I’ve said this so many times already but I’ll say it again: I absolutely, whole-heartedly, from the
innermost part of my soul detest running.
Even so, or perhaps as a result, I so want to be a runner.
That is how mentally deranged I can be sometimes. And now that I’m running, I have absolutely no idea how I can maintain this runners’ lifestyle.
I’ve dabbled in running for a few years. It’s never been anything serious. I used to resort to it as part of a larger training regime. I never trained to be a good runner. I ran (let’s call it jog instead) to diversify my workouts. Jogging on my treadmill at home was a handy way to get in half an hour of exercise before going to work some days. That was pretty much it.
And then I married a crazy Scotsman. He runs and partakes in running races and triathlons the way I eat basboosa (the most delicious Egyptian sweet you can ever imagine). I accompanied him to a couple races and thought they looked “fun”. He encouraged me to run a bit more and to participate in a couple 10km races. It was ugly. But despite the fact that I repeatedly refer my readers back to my horrible memories of being passed in my races by a limping 50-something-year-old stroke survivor, countless overweight people, the elderly, tiny children, and once (get a load of this) by a blind lady, I persevered. I’ve kept at it. I ran my first half marathon earlier this year. Who would have thought that I could run 21km? I wouldn’t have.
But is that enough for my deranged mind? No. I need to run faster. I can no longer accept (I couldn’t to start with but now I REALLY can’t) watching little kiddies so easily pass me by when I run the weekly 5km race, called a Parkrun, in the UK. I just won’t have it. So now not only am I trying to be able to run longer distances, I’m trying to run them at a faster pace. AND IT SUCKS!
I joined a running club. It’s great. I’ve learned so much about running from them. I quite rapidly moved up in the running groups until I started running with a group of women who really pushed my limits. They are all, quite literally, older than me. But wo-MAN can they run. So I push myself to keep up with them. They make me run on steep hills, they make me do intervals, they make me run laps, they make me do tempo runs, it’s CRAZY. But it works. I have started getting moderately faster.
And I’ve started suffering more.
I now see a physiotherapist. I get intense pains in my calf muscles after running with the club. It’s pain that wakes me up at night. The physiotherapist told me that she thought that one of my muscles was mildly inflamed and told me I had to rest my legs for two weeks. It was heaven. I went to a spinning session once the two weeks of rest were over and suddenly I was as strong as superman. I tore through that spinning class as if I was chewing gum.
I was particularly happy with that class because in the month that built up to my rest holiday, I was hitting a million brick walls. I’d go to the gym and zonk out after fifteen minutes. I’d go to a running session and my legs felt like they were two columns of cement. I’d come home and I would be so out of energy that I could barely get through the rest of the day.
My physiotherapist tells me there’s nothing wrong with my shoes. Nothing wrong with my gait. She’s given me some exercises so that I can engage my glutes more while I run. That involves contracting one butt cheek at a time without contracting my hamstrings in the process. It’s nearly impossible for me! You try it! I’ve started running again but the physiotherapist has ordered me to do nothing else but run three times a week for two weeks to see how things go. I can’t go the gym! I can’t work on other aspects of my physical fitness! After a run, I take extra care that I stretch properly and for a decent amount of time. I eat food as soon after a run as possible as if it were medicine. I also now ice my calves after every single run.
What the heck! This thing is taking over my life!
But I am going to keep at it, trying various approaches, until I figure out what I need to do to become a proper runner.
Today was a running day. The weather has been awful. I had a choice of running along a scenic canal or going to the gym and running on a soul-killing, life-sucking treadmill. I chose the canal.
I got some hail and rain near the end of my run, but nothing I can brag about. It was very cold, but not arctic cold or even New York City cold. I ran through countless puddles and lots of mud, but it didn’t really bother me. Running against 20 mile per hour winds (I’m not kidding) was like running up a steep hill, but I’ve run up enough hills not to be phased. I won’t say I enjoyed it because I didn’t. I won’t say I felt strong because I think someone has stolen my superpowers from me (BITCH).
My legs have been stretched and iced, a turkey sandwich and a mug of hot chocolate are in my belly (the actual mug is on the table unwashed, not in my belly), and I’m sitting on my favorite (only) couch in my onesie with a fleece blanket wrapped around my shoulders.
And I haven’t the slightest idea how I can possibly keep this up.
But I swear to God I will for as long as I continue to be mentally deranged.
Does it ever get any easier? Does it ever become less time-consuming? Does it ever become less intense? I’ve had some problems as a beginner cyclist, but I figured them out and I crossed a whole continent on my bike. Hiking has never been easy, but my legs have taken me up some pretty high mountains. What is it about running?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT RUNNING?
To be continued….(you bet your ass this WILL BE continued)!