My whole adolescent life, I wanted to be athletic. I was very active in sports but I wasn’t athletic per se. I had fantastic hand-eye coordination but I was always a little slower and a little less of an athlete than my friends.
In the bumfuck town I grew up in, there were literally 270 people in existence. You’d think I married my uncle and one of my teeth were missing but I am mostly normal and don’t own a pig named Glitzy. I’m also not married to any of my uncles.
Because of my rural upbringing I went to an equally as sparse high school where between grades 7-12, the student head count was somewhere between 300-350. Because of the miniscule nature of my school, there weren’t a ton of cliques or clubs you would join to get away from a particular group of people you didn’t like. For instance, there were about 250 people in the science club. Why? Because everyone else was in it and you got to skip class when we hosted the elementary science fair. This was pretty much the same for FFA, 4-H, FCCLA, band, choir, and every sport offered. This is why I can sew a pillow, hit a high C, swoon with the clarinet and milk a cow. Clubs weren’t for nerds, they were for social hour which is the best gig a pubescent girl can land.
When spring came and track & field was the next event on the list, everyone joined. If you were fast you rocked at dashes, if you were chunky you flung the shot put and if you could spin in circles you hurled a discus. The shot put and discus were my events which I loved because practices were spent watching each other throw. Some days you powered it a foot further than before, other days you stretched for about an hour. I got to be an athlete without being athletic.
But for some reason, I never fully escaped running. I loathed the very whisper of the word. Any chance I could walk or just skip running at all was a perfect day. I was terrible at it, I had zero endurance, I wasn’t fast and it pushed me so far outside of my comfort zone. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t doing something you completely blow at, repeatedly, torture?
As I got older I experimented with running on my own. I started figuring out this thing called “pace.” In high school I hated running because that pace was set for me. When I started running for me, I set my own pace. Granted I still couldn’t make it past the 1st mile but it was progress.
After high school I kept at it. I started setting goals for myself to run for X amount of minutes without stopping. I’ll still never forget the day I took a picture of the treadmill. It read 3 miles and I didn’t stop once. I had major abdomen cramping but I fucking did it! This goal setting continued into college and kept growing. I ventured outdoors for the first time which was feat in
the summer all seasons of Florida. Suddenly, I craved running. I heard chatter about this concept known as a “runner’s high” but thought the people who talked about it were actually high. Seriously, who the hell would be euphoric over one of the most strenuous workouts known to man? But the more I ran, the more I felt the high. I literally felt skinnier, happier, and blissful.
Finally, in my 20s I successfully ran two 5ks, 1 obstacle 5k, 1 half-marathon and countless more miles for leisure. I officially gained the title of a runner and was proud to have it. Over the course of 5 years I worked to earn the ability to run. I literally taught myself how to run.
If you have ever attempted to run for longer than 15 minutes, you can fully empathize with my achievement. Running is hard and completely drains the life out of your bones. But it’s also the most gratifying activity I’ve ever done. It’s not easy to learn and in fact, it’s going to take a really long time. Your joints will hurt, your toes will blister and you may even pass out. Despite your horrid feet, your body and mind will be forever grateful of the introduction to running.
Hopefully running has made your resolution list this year. If it has here are a few tips to make sure you join the runner’s club before 2014.
How To Run
1. Start – getting out there and hitting some pavement is the hardest but the most crucial step. Procrastinating or assuming it won’t be as difficult as you think is not smart. In fact, it’s very, very, stupid.
2. Make a Goal – why are you doing this? figure out why you want to do this and what your end goal is going to be by 12/31/13. do you want to run 3 miles without stopping or do you want to run 3 miles in 20 minutes? Figure out what you want and make that your goal.
3. Get GREAT Shoes – you don’t need good shoes for running, you need great shoes. Whatever shoes you think you have that will work, save them for errand running. Do a little research or ask around for some good brands. Bad shoes can injure you which is zero fun.
4. Set Your Pace – nothing is more important than learning how to set your pace. You can’t start sprinting on your first day or I promise you will hate running forever. Sprints are disgustingly addictive but they will make you vomit and they kill. My first pace was nothing short of a brisk walk for some. Eventually my legs sped me up naturally and I only noticed on my watch.
5. Keep Running – when you want to stop, don’t. That’s when your breakthrough will happen. The thing that always got me to finish strong was “your legs won’t give out on you if you keep going.” It’s simple but it always helped me convince myself to keep trucking. If your legs do give out on you I am very sorry.