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.