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. Wait...am 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.)
Excuse me...outside...in 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.