Category: Running

I run. Usually in a straight line. Not very fast. (See my “Running” page for more.)

the fastest post of the slowest runner

O, look, a fifteen-minute break: just enough time to talk about exercise.

Since we last talked about exercise, I am still in the Couch to 5k program, with a few breaks due to illness. How I hate that phrase “due to illness”! But there it is. Also, I have now mapped my regular route, and discovered that my pace is much too slow. I will need to train significantly harder to complete a 5k in a reasonable amount of time. Right now I am stuck on day one of week six of the nine-week program, which is slightly demoralizing but not spirit-crushing because I love it.

There, I’ve said it: I love running. I don’t love running uphill, but that makes sense, right? My legs go all noodly and the whole running thing seems like an ill-conceived idea. Running downhill is less doubt-filled noodle-making, but still not as fun as Just Running. Sadly, San Francisco’s topography has not returned my calls, so there will be no debating this issue.

As much as I love running, I dislike pretty much anything else designed solely for exercise. Someday I will find the thing that makes strength-training endurable. Please let it not be yoga, because all of my yoga-loving friends are already annoyed with me for mocking the names of the poses even though they know I have the sense of humor of a fifth-grader.

And with that, my break ends conveniently before I can talk about being in vocational limbo!

birthday gift

After most of a year of debating the exact method in which I would get in shape I was no closer to choosing one, let alone sticking with it. I had sampled a few different options and discarded most of them as impractical, prohibitively expensive, or both. All I could decide on was the fact that I hate the popular usage of “regime” for “regimen”.

Last summer, after a friend mentioned Jillian Michaels’ “30-Day Shred” workout DVD, I read some reviews, mostly favorable, and decided to buy it. I managed to stumble my way through the first level a few times, following the modified exercises for beginners, and thought it wasn’t bad. Then my illness interrupted my routine, as was the case for much of 2009, and the DVD and hand-weights went untouched for the rest of the year.

While I skipped the jumping-jacks, time marched on. I felt lumpier and weaker than ever. During our Portland vacation, I went on a 5-mile hike with moderate elevation and thought I was going to die. A friend and I talked about running, but I did not see myself as a runner. My trainers were ancient, purchased long ago on deep discount during another fit of athleticism while I still had my bicycle. I tried a few times to go running but winded myself almost immediately and, dejected, walked around the block a few times before returning home.

I could not tell you why Monday the 28th was any different. Perhaps I was finally fed up with hearing myself make excuses and then feel sorry for myself. Perhaps I was simply too tired of spending so much time thinking about it. Whatever the case, I got home from work, ate a banana, read email for a few minutes, and then I went into the living room and flailed awkwardly for a while. Calories were burned. Epithets were hurled. Push-ups, even “modified for beginners”, were barely pushed up.

Heady with my sweat-soaked achievement, I decided that the next day I would go running. The Couch to 5k program had intrigued me when I first heard about it, so much so that I promised myself I would do it if I ever got back in shape. But I was tired of waiting for that, and the program is for beginning runners. So I downloaded the nifty C25k iPhone app and set my alarm for 6:00 the next morning.

Surprising myself, I didn’t hit snooze. I staggered out of bed, ate a bowl of cereal, and stared at RSS feeds for about twenty minutes. Then I donned my sad old trainers and what passes for “exercise clothing” in my closet and went running. Well, heavy walking with brief flurries of jogging. And I have done so six times now. The second week was less painful, thanks to new trainers, but was far from easy. Good thing I am stubborn, and also newly addicted to endorphins.

For someone who doesn’t see herself as a runner, it is strange to be excited about running. I am far less excited about flailing with Jillian Michaels, but I am doing that on the off-days for lower-impact cardio and strength training. And I still can’t do more than a few push-ups, but changing that is my next fitness goal.

The last week of C25k begins on my birthday. All I want is to wake up on my birthday and run 5k. Wish me luck!