Running, in my opinion at least, is tedious, monotonous and painful. And I don’t like the way it makes my jiggly parts, well – jiggle.
In spite of this hate-hate relationship with running I’ve always admired runners. They always look so lithe and graceful – gazelles, while I resemble a bull. A V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W bull. Being a personal training who’s not a runner is a hard gig. People expect that as a PT not only do you run but also that you like to run. News flash – while running is awesome conditioning work there are other forms of training (biking, kettlebells, boxing, hiking) that will improve your conditioning. Plus, true fitness includes other markers – muscular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility. But I digress.
Given my feelings about running it was a surprise to many that I decided to do a running camp this summer. I have issues (see previous post).
Every Monday and Thursday for six weeks during one of the hottest summers on record I ran and ran and ran. Out and backs, loops, trail runs, track workouts, sprint training (which I actually like because it’s short and sweet), hill workouts, a mock 5K. I did it all.
My first challenge was to break through the 30 minute block. I had never run for more than 30 minutes straight. I had the physical conditioning to do it but not the mental conditioning. My first night of running 30 minutes without stopping, our coach ran with me. She was a chirping bird in my ear the whole time. I wanted to kill her. I think at one point I actually told her she was “so f*%king annoying”. Not my finest moment. But I ran for 30 minutes and I couldn’t/wouldn’t have done it without her. It was one of the best “athletic” moments of my life.
Since then I haven’t turned back. I’ve never slowed to a walk, even on the killer hill on one of my neighborhood routes and I’ve gone on 45 minute runs – which is long enough for me.
I set a goal this summer to run a “real” 5K so I recruited some of my boot campers to sign up for the Main Line 5K held this pass Sunday in Wayne. We were a team of 5 (+ one surprise recruit) who each had our individual challenges. Marti, wanted to run the whole race instead of taking multiple walk breaks like she had done the year before. Andrea had ridden 100 miles in the MS Ride less than 24 hours prior to the 5K and her fatigued legs felt like concrete blocks. Jen hadn’t run in 2 weeks. Kathy, one of our strongest runners, had spent the previous 48 hours sick in bed. She chose the 5K as her first post-sick bed outing, because she wanted to be there to motivate our team. I’m sure it killed her to run so far below her normal pace but those of us bringing up the rear appreciated her non-stop talking, er, motivation. Alicia, our other strong runner, was determined to place in her category. And I just wanted to maintain a run the whole time and not finish last.
I was very proud of everyone on Sunday. Marti for running the whole time, Jen for coming out at the last minute, Andrea for her “iron woman” act, Kathy for takin’ one for the team and Alicia for coming back to get us after she finished the race to push us to the finish line.
As for me – I finished my first “real” 5K, I ran the whole time and I didn’t finish in last place. I’m not a runner and I still don’t love the sport, but it’s more of a “strongly dislike-hate” relationship. Running is now a part of my routine once or twice a week. Another challenge that I’ve faced down.