February 5, 2010 by 8junebugs
In January 2002, I was going through Some Stuff, including, but not limited to, finally finishing up undergrad (avec honors capstone/thesis) and working at my internship and living on bupkiss and dating the wrong guy (prior to marrying the wrong guy).
I was relatively fit at the time. I was a vegetarian by default — Trader Joe’s made it easy to afford rice, frozen veggies, and tofu. Fancy cheese sure as hell wasn’t in my budget. I was at my highest level of activity in years — walking a mile each way to and from Metro three days a week, walking to campus for the day classes, walking the track at Sidwell while a roommate ran it in the mornings.
Then, one day, out of the ever-loving blue, I ran up the damn escalator at the Cleveland Park station . RAN. UP. IT. No one was more shocked than I — I do not run. Everyone knows this about me. I can dance all night (done it) or walk for days (see: Avon) and I love to rollerblade…
But I? Do. Not. Run.
That day, it felt like I’d been building up excess energy that I needed to burn, and that was the only way to get it out. I started running on the track instead of walking, and eventually built up to running a mile and a half, I think — I didn’t really have a goal in mind. I wasn’t training for anything, I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I just…needed to move that way for a while.
Once I moved in with the wrong guy, I didn’t run anymore. I’d gotten used to the track and loved it, but there was no convenient track and I couldn’t get into the treadmill or street running.
I wasn’t “a runner” — I didn’t identify as one and didn’t pretend to. It was just this thing that I did.
Now, it’s this thing that I’m doing. Again. I’ve read Doctor Mama for years and I’ve always liked her approach to running. I’d always thought, “If I ever start running again, this is totally how I’ll do it”:
- Go slooooow. Really slow.
- Measure by time. Start with 30 minutes.
- Don’t worry about speed and distance.
- Run every other day.
Today was my fourth run, so I’m seven days in. Turns out I can still run a mile…more, even. Slowly. Right out of the gate, I was able to run for 24 of the 30 minutes, split into three chunks. Cue sigh of relief — I thought it was going to be harder.
Apparently, this is how my body needs to move at the moment. Walking, elliptical-ing, yoga…all good, but yoga’s the only one that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning, and that’s only once a week (for now). This morning, I completely ignored the snooze button.
I feel better and sleep better on running days. On nights before no-running days, I wish I could run every day. Any soreness (which is now minimal) feels balanced, like I’ve worked every muscle just enough. Doctor Mama notes that running is different from walking because, for one split second in every stride, you are suspended in mid-air — like flying, almost. The workout feels complete because the rest of my body is holding me there, in mid-air. As it should.
I don’t remember it feeling this good last time, but that might be because last time I was running outdoors in January, and I didn’t have an ipod. This time, I’m running indoors on a treamill with a nice view of the Potomac. And I have Lady Gaga. I’m not saying I won’t run outdoors eventually, but I’m not saying I will, either.
Like last time, the only goal is to move the way I need to move.
(And to the person who automatically looked to see if I look skinnier when I said I’d started running? Also not the goal.)