On the top of Master-To-Do List [a list you will no doubt hear more about in time], it reads “Become a Runner.” Apparently, when I was making this list of things to master, running was on my mind, and I believe that I am well on my way.
When this whole “wanting to run” thing started, I was very good at “fast” walking everyday. I usually walked 3 miles a day, give or take, and I really enjoyed the time I spent outdoors getting a little cardio, clearing my mind of stress, and being able to get some quality alone time in. But I wanted something more.
My friend Laura (becomingtheoddduck.blogspot.com) had decided to become a runner too. And I was impressed. And jealous. And in mid-July I decided that I was going to follow her lead, her suggestion, and her coaching (via long-distance) and get my butt to run!
This morning, I got an email from my dear friend Joe. Joe is a decathlete and to put it into perspective, my friend Chelsea refers to him as “Joe who runs fast” when he comes up in conversation. So, when Joe asked me how I was doing, I found it a good time to discuss some running concerns I have.
[for the record; my dad once commented that it’s “not fair” that I have a Joe to go to with running questions, when regular people just have to run without an expert to seek advice from. My dad was also in rare form that night, and basically just making fun of me, but alas, I know I am lucky.]
Then, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, www.healthyashley.com . Ashley posted about her ‘Journey to Runner’. And with each sentence of hers that I read, I found myself nodding along, and even letting the occasional “yeah!” past my lips.
Like Ashley, when I first started running, I thought I wasn’t a runner. And even though it was a goal in front of me, I never thought I would be a runner. But lately, I’ve been thinking about my becoming a runner.
I want to call myself a “Runner” with a capital R- I just don’t know if I’m there yet. Perhaps I’m a runner, small-r style. I have this debate, usually while I’m on the trail. I usually run on a local trail that stretches 40 miles. The beginning of the trail is about a mile from my apartment, which gives a nice warm up walk before I start my jogging intervals. Then, depending on my work out for the day, I move along the trail, keeping watch of the spray painted markers every ¼ of a mile. (Laura recently suggested I need a Road ID so that I can do distance intervals without the spray painted markers.)
I am slow. But determined. My goal is to increase in total distance I can run without stopping by ½ mile each week. (this will be put to the test on Saturday, when I try to increase from 1 mile to 1 ½ miles. Eek!)
Like Ashley, I have a love/hate relationship with running. Sometimes all I can think about is running. Sometimes I dread it, but make myself go anyway. Sometimes I think, “I should just quit.” Sometimes I start out wanting to do intervals for 3 miles, and end up doing 10. (ok. This was just one time. And it was mostly walking. Especially near the end, there.)
Like Ashley, I too started my 5K training (wanting to run a 5K is what started this entire wanting to run thing) with the Couch-to-5K plan. But, after week 4, I decided JUST TO RUN and I’ve never looked back. Sometimes, I run my own interval plans for pace. Sometimes, I run my own interval plans for endurance. Sometimes, I run my own interval plans for speed. For I am determined to master pace, endurance, and speed.
That desire for mastery along with the fact that I am logging 10-15 miles a week on the trail with at least 50% of the time running, leads me to believe that maybe I am a runner. Sure, I’m not a fast runner. But I am a runner. And perhaps my goal is not to become a Runner, but a distance runner. For you already know my desires to run a race in each state, and eventually complete some marathons.
I think about where I am now to where I was a few months ago – the longest I could run on a treadmill was .5 of a mile in a little under 8 minutes. Now I can run a mile in 10:30, and I’m moving on to farther distances, longer runs, and better stride.
I am thankful for fitness role models who keep me pushing through, even on days I don’t want to run. Even when my legs feel like jello. And the same people I have to thank when I feel stronger, more flexible, and more alive than ever before. People like Joe, and Laura, and Stef, and Ashley. And all of the running bloggers I read each day.
I’m thankful that I’ve set these goals and are meeting them and will continue to meet them for the rest of my life. Ashley struggled with running a mile two years ago, and today she is training for her first marathon this January. I can’t wait to see how far I’m able to come in two years. How many miles I will be able to say I ran. How many states I’ve crossed off my list.
And if I call myself Runner.