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.