Took a Chi Running class on Saturday. The thought was to
learn a technique that will help alleviate injury possibilities. A good
seminar, but again humbling. Not because of the Chi Running, but because of the
I was one of three students. The other two were guys—one of
whom ran a 5K in 18 minutes. I would be thrilled with a time twice that. We
were filmed at the beginning, middle and end of the day for progress reports.
Watching the film at the end of the day, I was struck. I own
that spandex isn’t my best fashion option (though crucial for chub rub
prevention). Makeup before a run isn’t a great idea, so I go bare faced. I was
prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for is watching an old lady mince
along. And that’s what I saw. Arms out of shape (Michelle Obama has raised the
bar on that front, hasn’t she?), hunched over taking small graceless steps. I
am so afraid of getting injured I don’t risk getting injured. I play it safe.
Talk about life metaphors.
I keep saying that my goal is to finish this race. But let’s
face it—I could walk the 13.1 miles. Adding yoga, strength training to my
training. Also adding a time goal of around 3 hours. I need to get my sexy
back. I need to stand up straight, run and find the joy.
The perfect storm that was this past spring (weight gain
over the winter, lethargy and feeling a little blue) inspired me to try to run
a half marathon. My ex-grad assistant Julie has become a marathonaholic, and
was supportive and encouraging (as is her tendency) and suggested her running
group, BostonFit. I signed up (something about a registration fee that helps
with commitment) and showed up the first week. We ran 2 miles (since I am doing
the half it wasn’t a pace run), and I thought I was going to die. Literally, my
lungs burned, shoulders hurt, legs screamed, you name it. But the coach hung
back with me, encouraging and supportive. “I won’t always run with you, but I’ll
always wait for you at the end.” And so I went back the next week. And I’ve
been keeping up with the runs all summer.
This first blog post was going to be about this effort, and
how humbling but inspiring it has been so far. How I’ve been getting better,
but still run at the back of the pack. How hard it is for someone who is
usually good at what she tries to come in second to last in her first race. And
how despite that auspicious finish, the medal I “won” is one of my proudest talismans.
And how hitting the 100 mile mark for
training (Nike plus tallies since June) and having Lance come on my iPod and congratulate
me on my longest run so far (9 miles) on the same day was a huge moment. And on
this up note I was going to conclude.
But, with no small amount of irony, running has humbled me
again. I bought some new running shoes and was trying them out this AM, for my
scheduled ˝ hour run. The shoes are lighter, fit well and are fabulously pink, and I
was running pretty fast (fast for me is around 12 minute/mile. I am a John
Bingham apostle.) And I tripped. And wiped out. Got a cut on my nose. Both knees
skinned and sore (and swollen by the end of the day). My elbow is trashed—skinned
with a huge bloody cut. Nothing is broken (I don’t think), but as the day wore
on, everything started to ache.
This is hard. But I will keep moving forward, and run the
half marathon on October 11. And aspire to use the lessons I have learned in
other areas of my life, including my writing. Hopefully the blog will help with
that as well.