A Non-Runner’s Runner

Though I don’t regularly post to the blog, I haven’t given up on completing my to-do list, which includes:

#63. Become a runner

It’s a goal that I keep coming back to time and time again.

Earlier this year, my bff asked me to join her for a run after school.  She had an extra jogging stroller, and it would be a great way to get in some socializing, exercising, and kiddo time all at the same time.  I was coming off a nagging sciatic injury, and she was suffering through knee problems.  We both couldn’t run far, couldn’t run up or down hills, and loved to talk (which doesn’t suit well with panting).  Match made in heaven.

Then her knee issues got worse, which eventually lead to double knee surgery.  My sciatic issues, which was caused piriformis syndrome (aka my big butt made my leg hurt), actually got better.  Basically, she was out for months, and I had no excuse to stop exercising.  I returned to the gym, but it just wasn’t the same.  The place I once found comfort in 4-5 days a week felt so closed and lonely.  I missed the outside.  I missed the company.  I missed the challenge.  Suddenly the machines that kept me energized and fit for five years felt like prison.

So one day, I got up the courage to run outside by myself.

Okay, I know that might seem weird. I mean, I’m so brazen.  Why would something as innate as running scare me? Our prehistoric ancestors ran.  Toddlers run (sort of).  Dogs run.  Everyone knows how to run, right?  I was intimidated by the other runners.  I was afraid that would know that I wasn’t one of them.

What to know the truth?  They probably do know.

I’m pretty slow.  When running, I run about a 9 minute mile.  Wait, that seems fast.  Well, it is fast until you realize that I can’t really run a full mile without stopping to walk for a bit.  Combined walking/running, I have a pace of 12 minute mile.  If you ask any non-runner, that’s fast.  They’re usually impressed that I try to run 5k three times a week.

Real runners run a 7 minute mile, without stopping, for miles and miles.  I have one friend that runs about 80 miles a week. WTF, right? Yeah. She’s not even my fastest friend. (Full disclosure - my fastest friend use to run professionally and completed in the Olympic trials after having her third child.  Again, WTF.)

Here’s the thing I’ve figured out.  To non-runners, I’m a runner.  They’re impressed.  To runners? Well, they know I’m not the fastest gal and I probably won’t (and shouldn’t) join their running club.  But this is the thing - “real” runners don’t care or judge me.  In fact, they are incredibly encouraging and always really helpful.

So despite the fact I’ll never be a competitive runner, I’m going to keep going.  In fact, I’ve signed up for my first race - a 5k in August that supports Down’s Syndrome.  After that race,  I’m going to cross number 63 off my to-do list.