Strides

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!

    -Myra

  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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