Thursday, April 21, 2011

R Is For Running Rampant

Back in high school, I don’t remember which year, I succumbed to peer pressure.

Don’t worry, mom. I didn’t do drugs. I didn’t drink. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t skip class. Much anyway.

I joined the track team.

All my friends were doing it. They lured me in by telling me how cool it was, how cool it would make me…well, I don’t think they actually said that last part (they knew I was pretty much a lost cause in the coolness department) but I’m pretty sure it was implied and so I caved and became a member of the track team.

My friends were big runners. They’d been on the track teams (indoor, outdoor and cross country) for years and the only running I did was either for the bus or the forced laps the PE teachers made us do around the gym every class. The best time ever was that time I broke my toe. The gym teachers were still going to make me run so I came to class the next day with a multi paged (yes, seriously) letter from my mother which memorably contained the line “My daughter does NOT need to be repeatedly slamming her broken toe against the hard gym floor!” Underline, underline. Needless to say, by the time the teachers finished reading my mother’s dissertation, I didn’t have to run. Ever again, if I wanted.

I heart my mom.

But I did run again. One of my friends also had special permission to not run on the hard gym floor. She ran outside on school grounds for ten to fifteen minutes and then came back to rejoin the rest of class. Occasionally, she brought another student with her. Once, she asked me. I think that day she was probably feeling particularly desperate because she had never asked me before (and never again, as it turned out). I was excited because I thought it meant we would run out of sight of the gym and then hang out for ten to fifteen minutes before returning to class.

We didn’t.

This friend went on to kick ass and take names at the Air Force Academy and become a hard core board certified surgeon. I went on to fold jeans for a living. Coincidence? I think not.

But yeah. Those bad influence friends of mine eventually got me on the track team. I ran sprints because they were fast and the race was over quickly. I usually only ran the 100 meter dash and maybe the occasional relay because I was that Not. Into. It. And since I was a clueless awkward teenager (who grew into a clueless awkward adult--I’ve always liked symmetry), I never learned to run properly.

Shin splints are a real bitch.

Now every spring for the past few years, I develop a deep urge to run. I’d like to be one of those serious (or semi serious) runners and so every spring I lace up the crappy running shoes I bought for $10 at Payless and try to run around the neighborhood. I then spent the next few days crying over how badly my shins hurt.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Shin splints are a real bitch.

I really need better running shoes.

The last time I was teaching, I tried running. The school was (and is) filled with hardcore outdoors men and women. They’re the sort who run marathons for fun. I was the one who crapped out on the half mile loop around her neighborhood and then spent three days rolling around the school building in her rolling chair because her shins hurt too much to walk. Of course, I was also the one who had to contribute the chair thing to laziness because I didn’t want to admit I had crapped out on the half mile loop around my neighborhood.

So go figure that back in January, when I set my yearly goals, I set one saying the following:

Train to run a 5K. I don’t necessarily want to run a 5K but I’d like to know I’m capable of running a 5K.

I blame this goal on the seriously insane amount of white wine I drank on New Year’s Eve (You'd think the New Year's Day hangover would've been enough to discourage that goal but it wasn't). But since the goal was set and published on this blog , I am determined to accomplish it because I hate not accomplishing my yearly goals.

I haven't done much work on it yet. Blame the snow and ice-- yeah, that's it. The snow and ice. Between January and now, I have mostly run around my house once or twice a week. It’s not really getting me anywhere. So I did a Google search on training for a 5k and found this site:

The Couch to 5K Plan

This is a three day a week plan that claims it'll have me running 5Ks in two months. I'm planning on starting this in earnest come May (or maybe June) so I should be able to run a 5K by July (or possibly August). Wonder how it'll work out. Considering my track record where running's concerned (yes, pun intended), I'm sure it'll be a rousing success.

I'll be sure to keep you posted on my progress because I know you'll be on the edge of your seat for this one.


