Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Me and Running

Believe it or not, I used to run.  A lot, actually.  I started running my senior year of high school when I quit volleyball and soccer so I could run cross country and track for my school's team.  To be honest, I wasn't that good, but my natural niche for running--along with my competitive nature--made me good enough to do decent at that level.

The next year I walked onto my college track team at the University of Wyoming, a Division I school.  My race was the 800m (half mile), and I competed in several meets that year.  I mainly saw running as a good way to stay in shape and unfortunately wasn't really motivated to improve as a runner. 

Running at that level is a pretty painful endeavor--it is very mental and requires a lot of discipline.  I felt more pressure than I bargained for because from my perspective I was just doing it for "fun," but my coach expected more than that {and rightly so}.  Even though it was a great experience, I felt a sense of relief when I transferred universities in the middle of my sophomore year and quit running competitively entirely for the most part.
I didn't run consistently again until four years later when I decided to run a half marathon.  After twelve weeks of training, I ran the race with a friend, felt really good while I was running, and finished in one hour and fifty-one minutes.  And then I mostly stopped running again.

Why this trend?  Well, because running isn't fun.  Mostly, not even a little fun.  I mean I have had fun running, and I have had great runs, and I do always start to feel a little better about running five minutes into my run...but it's just so painful {which is mostly my fault--you see, I have a hard time just going out for a leisurely jog.  I have to run hard and fast or else it's just not worth it to me.  My goal is always to get it over with as quickly as possible...and the faster I run, the faster it's over}.   

So basically, this is my relationship with running:  I do it because I can and because it's good for me and because I like to train and set goals--but I don't do it because I love it because I don't love it...but I wish I did.  I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.  I guess it's a love/hate thing, heavy on the hate.    

Thankfully, as a Mom to small children, I feel like my "exercise" is built into my life--lifting weights babies all day, vacuuming {over crumbs}, unloading groceries {with one hand}, carrying two babies up flights of stairs {and bleachers at soccer games}.  And, of course, taking walks {whilst pushing a double stroller}.  These are all great forms of exercise in my book.    
Another reason I don't run {much} anymore is because for the past 4+ years, I have been pregnant, nursing, or both.  I am one of those people who gives up all strenuous exercise during pregnancy {though I am a firm believer in being in good shape for pregnancy and do take a lot of walks}. 

And, after Augustine was born, I never started exercising again because I didn't want to delay the return of my cycle. 

Which is fairly irrational.    

BUT, when your baby is 14 months old, still nurses through the night, you don't have your cycle back, and you are afraid youwillnevergetitbackandneverhaveababyagain you pull out all the, no strenuous exercise for me.

After Gemma was born, however, I consciously decided not to be irrational :).  Cycle or no cycle, I was going to pick a race and train for it.  When Gemma was 16 months old, it was still a "no cycle," but I decided it was time to run.

Now I have run a couple road races in the past few years without training for them. 

It's painful. 

That pesky competitiveness doesn't let me show up and walk/run--oh no, I run way faster than my body is expecting or ready for and then feel like I am going to die, literally afterward.  See, running is fun...

So, this time I trained for 5 weeks and then ran in a 5K.  It was still a challenge and I pushed myself to meet my goal, but my recovery was so much better!  I actually placed first in my age group, which felt great...but is mostly comical and doesn't say much about my running.  It was a pretty small race, after all, and at 30 years old, I got the advantage in the 30-39 age group.  Still, it gave me hope that I still had a little something left, if I ever decided to become a runner again.

So, anyone who is thinking about becoming a runner, do it!  It might not be fun {or maybe it will for you}, but you CAN do it.  Just one foot in front of the other over and over and over...and it really does feel great when you finish!  Really!       

1 comment:

  1. Have you found any other mom running buddies? I have a friend from church and we run together and it's so much more enjoyable, even for the kids. Of course, I'm one of those obsessive people who thinks they may explode from built stress and lack of endorphins if they DON'T run ;-)