Wednesday, February 01, 2012

life list: run again

So there are about a million things I need to write about but I'm going to start with this one. I've pretty much always enjoyed running. I'm not so much a team sport kind of girl. And I enjoy having my feet planted firmly on the ground (says the person who has travelled for work for 6+ years). During elementary school, I gradually got worse and worse at sprinting. We'd have a track meet every year and you'd compete with kids from the other elementary school. My ribbons went from being blue and red to being yellow and green (1st and 2nd to 4th and 5th).

Sometime during Jr. High, though, we started running long distances. I had already succumbed to the fact that I was not athletic so this happened in PE class. I realized I was good at it. I was fast again! I wasn't that far behind the girl who was naturally athletic. Woohoo! But I still didn't run cross country or anything.

In college, I started running for real. At one point I was probably logging 15-ish miles each week. Not too bad. I had nice legs and could wear short shorts. Again, though, I fell off the wagon. And so it would go again and again. The last time I REALLY ran was shortly after completing grad school. This time I had friends who also ran. And I had a goal of running a 5k. Things were going well. And then I dislocated my knee. Again. I don't even know how many times that had happened before but recovery had always ranged from immediate to somewhat easy. Not this time. In fact, the physical therapist told me I should stop running. And I did. For 10 years.

At the time I was crushed. I was also angry. I didn't know why I should stop running because of my knees when I could dislocate one of them by walking or making the bed or bending down or getting out of the car. Does that mean I should just stay in bed all day? But I guess I was scared, too, since the only time I've had pain surpass it was later during full-on labor. Who wants to bring that on when there is zero reward to reap at the conclusion?

When I met my now-husband, he was a runner. I guess he is a runner. But he was in the zone of working out at the time. I was again envious. And I wished that he had known me when I, too, was a runner. I think he wished the same. Maybe that's what started the wheels turning. Perhaps I could do it again.

Over this last summer, The Brother started running. Leave it to him to think that he's still 18 and go from not running at all to just barrelling though during the hottest time of the year. I encouraged him to start the Couch to 5k program (something I had bookmarked years ago) since it eases you into things (much safer). After he started, it steamrolled. Seemed like everyone was starting. And while I was happy for and proud of those people, I was also getting angrier. I'm the one who enjoys running. I'm the one who should be doing it. Why am I watching all these other people take up a sport that I miss so much, a sport that some of them don't even like?

So I started. There were a couple of false starts and I haven't made it through the 9-week program yet. I'd get sick and would have to back track a week. Or I'd make it to a new week and feel like I was going to die so I'd stick with the previous week awhile longer. Usually I'll either take the dog or the baby with me. There are some glorious days where it's just me. Alone with my music, trying to find the strength to push through for one more minute before I can walk for one or two. Or feeling great and free in a way I don't doing anything else. I've kept it up (again, with breaks here and there) even though I'm 13 weeks pregnant (surprise! if you missed that on FB). I ran three times in Costa Rica, on the beach with a fantastic view. One of those days, Hubby even went with me. It was the first time we'd ran together (even though he could still run laps around me).

I've been thinking a lot about what milestone I'd need to reach before I could mark "run again" off the Life List. I was thinking "once I make it through the program." "Once I feel like I can just leave the house and run for X amount of time without stopping." But you know what? I leave the house and I run. It's in single-digit minute increments and walking is sprinkled in but I'm running. Again.

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