  1. Ohh I will totally do a May Running Challenge with you! I wanted to run a 10k but when I researched it I needed 8 weeks to prepare properly and the 10k was in 3, so that didn't pan out. But there are several 5ks in my area throughout the summer/early fall and I would love to do them!!

    This site helps me track stuff (although I haven't been using it as much as I should). Check it out:

    If you sign up let me know: I am listed Bonnie L. on the site =)

  2. As a very off-and-on never hard-core runner who is married to one of those people who runs marathons for fun, I loved this post, especially the part about the hard-core surgeon and the jean folding - one of my special talents :) Good luck with your program - I hope you do the 5K just so you can know you did it and have bragging rights for eternity :)

  3. Oh this post reminded me of my hubby. He's obsessed with running but has an injured muscle and is taking a week off. Let me say - a week away from running is going to make his head explode LOL. Good luck, I'll check back in to see how you're doing!

  4. Good luck. I'm not a runner, I don't have much msucle density and so the running jars my spine too much, but I like to walk. :O)

  5. You know what may help you get moving? Justin Bieber songs on your iPod. *snark*

  6. I'm totally inspired now. I ran track one year, my freshman year. I ran the two mile. Distance was my gift. Now I want to get out and run again. Thanks!

  7. @Christa- I'm not sure if the Bieb on my iPod would get me moving but it would definitely get me to throw my iPod in the river. Of course, I would have to get moving to get to the river so yeah, maybe I should try that. =)

    @Stephen- Two're pretty close to a 5k there.

  8. Never a sportsman, running was the only sporty thing I could do, plus it didn't involve having the rest of the team hating you when they all get mega competitive and you mess up.
    Its fair to say I don't have a single competitive bone in my body ! But being 6'1" what bones I do have are long ! I too decided I would run this year and here I am in April like you having done nothing about it. Your post has inspired me to bring the training forward from July to June ;)


  9. I get the occasional urge to run but I never listen. I prefer biking. It does remind me of when I was in track in high school. I enjoyed it but quit because of dissections in biology that I didn't want to do alone because I missed it for track. (As you can see, I had my priorities in order - that's sarcasm by the way.)

  10. I love to run, but have BAD knees from being a wannabe runner in high school...
    I still would LIKE to think of myself as a runner, but I'm not. Instead I do long walks 3-5 miles or so, with music and that's how I keep the writing rolling... It just seems so grandma like... no offense to grandma's.
    So, there it is.
    Good luck with your 5K. I think you're crazy :D

  11. I have the mp3 downloads for the couch to 5k on my computer. I tried playing them while I ran/walked in circles around the living room because I couldn't do it til Jupiter fell asleep and by then it was dark outside and I couldn't leave Jupiter home alone to go running around the neighborhood. So so far, the plan hasn't worked. But I don't think it's a flaw in the plan. I hear from others it works very well. So the flaw was in my methods, I think.

  12. I joined the cross country running and skiing team because my friend said it would be fun. uhh..sure. Like you, I also get this insane urge to run somewhere as the weather warms up, make it 1/10 of a mile and I'm over it. I might check out that couch to 5k plan. Maybe I can do it...

  13. Your posts make me smile. And laugh!

    My magic eight ball makes all my decisions for me.

    Haha - um, yeah - I have quandries with decision-making too. But with writing - my biggest one right now is which project do I start next. You know - after I finish the one I'm working on. I think it will be which ever is clearest in my head, maybe? We'll see.

    Good luck with those decisions!

  14. Good luck! I'm in awe of runners. Me, I did more of the drugs/drinking/smoking/skipping class stuff. And now I pay for it. Sigh.

  15. I am not a runner at all, but I admire people who do it. Good luck with your training!

  16. I joined the track team because one of the guys was flirty and smokin' hot. By the end of the season, we (me, my teammates, Mr. Smokin Hot, and the coach) decided I was the best cheerleader our team ever had. Worst long jumper EVER, but man, was I awesome at telling people they were awesome. :)

    Great post! Good luck on your 5K.

    Marie at the Cheetah