I used to think that there were two types of people: people who can run and people who can’t. I was in the 2nd category.
In college, I ran 1.5 miles around the track one night. It was amazing. I still remember the feeling of accomplishment when I finished. I was downright giddy.
In the following weeks, I tried to keep up the momentum. I mapped out 1/2 mile of city blocks, and tried to run there – downhill – and failed multiple times. I used the treadmill at the rec center, and again was unable to run nearly as far as I had that night. I remember a football player running next to me (I was a cheerleader) telling me I just needed the right music, and offering me his headphones. (I was so embarrassed, I didn’t realize at the time that he was flirting with me, even though I couldn’t run. A couple weeks later, I further mortified myself in the rec room by failing to bench the bar. But that’s another story.)
My husband, Bart, was in cross country in high school. We ran 1/2 mile together once. Twelve years ago.
One of my teacher friends was the track coach. She tried to help me. I made it around the block. The next day, my shins hurt so bad, I gave up for another few years.
(This story has a happy ending, I promise.)
Last summer, I took part in a diet/fitness challenge, and I decided that running seemed like a good way to burn a lot of calories quickly. I downloaded RunDouble on my phone and started out with a good friend. The first time we ran, a chunk of my shoes literally fell off. The only tennis shoes I had were used for gardening and farming, and too many trips through the washing machine led to part of the sole coming loose mid-run. Turns out, bad shoes lead to bad pain. My hips hurt so bad I could hardly walk the next day.
The next week, I got new shoes (Asics Kayunos) and started again. Much better this time around, and the next week was a turning point. I was on week 2 of Couch to 5k, thinking I was going to die, when I started chanting to myself, “It isn’t any harder than walking. It isn’t any harder than walking. It isn’t any harder than walking.” (except, it sort of is.) I completed the run, and for the first time, I felt confident that I could complete the training program and become a runner.
But then, another turning point. I ran on a crappy treadmill, and my knees wouldn’t forgive me. By the time they decided to cooperate, it was cold and icy. I ran inside a couple of times over the winter, and started again with C25k in the spring.
And then, another turning point. I wanted to see if I could make it from my house to the highway. Four tenths (.4) of a mile. So I set out one day, ran to the corner, and then ran back home. It ended up being nine tenths total – further than I had run since that night in 2002.
Since then, I’ve been running fairly regularly, although I’m taking it slowly and am only up to week 4 (of 9) of Couch to 5k. My shins have been bothering me the past couple of months, and it’s making me crazy. My shins are holding me back.
Finally, last week, I bought new shoes (again.) I went to Kyle’s Bikes, in Ankeny, where Bill (marathoner x19) used the Dartfish Gait Analysis to choose 4 different pairs of shoes for me to try. I ran for a minute on the treadmill with each pair (which is an accomplishment in itself – couldn’t do that a year ago!) and chose the ones that felt the best.
I chose Brooks Pureflow 3, because of the way they felt on my feet and shins when I ran. I’ve only ran in them once, but so far, I’m smitten, and ready for my first “race!”
(Kyle’s Bikes did not, in any way, compensate me or sponsor this post. I’m just one happy customer!)
So anyway, the moral of the story is this:
You can run.
Start slowly…really slowly. I repeated week 1 of C25k three or four times before I was ready to move on.
Buy good shoes. But don’t just pick your own. Find an expert that will “fit” you to the perfect shoe. Shoes can make or break you.
Find the right music. That football player was right. I prefer 80s cardio type, but whatever works for you.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the winner of the Color Fun Fest 5K giveaway is (drumroll, please…) SHAUNNA!
Shaunna just happens to be a fellow Iowa blogger who’s blog is called (get this) Mama’s 13 Minute Mile.
If you didn’t win and still want to participate in the run, buy your tickets from the Color Fun Fest 5k website using the code CREEK20. Your registration will only be $20! (Thanks to the Color Fun Fest 5k for sponsoring the giveaway and discounted tickets!)