laughing at the cross country kids. They always had to run FOREVER regardless of the weather. Basketball practice would have long since ended and I would still see the CC kids trudging through the hills just beyond the school grounds. As my bus pulled away I would think to myself, "SUCKERS."

I eventually switched to swimming because there was far less running involved. I would swim for hours every day and never get tired of it. And since there was no running involved (for the most part) I put my heart into and did well.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I find myself at a desk job with long hours and a heavy traveling per diem. LONG gone are the days of eating whole pizzas after practice. The reality of lifestyle, age and a slightly slower metabolism necessitate that I work out or be a Jabba.

Now while I have been intermittently active most of my adult life, I've come to the realization in the last  several months that to get/be/stay in the shape I want I'm going to have to put in work and put in work CONSISTENTLY. And since I don't have the time or resources to swim on the regular (black girl hair) I have to do what works. And as much as I hate to admit it, running works miracles on my body.

So a few months ago I decided to try doing a couch to 5K program. It was an easy way to transition into running. Initially, I hated it. "Why am I running? No one is chasing me?" But the more I did it, the more my competitive nature kicked in. I wanted to beat my last time. I wanted to run harder. I wanted to keep going. I starting to *gasp* like running? What is happening? I remember texting my bestie with testes, Blaine, and admitting that I might have a problem. I was buying running magazines and looking at those GPS bracelets and thinking about the next time I could run. I was getting faster during my running intervals and my walking intervals were getting shorter...I was becoming a runner.

I almost cried the day the doctor told me that I had a mild stress fracture. I'd been having some pain but I'd pushed through it. But the pain was getting worse and I couldn't ignore it. He told me that I would have to do low impact workouts for the next month and a half. DUDE I'VE ONLY BEEN RUNNING FOR 2 MONTHS!!!! But my choices were stay off of it or be in one of those air casts. FINE!!!

My inner runner that I never knew existed up until a few months ago is chomping at the bit to get moving again. Who is this person? What happened to me? I'm already eyeing upcoming 5Ks and fully intend on participating in the Disneyland half marathon in September. (I have to scratch half marathon off of my bucket list.)

I signed up for 5K training with a friend this evening. The trainer had me amped up until he said, with excitement and enthusiasm mind you, "And we run in the rain, cold and wind!!" Insert Scooby Doo face here.

Excuse the elements...And at SEVEN AM on Saturdays to boot. I don't know why it never occurred to me that I would running outside. Is there a "black girl hair" make-up day? Because I don't care how excited I am about running, I am NOT running in the rain. Forget all of that.

But if I'm being super honest, I am excited about the challenge of running outside. Regardless of how I may see myself, I can't deny my inner competitive nature. It wants to know if I can really do this. It wants to succeed. Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman once said, "If you have a body, you are an athlete." Apparently my inner athlete is a runner. Who would have known that after avoiding running other than to obtain safety, I would be the girl who is longing to strap on my New Balance sneakers and pound the pavement just because...Yeah, I didn't see that coming.


Tanya said...

Love this blog entry!!! I did the couch to 5k challenge last year at this time and am ramping up again for two more 5k's... one of them, as the Captain of Team Betty for DC's Race for the Cure. I have visions of working it into a global challenge for all of the Team Betty Race for the Cure 5k participants. Why walk 5k when you can run instead and watch your body transform in the training process? :)

Niki said...

I'm not much of an "athletic" person either (never have been), but I've been working out with a personal trainer and have dropped nearly 40 lbs in a little over 3 months. As a result, I have gotten a lot more excited about the things I can do with my body. I am seriously contemplating a 5K or a stairclimb event (42 flights of stairs!). The only thing about doing such strenuous training is the joint and knee problems. My knees are a bit sensitive, but I think that is just a case of the "olds" coming on and I can still achieve my goals while knowing my limits.

Blaine said...

Tia: "Something's wrong. I'm actually starting to like running."
Blaine: "Oh dear're of THOSE."
Tia: " I'm not. Don't say that."
Blaine: "I'm sorry. We're friends. That means hard truths and tough love. You are."
Tia: "'s just...the endorphins. And when I run just a little longer than I did the last time I feel accomplished. And as my walking time gets shorter and my running time gets longer I want to keep going...OMG...what's happening"
Blaine: "It's...okay. It's going to be okay. The first step is recognizing the problem."
Tia: It's all downhill from here isn't it? It's cliff bars, running magazines, speed drills and Under Armor apparel all of the time, right?"
Blaine: "It doesn't have to be that way. You can fight the running analysis, the gps units, the energy goos. You can make this work FOR you. Control it. Don't let it control you."
Tia: "My Nike Fit band isn't working. I was thinking of going to Fleet Feet to buy a new one...with GPS. I won't. I won't. "
Blaine: "It's worse to lie to yourself."

Tia BGLU said...

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yep...that happened.

The Editor - Ms Melissa said...

I realized I loved running too - until arthritis! UGH!! But I'm going back to running. I have to lose the weight first so that I can run on my knee again. Thanks tia for the reminder.