Friday, April 23, 2010

Not A Runner

For the record, I'm not a runner. I wouldn't even be described as athletic by any means; I mean, I can dabble in yoga, pilates, kickboxing, tennis, long walks, bicycling, Wii Fit, and Denise Austin, but I'm not really an endurance person. Never have been. I can do just enough to get by when I make the effort, but never take that "active" part of my life too seriously. After all, I'm a mom. I'm a working mom. I'm the wife to a busy neurosurgery chief resident. Who has the time?

In high school, I wanted to be a runner. I tried to be a runner. So I joined cross country, thinking that would make me a runner. I ran for a few months, mostly to get the attention of the boys on the cross country team, and that was the last time I ran, aside from running to catch the bus to Animal Kingdom at Disney World. For that, I have endurance. In my daily life, I'm not a runner.

A month ago, after our horrible Charlottesville winter (can you tell I'm still bitter?), it all of a sudden got warm. And spring-like. And beautiful outside. Well you all know, you read the post below. And after New Zealand's crazy weather, and this past winter in Charlottesville, I needed to be outside enjoying Spring. So I took a walk. And then I started to run.

Let me reiterate in case you don't yet understand: I'm not a runner. I thought I had made peace with that. When I run for 2 minutes, I can't catch my breath. I get shin splints after 3 minutes of running. It's very pitiful. But suddenly, I wanted to run.

I'm an accomplisher. A check-off-the-list-er. (A "make a thousand lists"-er, as well.) I graduated college early with a degree in Finance, although my grades my first year were awful. I graduated from a great law school, even though the first year I was tempted to quit. I passed the bar exam on the first try even though it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm married to a work-a-holic, and we still manage to find the time to have a good relationship; and I've become a work-a-holic myself these days. I'm the mother to an amazing little girl who has some special needs, and not only is she thriving, she is the most beautiful person I know, inside and out; I honestly think she and I can read each other's souls, and being her mom is the most incredible accomplishment to date.

But this running thing made me nervous. If there ever was a "beginner" runner, it was me. But luckily, the internet was prepared for me. I found this website which was ready for me: it's an e-mail sent to me every day that tells me what to do. Day 1 was run a minute, walk a minute, 10 times. Run a minute? Well of course I could do that! Of course as I have no endurance to speak of, it was harder than I thought; but I accomplished that first 20 minute run/walk and the next day followed day two's instructions. I'm now on day 17, and am fairly proud of myself. Today I'm running 5 minutes then walking 1 minute and then repeating 4 more times, for a total of 24 minutes. Can I do it? I'm not sure. But I've come so far from 3 weeks ago.

Why am I doing this? First of all, it's another thing to prove I can do; I will be impressed if in a few weeks I can run a couple miles without stopping, and maybe even get beyond that if I can keep up this running habit. Secondly, it is for Lilly. I've suddenly been getting old (not "old" old, but my body is getting tired and old), and I really want to have the endurance and strength for her as she grows up. She's not getting any lighter! Thirdly, the strength! That alone is a motivation that I didn't consider; my body is actually getting itself into shape - I haven't had any muscles to speak of in 10 years, and it's amazing to me that my body is toning in ways I didn't realize would happen from just running. And the last reason is, I'm falling in love with running. I love hearing my feet pounding the pavement; I love the accomplishment of knowing every day that I've run (or run walked) two miles. I love the solitude of my own thoughts and the selfishness of that time where I don't have to respond to e-mails or do something for Lilly. I don't own an ipod, so I don't even listen to music - it's just a time to be with my own thoughts, which is unique in my busy life.

So I'm not sure, but I think I may be becoming a runner.


Runningmama said...

Just found your blog from another I read regularly. I am a runner and I know firsthand that once you think you might be...there's no turning back, it's addicting in a wierd way. My daughter Emily is 11 months and has DS, so glad I found your blog, your Lilly is beautiful!

Kelli @

Cassi said...

All I have to say is ... YAY!