I have a love/hate relationship with running.
Our current status? In blissful love.
The past ten years? Off and on.
High school and before? Deep, deep hatred.
I should clarify
that when I talk about running, I usually mean middle-distance and
distance running, not sprinting. Sprinting and I have always been on
pretty good terms. Sprinting was always a part of the sports I played:
soccer, basketball, tennis... you sprint to chase after a ball. I
understood it. There was a goal, something to go for. But then I decided
to follow in my (record holding) sister's footsteps and try track my
freshman year of high school.
That was a mistake. I didn't care for the coach and I was way too
immature to appreciate that running itself is a sport. I was told,
because of my body shape at the time, that I should be a middle distance and distance
runner; I did not agree and therefore held a grudge the entire season
and dreaded going to practice. I barely got through practice runs and
had incredible anxiety before and during meets. The only event that I
enjoyed and that quenched my desire to sprint - the triple-jump - was
the one that my sister (a senior when I was a freshman) also competed in. I did
okay with it. She'd always place first and I'd sometimes place third;
that was pretty cool.
But the middle distance and distance events? I was always one of the last ones to finish. It sucked and I didn't go back.
hindsight it was a good thing, the next year I picked up tennis,
captained the team my junior and senior year and went on to play in
Fast forward to post-college: my main forms of exercise became rec
soccer and training for sprint triathlons. I began to run and I began to
like it. I'd still rather bike, or swim, or play a team sport. But I'd
run in some 5ks and 5 milers, and one half-marathon, because I had friends or family running in
them too. I never came close to finishing in the top quarter of the
race. I was lucky if I finished in the top half of my age group, but I
was growing okay with it.
In fact, my rocky relationship with running also probably has
something to do with the fact that I have some really amazing runners in
my life: my husband (a sub 3 hour marathoner), one of my best
girlfriends (sub 3:15 marathoner) and my sister (a stud Div. 1 track
athlete) - I'd compare myself to them, and figure everyone else was too, so I decided since I wasn't near any
of their levels, the sport just wasn't for me.
Fortunately, with age comes wisdom, or, more accurately: as I grow older, I care less and less about what other people think.
When I became pregnant with the little guy I had a small base of running under me. I was running to keep in shape for roller derby, but my fast twitch muscles were definitely more formed than my slow ones. I ran (off and on) for probably the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy. Then it just got too uncomfortable (I still worked out, almost daily, just in other ways). I ran again for the first time probably 8 weeks postpartum: little by little, one mile at a go.
Maybe it was because I had a break from running, or because I had to start from zero postpartum, but during the last year I really began to love it. It was a struggle, getting back to the point where I could run three miles consistently again, and stroller running was pretty difficult to get used to, but it's working for me. I've ran a few 5ks (With the little guy in the stroller and without. With friends and racing for myself). And I finished the Ragnar Adirondacks (a 200 mile relay race) with a group of 11 other amazing mamas.
I mentioned it briefly in my last running post, but I'm enjoying running so much, and the camrederie it creates, and the good it can do (both mentally and physically) that I'm helping to organize a 5k run around here, and it's for a great cause.
If you made it this far, thank you for letting me work through my running issues! I'll be sure to keep the blog updated with our tumultuous relationship.
On that note, here's my favorite running workout that's easy to do on a
treadmill (which is where most of my running is taking place due to the
frigid cold right now). I find the "break" after each mile really makes
the running part go by quickly: