Thursday, March 22, 2007

Some days you've got it, some days you don't

Yesterday, I just didn't have it. I knew by the time I hit the first hill that my run yesterday was not going to be fun. My calfs tightened up at the first sign of an incline, and when I missed the first stop light, both of my legs turned to lead while I waited for the crosswalk. I knew that if I had been running on the treadmill, I would have stopped after two miles and called it a day. But, I wasn't running on the treadmill and my training schedule called for a five mile run - I was running the park and once I started, I wasn't going to stop until I got all the way back around to my car. As I hit that first hill, I knew I didn't have it that day, but then I remembered back when I really didn't have it.

I don't think I have written about when I first started running. Back then I couldn't have run a mile without walking. I had attempted a couple of times before to start running, but I didn't know what I was doing so just went out and ran. Just for your information - that doesn't work. Anyway, the first time I attempted to start running was in college, when I thought that it couldn't be too hard to run the mile length of DoG street and back to my dorm. Of course, it was too hard, and the tourists laughing and pointing like I was part of the colonial display (although in retrospect, I suspect I was more self-conscience than anything and that most of the tourists didn't even notice me) made me never want to try that again, especially after I had to start walking before I had even gotten to Bruton Parish or something.

Anyway, the second time I attempted to start running was during my second year of law school. I actually did fine that time, maybe even ran a mile before I headed home. Then disaster struck - in the form of gallstones. I went into the hospital that night and subsequently didn't work out for the next six months. There was no connection between the gallstones and exercise, but my tummy hurt too much for the next week to work out and for me, once I fall off the wagon, its REALLY hard to get back on.

In August before my third year of law school, I rejoined weight watchers with one of my friends and joined my local gym. I started doing between 30 and 60 minutes a day on the elliptical or the bike and was feeling pretty good. Then I started my internship and met somebody who has changed my life. She told me that if I could do the elliptical for 60 minutes then I could run. She insisted that when she started running, she couldn't run a mile either, and she gave me a wonderful book, The Complete Book of Running for Women. For a beginning female runner, that book has everything you need to know. The run/walk schedule is perfect for setting you up for your first 5k (if you want to start running I'd be glad to get you a copy), and it has training guides for everything from a 5k to a marathon. It discusses nutrition, injuries, shoes, clothes, everything. I loved the book so much that I bought myself a copy, loaned it to a friend and she bought a copy.

I learned to run on a treadmill that fall. That's partially why its sooo surprising how much I hate the treadmill now, but once I experienced running outside, I didn't want to go back. At first I was walking considerable more than I was running. Even still, I was completely out of breath after five minutes of running, certain that I couldn't do this. Slowly (I repeated some weeks), I built up my ability to run. I played with the pace (realized that I couldn't do 6 mph on the treadmill, but that 5 was much better). The first time I ran for 30 minutes straight I felt as though I had conquered the world. I was slow - perfectly content to jog away at 5 mph, but there was something so empowering about it. When I finished my first 5k, it was the best feeling in the world. I had accomplished something I had never thought possible, and I wasn't even close to finishing last. So now, on the days when "I just don't have it" I have to remember there were days when I really didn't have it, when the thought of running the 5.6 miles of the park seemed impossible. Remembering that makes the painfully slow miles of yesterday just not seem so bad.

Miles: 5.6 (yesterday - very slow, probably took 1 hour 10 minutes)
Weight: 158.5 (um, yeah, 2 pounds in 2 days - gotta love water weight)

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

Dude, sign me up. Is the book that good?