today’s run, running memories

I didn’t quite make my 25-minute goal, but I still had a great run. My longest “nonstop” run was 12.5 minutes, with a total of 35 minutes of running and walking. It still felt good.

I’m fighting a LOT of mental energy. It’s just really hard to see myself as a runner and to see myself as capable of running for 10, 20, or 30 minutes. I know that sound silly and whiny- I mean, the mental part should be the easiest, right? But for me it seems like the mental part is the hardest.

I place a lot of the blame on my old P.E. teachers. I still have a vivid memory of my freshman year of high school, which was the last time I took a PE class. If you’ve taken a PE class in the last 20 years, then you know about “the mile”, presidential physical fitness tests, and so forth. I have NEVER been the athletic one. In school, I was the academic student, NOT the athlete. At the end of my freshman year of high school we had to do all these physical fitness tests. Now with all the exercise I had done that year (due to PE), I was in remarkably good condition, so I decided to make a challenge to myself: For the first time in my life, I was going run the mile without any walking. It was HARD. I had to really push myself. But as I ran around the last curve and approached the “finish line” I was bursting with pride and happiness. I did it! But I’ll never forget my PE teacher’s words:

“Time, 11:00 exactly. You’re the last one to get finished. Slowest in the class.”

It took me nearly 12 years before I had the courage to attempt to run again.

I’m still not a fast runner. But I WILL run. I will run a 5k. After that, maybe I will run farther. I will not stop. I can do this.

why I run

I don’t know why I started running.

Scratch that. I know why I started running, but I don’t think I can put it into words.

Some of it is the “traditional” stuff. I needed to lose weight and to be fit. I’d been swimming pretty consistently for about a year, a feat of which I’m very proud, but I was starting to burn out. I didn’t want to come to a place where I would burn out on exercising entirely, so I knew I needed to try something else.

Part of it is my own desire for an accomplishment. I still have vivid memories of being the last kid to finish running in PE as a child. I’ve never been a runner. I thought it would be pretty cool to finish a race (like a 5k), because then I could call myself a runner.

But I think the biggest reason I began running is to give me something that I could do myself. That sounds like mumbo-jumbo, and it doesn’t really explain the way I felt. A lot of changes were happening my life, very unexpected changes, and all happening at once. I was dealing with a lot. I was struggling all over again to find my place in life. I needed something that could be mine.

So I ran.

challenging run

Today’s run was only so so. Running is soooo mental. At about the five-minute mark (ten minutes if you count the warm up), my body just screams at me to slow down. My muscles are tired (though not overly so) and my heart and lungs are working hard. Surely all the other runners out there can relate to this. At that point it’s just totally mental! It’s your mind choosing to run even though your body doesn’t want to.

I have never been a runner. In school, I was the kid who finished last, who was picked last, who was the least athletic of the class. I was NOT the kid who played a sport or who did anything athletic whatsoever. So it’s just this huge wall for me to get over. It’s so hard for me to push through that, and so far I haven’t succeeded too often. It feels good when I do but it hasn’t happened much. Yet.

Today I maxed out at 5-minute intervals. A good run but much less than two days ago, and much less than I hoped for earlier this week.

pb: personal best!

I began running about three and a half months ago, with a major break over the summer during a long vacation.

I’ve been blogging for over five years.

It’s only natural that I combine the two.

What better way to begin a blog about running than with a personal best?

Today I ran for 18 minutes at 4.8mph, plus a 5 minute warmup and 7 minute cool down at 3mph (on a treadmill), totaling 30 minutes and almost 2.5 miles.

I have never before in my life run that far or that long.