“Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it’s hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run.”
~ Monte Davis, runner
In a previous post I mentioned I was going to try my hand at becoming a runner. It’s not that running was new to me, I mean, we’ve all done it here and there at some point. But it had been a good long while, and back then it was only on the dreaded treadmill. So not the same.
I think the last time I had run outdoors on a regular basis was back in elementary school. Our principal was a runner and I tend to think this is the reason we had a mandatory running club (that and being short on supervisory staff for lunch hours). This way they could herd us all together and force us to exercise on our lunch break. I quite liked it then, and nick-named our dear principal who lead the runs “ostrich-legs”. I certainly didn’t have the speed with my short little legs, but I kept at it. (Well, technically I didn’t have a choice, but why bother with the details, right?)
This time around, I still have short legs (did I even get any taller?) and am by no means a fast runner, but at least I’ve kept with it. At the beginning of the program when I was complaining about the bitter cold winds, and the lingering ice and snow in April, I was pretty certain I would quit. Not so much because of the weather, but because of some mysterious and recurring injury to my leg.
My mantra became “I’ll just keep trying”. So I kept going to the sessions and the practice runs, always telling myself that if it comes to it, I can just walk back. And it worked! The pain diminished around the same time we had a lecture from a sports injury physiotherapist. But if it comes back full force, I’ll know who to call.
When the running program began, there was 22 of us. By the time it came to an end there was only a handful. My running instructor told me from the beginning, that most of the strong starters won’t finish, but I didn’t really believe her. I figured that was her way of comforting me, the whole “slow and steady wins the race” speech. But it turns out she was right. Who knew?
I didn’t really have specific goals for joining the program, other than to participate. I did finish the program (pseudo-goal met), ran in my first 5K race (pseudo-goal met), and now I’m kind of in limbo. It was emphasized in this program, that we should figure out what the next step is, what our next goal is, before the program ends, so that we won’t just…stop. It was just over a week after the race before I went running again, so they may have had a point.
Some people had very specific goals for joining the program, like getting in shape, running a particular race, making better time. I decided to post-pone joining another program so for the summer, my running goal is simply to keep doing it. As often as possible. My intention is to take the next clinic in the fall.
I’m happy to say that for the most part, I quite enjoy this running thing. I can’t speak for others runners, but when I’m running, I’m not thinking about stressors. It’s a time when I can just breathe. A time when I can look around me and appreciate the beauty of the river valley, the changing of the seasons, the other runners who pass by and acknowledge me like they’re welcoming me in to their secret world; an acknowledgement of like-mindedness, at least regarding one corner of our separate lives.
When I first wrote about running, my goal was very simple: to become a runner. Now that the program is finished, I have no intention of stopping.
- How to Start Running: Galloway Method (fitsugar.com)
- A Runner’s Diary: Running with My Daughter (hilarytopper.com)
- Beginner’s 5K Training Schedule (fitsugar.com)