Thursday, August 23, 2012

that thing i thought i hated

Camera Roll-889
View on this morning's run, Birch Bay, Washington, August 2012

My father is a runner. My mother is a runner. My sister is a runner. My grandfather was a long-distance runner. Running is in my blood.

But, up until about six weeks ago, I thought I hated running. My dad used to run track, and he wanted me to run in high school. "Do something with a finish line, something that's not so subjective," my dad said to his dancer daughter. Envious of my Mother/Father/Sister's obvious post-run sweat-streaked high, I dabbled in running. I tried running on family vacations in San Diego, on the beautiful flat boardwalk, and ended up with an aching tongue and itchy legs, two of the strangest running-related maladies ever. 

The only time in my life that I've run regularly was for a few months during my sophomore year in college, when I was suffering through a significant break-up, so miserable and angry that all I could do was try to run away from my heartbreak. It gave me a modicum of peace (though the antidepressants were undoubtably more helpful), but I didn't enjoy it. Since then, whenever the subject of running has come up, I've thought how glad I am to be happy enough that I don't have to run!

But then, two months ago, a weird thing happened. I started thinking about running. I read an article in - of all places - Real Simple magazine about a group of non-running women who started running. One mile. That's what they ran to start. And I thought I could do that. Not because I'm unhappy. Not because I'm desperate, or angry, or running away (except for that one morning, when both kids were hollering as I shut the door and ran down the driveway, boy did that feel good). Just to see if I like it. Because it's fast. Because you can do it anywhere. Because all you need is a pair of shoes. Because I'm on a quest to lose the rest of The Baby Weight before The Baby is doing arithmetic. 

Mikhail made me a short playlist of high-energy tunes. I watched two videos of "How to Run" on YouTube.

I ran one mile. And it felt fine. I ran nice and slow, and only one mile. My tongue didn't ache. My legs didn't itch.

So I ran again. One mile.

When we were in San Diego with my family, everyone got quite a kick out of asking me, "How was your run?" A standard question in my family, and now it was directed to me. I lengthened my run to 1.5 miles. I ran up the steep hill. 

In New Jersey, I went for a run the day after taking an overnight flight. When I came home, my Dad said, "Whenever I run after an overnight flight, I feel like my legs are full of lead." He captured the exact sensation.

In Portland, I ran with a friend, and she (gently) pushed me to run much further than I have alone. We ran over 3 miles, and I wasn't even sore the next day.

This morning, I went on my 15th run.

Maybe I am related to these people after all.


  1. Love that you tried it again and conquered it! I so relate because for me it's swimming! I'm a terrible swimmer and have never enjoyed it for anything other than splashing around and cooling off. But in Vegas it's the only exercise I can do outside. So I started slowly, with a kick board and before I knew it I was swimming for an hour with no kick board. One day I got so lost in thought that I swam for 90 minutes! I've lost 3 inches of each leg. Wow. Now that's motivation!

  2. Bec...Dad and I just found this entry and laughed until we glad you feel the pull on your feet and also glad you've finally come to realize that not only are you related but you are one of the prime time family players.