Let me tell you about my relationship with running.
As a little girl, I ran around. Of course I did. All kids do. I ran, I biked, I climbed, I took ballet classes a couple times a week; I did all the things an active child of the ’80s did.
As I transitioned from youth to teen, however, my activity dwindled. I spent more time inside and moving less. I lived inside my mind, and I had no need to go out into nature, thank you very much.
Gym classes were torture. I pretty much sucked at all traditional sports (except gymnastics, I was okay at that), but Track and Field was a special kind of hell. I couldn’t run around the track even once. Walk? Oh yeah, all day long. But run? Nope.
Secretly, I was jealous of all those kids who could race around it like it was no big deal. How did they do that? I mean, even the non-sporty kids managed it. But not me.
I was one of the two or three nerds bitching and complaining as they bumbled through a quarter mile.
Things did not improve from there.
I was largely inactive through college and my first “real” job. Eventually, I took up walking. I had two routes (regular weekday and extended weekend) that I walked consistently six days a week. That, along with Weight Watchers, helped me lose forty pounds.
I was a happy walker. It was my exercise of choice for many, many years. Once I made the shift from office worker to massage therapist, I discovered that my odds hours made it tough to walk regularly. So, I stopped walking except on weekends and days off.
Fast-forward to two years ago, November. I stepped foot in a dojo for the first time in my life. I wasn’t the only middle-aged, pudgy, out-of-shape woman there. I was, however, one of the few that stuck it out. For the first few beginner belts, my main goal was just to keep up with the class and maybe stop doing push-ups from the knees and start doing push-ups from the toes.
Once I graduated from beginner to intermediate belts, I realized a couple things. This wasn’t a lark anymore. It started out a fun way to move, but became so much more. There were solid, challenging goals I could reach for (hello, brown belt). I also realized that I hadn’t been physically ready for the demands of my blue belt test. That test pushed me to my physical limits, and it was too much.
At the time, my physical fitness levels were too low to allow me to pass a brown belt test.
I spoke with one of the senseis and asked what I could do to start preparing myself. Running was one of the answers. It would help be build stamina, and also help strengthen my lung capacity.
So, because I wanted a brown belt, I started Couch to 5k on a treadmill. In February.
It’s been a long road since February. Between illnesses, a busy life, and the fact that I just don’t like running, I haven’t gotten very far.
Yesterday I had time and it was a beautiful fall morning. I decided to push myself. I’d been lingering at 1.75 miles run/1.25 walked for a while and I was sick of it. I intended to try and run two miles. However, I hit the wrong session on my phone and I ended up running 2.5 miles yesterday.
Me. Little Miss Complains about a Quarter Mile Track Loop. I ran 2.5 miles.
Never, in my life, before yesterday.
Do I still dislike running? Yeah. Do I like the feeling of accomplishment I got from doing this anyway? Oh hells yeah. And this progress off the mat is helping me on the mat, too. My stamina has improved, even if my push-ups really haven’t.
Running is a means to an end for me. I’m never going to run a marathon or even a half-marathon. I have no desire to, and that’s okay. However, I can see myself signing up for a 5k next year. Just to say I did it.
Because that is one more stop on my Road to Brown Belt, and it’s a detour worth taking.