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Running

Running

Ihate running.

Sorry Running…no offense.

I was on a soccer team for one season as a five year old. Man it was a lot of running. And for what outcome? Just to run from one side of the field to the other. I never understood it. I’d play a whole game, doing absolutely nothing but run from here to there. My parents tell the story that when I was on this team I would shout over to them on the sidelines, “The ball hit me Ma! Did you see it?” I was no Brandi Chastain. Needless to say, that was my last formal soccer experience.

I remember in grade school we had the coolest PE teacher, Mr. E. Every so often he’d have us run the “Green Monster”. I do not know the length of the “Green Monster” but it consisted of a loop around our playground space made mostly of a mass of green grassy space we used for tag and wiffle ball at recess. The whole class would run around the kindergarten play structure, the willow trees, the four square courts and then the massive expanse of the schoolyard. In this particular memory, I was determined to keep pace with the tallest and therefore the fastest boy in the 5th grade, Jay Diener. I was going to show all the boys up. Hashtag girl power. I kept pace for almost 3/4 of the grassy track and then I just couldn’t. I may have been the first girl to finish, but it was without fanfare as I puked up my breakfast in the trees just beyond the imaginary finish line instead of raising my hands in triumph.

One of my most successful moments in running was in high school. I was buddies with a girl on the track team and one day we were to run a timed two miles on the track for PE class. She taught me a trick; together we ran the 8 laps sprinting each straightaway and jogging the curves. We finished in under 13 minutes. Not too shabby. But, what was the point? I just changed out of my gym clothes and went to the next class…yeah high school is gross like that.

Going to college in Michigan meant winter softball training was indoors. The recreation center had an indoor track. It didn’t overlook anything interesting and the windows were too high and so it was basically just a round empty dull space. We were expected to run 3 miles in 30 minutes on this track which was 30 laps 3 times a week. This was so boring. Lap after lap after lap. They also stationed a coach at the track whose job it was to ensure we never walked and that we completed our 30. I always felt bad for her, having to watch us go ’round, and ’round, and ’round.

When I was a coach, I used to have my girls run a timed mile and insist that they finish in 8 minutes. Man, I’d fail my own expectations today. Yeah, the last twenty years have changed my body’s output…yet, with all these bad memories of running with only faint moments of highlights, I still run.

Some days are OK and some days are awful but I assure you no days are fun. Again, don’t take it personally Running, it’s me not you. Sometimes I limp along so slowly with my shoulders slumping that I wonder if a passing car will mistake me for needing hospitalization. I also stop and walk. I’m not ashamed. But can I then say, “I jogged today” or is there a word for my pattern of jog – walk – jog – walk slower – jog and quit? OK, we’ll just call it “jogging” and have a shared understanding of what this means to me.

Yet, season after season, year after year, I always find a time that I come back to running.

This month, I joined the Teacher Fit community in the search to improve our lives through creating healthy habits. A habit that I plan to include beginning next week is to run. I would like to be in the habit of running, well “jogging” (you know what I mean) 4 times a week at a minimum and to complete my 4 mile loop here near my home.

Here are some of my strategies I will use to make this thing I loath into a habit.

Creating A New Habit

  • Tell other people I am going to do this…Check!
  • Reduce Decisions:
    • the 4 mile loop means I don’t have to decide my distance (or wimp out by going a shorter length)
    • the loop means I know my route and don’t have to make any decisions on when to turn and where to turn, again helping avoid wimping out and taking short cuts
  • Be dressed in workout gear in morning or ASAP after work
  • When I don’t want to – do it anyway. Slow is better than nothing.
  • When I want to quit – take each sidewalk square at a time! Every little bit counts
  • Remember, rate is more important than intensity to start
  • And use both my Runkeeper app and my habit tracker to track my journey

I figure that I have never, well since B.M. (before marriage), run regularly so if I do start to run regularly, this has a possibility of really helping me improve my health, no matter how slow my pace might be right now. Slow is better than, well, the couch.

Maybe we can check in with each other in a year or so and see if I can’t improve my speed or distance, but for now, I’ll be “jogging” and I’ll be OK with that, actually, I’ll be pretty proud. But if I see Jay Diener, dude, I’m gonna keep up! I’m not letting him slip ahead of me again! Just don’t greet me at that finish line; you’ll need to give me a minute.

Me after this morning’s jog. You: you should have smiled. Me: I WAS smiling.

 


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