About five years ago, my best friend Lauren sat me down and told me I seriously needed to get my act together. I was a hot mess throughout college (a very fun hot mess, but still – a mess). I binge drank, socially smoked, ate like crap, and Fat Talked all the time.
When Lauren intervened (thank goodness; I love her for it), she offered to take me on a run. I was, as you might expect, not in very good shape and could barely run a 1/4 mile without stopping to dry heave. But I LIKED that I was so bad at running. After all, that meant I had lots of room to improve! I was back out there the next day.
After a year of running 5Ks on the treadmill, I decided to train for a 10K. Looking back, I have no idea what possessed me to sign up for the race. None of my friends were doing it. I just knew I wanted to try for a new distance. That 10K was one of my favorite memories; I had no idea that it would be the first of 34 races over the next four years.
I fell in love with running.
- Running doesn’t care if you don’t have nice clothes or fancy gadgets.
- Running is always there for you, wherever you need it.
- Running doesn’t care if you’re slow or fast.
- Running rewards you when you work hard and is surprisingly forgiving when you slack off.
- Running teaches you to like sweating. It means you’re doing a good job!
- Running doesn’t care if you hate it occasionally. It loves you even when you don’t.
- Running humbles you and forces you to appreciate your body for more than just its appearance.
- Running will listen to you complain and philosophize. Running never talks back.
- Running doesn’t mind if you leave it for a few weeks, months, or even years – it will always be waiting for you to return.
It’s been six or seven weeks since my last run. I tweaked my knee on a long run while training for a half marathon (that I never got to do), and I’ve been relegated to swimming and yoga ever since. Running also taught me to respect my body when it’s injured – trust me, no one ever healed from a running-related injury by more running.
But in the two weeks, I’ve been jogging a mile or so with my Girls on the Run team, and on Saturday, I jogged a 5K with the team without pain.
I’m feeling pretty good about my knee situation, so this morning, I dusted off my Garmin, turned on my iPod, and decided to go for a run. Cue: sneaker-shaped confetti.
I started off a little too fast – a 10:00 minute – just to prove to myself that I could still do it. I definitely lost some endurance over the last six weeks, but it’s not a disaster. Around the 0.75-mile mark, I came to my senses and took a walking break. I do NOT need to push it too fast, too soon. I repeated the run/walk pattern for the rest of the workout.
In total, I ran/walked 2.0 miles. It took me about 25:00, and I was thrilled.
My plan is to very, very slowly ease back into running, assuming I don’t have any injury flare-ups. I’ll probably only run once or twice a week for the next month or so, and gently increase my running time and mileage. I don’t think I’ll be going long distances anytime soon – that knee tweak was SUPER painful.
Back at the hotel, I hit up the gym for a chest/biceps workout of lat pulldowns, bicep curls, rows, and tricep pushdowns. I did some crunches, too. I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time on account on my run – glad I was the only one in the gym!
Surprisingly, pretty good! I had a tortilla with egg, cheese, and salsa, plus a big fruit bowl.
Are you in love with running, too? Why?