I have always, ALWAYS hated running.

It’s never worked for me. Every time I’ve tried it, I’ve been beaten back with ferocious cramping in my side. (Except for one blissful 20-minute run on the treadmill ten years ago. That was nice.) Everyone would tell me, “Oh, just work through it.” But, um, no…I am not a fan of pain.

I’ve been fine with that. Other people run. I watch them and say, “You go!” And then I happily strap on my inline skates or grab my bike. I’ve never pined away and wished that I could run too.

In March, we joined a local health club. I knew I’d probably hop on the elliptical trainer and walk on the treadmill. But they also have an indoor track and I was drawn to it the first day, when the cardio rooms seemed a bit more crowded for my taste. So I started walking on the track. I liked it. Six laps = one mile. And I was moving instead of just staring at the TV screens mounted above the treadmills.

One day I decided to try some intervals. I like that version of running because I get to stop before it gets too out of control. Walk a lap, run a lap, walk a lap, run lap. It was tough going initially. That damn side ache, of course. But I feel compelled to accomplish a goal once I set one, so I determined to get through each running lap. Sometimes I’d barely make it. And there were a few times when I couldn’t keep up the every-other-lap pace. I’d run when I could and walk the rest.

Then I noticed that I was making it through the laps pain-free. I could eventually run every other lap without much effort. It felt darn good. I was doing it consistently and I was feeling stronger. My hamstrings were getting definition and I was really enjoying the track.

So last week I finally decided to up it a bit. Walk a lap, run two laps. I sailed through it the first time. I was so excited. I RAN TWO LAPS IN A ROW! I was smiling to myself the first time I crossed the lap line and didn’t stop to walk. I was persevering. And I was beginning to feel like a runner. Gah. Weird.

During the thinking time that comes with circling the track in this manner, I’ve actually begun to entertain thoughts of running an entire mile without stopping to walk. If I keep up the steady pace, I really think I can do it. I really think I can maybe possibly…run.

7 thoughts on “Strides”

  1. ok. now you are making me feel guilty. my plan for the summer was to start running in the mornings/evenings (when it’s not as hot as hell). i’ve done it once. i suck. i SOOOOO need to get off my ass! thanks for inspiring me! i too have despised running all my life, but i’ve decided it’s the best, quickest way for me to get a workout.

  2. It always cracks me up when I discover yet another thing we have in common. It seems that what I need to run more than walk — though I don’t really enjoy running, either — is an indoor track. Now, where can I get one of those…?

  3. Hi Lori,

    I’ve always had the same problem with side aches (that, and finding time + motivation!).

    To help me get started (um, after almost 5 years of NO excercise…), my husband (a runner) set up his watch as an interval timer. The first week, I was to walk 3 minutes and run 1. Last week it was walk 3 minutes and run 2. I zone out and wait for the beeps to tell me what to do 🙂

    I’ve been doing this on a fixed loop in our neighborhood that is 3 miles. I like that I don’t have to build in extra time to travel to my exercise. I also like that I’m gradually getting faster at completing the loop. 🙂

    But have fallen off the wagon with this wicked heat spell. 🙁 But no problems with side aches yet. 🙂 When I feel nervous about one coming, I try to breath into and relax that area.

    When I lived in GR, my favorite place to run/walk was Reeds Lake. Nothing in A2 compares with that loop!


  4. ok, I’m printing this out and putting it next to my alarm clock for morning run inspiration!

  5. That has always been me. Seriously. I’ve despised running since I was a child. Oddly enough, I do get the desire to run every once in a while. When walking those laps, running just sounds so…freeing. I even have running dreams sometimes where I’m practically sailing. Can’t say I’ve gotten to the point where running was ok in reality though.

    Keep it up!

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