Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I run because I like to eat desert

Maj. C was once one of the fastest 10 men in the United States in his event.  He ran 90 miles a week, and almost went to the Olympics.  He ran for Nike and the Army.  Maj. C looks like an antelope crossed with a golden retriever when he runs: he's joy in motion.

In contrast, in elementary school, I was placed in remedial gym with the learning impaired.  My parents were amused, but were not really concerned as I could do algebra in second grade. I never once passed the Presidential Fitness test.  I only joined winter track in high school to make my college application look more balanced (I was president of the Science Club).  I was easily the least talented member of the team.

So yes, the geeky girl married the captain of the track team.
Fast forward 20-ish years.  I hate running. But I'm still running. Badly and sporadically, but I run.  Running is one of the few things in my life that I do for "fun" in which I have no natural talent.  After all, people generally choose hobbies in which one has some sort of natural interest or affinity.  

I sweat, swear, scowl, and pant.  Running is an exercise in bloody-mindedness than anything else.  I work hard, but I suck.  And that will never change.  I'll always be slow.  I'll always suck.  Consistently breaking a 10 minute mile for more than 3 miles felt harder won than passing my doctoral defense.  The first days post-partum running was physically painful.

Every time I start running, I hate it and wonder if I should turn back.  But I don't as I've already begged my sister-in-law to babysit, so I'll look like an ijit.  Worse yet, a lazy ijit.  As an asthmatic, I feel that rising sense of panic as air is squeezed out my lungs, but then it fades. In my last race photo I look like I have T-Rex arms as I shuffle up a hill.  (Form?  What's that?)  And I look like I'm about to punch the photographer in the mouth (I still bought the photo).

The phrases "speed work" and "Fartlek" are dirty words, one which I will never utter. I'm far too lazy.  I define victory as "finished while they are still timing the race."  I run so I can fight again to run another mile, not so I'm faster.

It took me nine months and I'm finally back to a regular-ish schedule of running more that 5k.  Yet even after such a short interval of regular runs, I now feel squirrelly when I haven't run for a day or two.  Running burns away the noise in my life, leaving only the important issues. With a body in motion, my mind is finally still.  Usually, I'm slumped over my computer, my body is still, but my mind is racing.

So I run.  Not as often as I should or even as I "want".  But I run. . .

Shameless plug:
Maj. C wrote the running logbook pictured above.  It works, even for the athletically impaired.  And even in the era virtual everything, paper is actually quite useful (even therapeutic) in tracking your progress.  Really. You can buy it on Amazon, but it's much nicer if you contact him directly for sales. He also gives generous bulk and team discounts-- but only if contacted directly.  Thank you!

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