Saturday, August 13, 2011

Confessions of a Non-Runner

So, I don't really run. But I feel like I should because everyone is doing it. Well, not everyone, but you know what I mean. Okay, let's start at the beginning.

In high school I was in shape. I played Volleyball. I could run sprints. I ran an 8 minute mile. I felt pretty good. And then I went to college and my physical activity went down a notch, but not too badly. Most importantly, my self-esteem about my athletic abilities did not budge an inch. I watched Fear Factor and thought, I could totally do that. (Unless it was a swimming challenge, because let's face it—I have always sucked at swimming.) But I considered myself to be able to do whatever I could do, back in the day. Crunches, no problem...just tell me when to stop. Flexed arm hang...what's the big deal? I could climb a rope to the top, and do squats without blinking.

But the old adage, If you don't use it, you lose it, is still true. Except, that I was NOT using it so much, that I didn't even have a chance to see that it was gone. Even after having five kids, I still figured that if I had to do something physical, I probably could. I mean, people are always running these 5ks. I could do that. Probably.

Add in the fact that Tyler now does the layout for a running magazine. I am constantly hearing all these articles about running. Some about super-moms who run. Others about where to run and how to run. I have been bombarded by running. I figured now was the time to prove that I've still got it.

So, the other evening, I told Tyler that I was going to run a mile in the morning. I don't think he laughed out loud, but he might have smirked for a very long time. I planned my route, and told him to time me. And perhaps, by now I was maybe coming to terms with the fact that I hadn't done this in a very long time, and that there was a slight chance that I would need to walk. A little.

I walked. A little lot. I came home totally winded and gasped as I came through the door. "I may be skinny, but I am NOT in shape." So not in shape, that on several mornings I have had asthma-like wheezing after coming back from my measly mile. I say several mornings, but I have only ran five times in two weeks. I am working my way up. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am not a runner, and definitely not even close to the person I was 15 years ago.

But, I can be strong again. I can bring my time down and maybe even add another mile in there. (In a month or two.) And perhaps, one of these days, I will run a 5k and really be able to, instead of saying that I could. Because right now, I couldn't.

So I ask those of you who actually run (instead of thinking they can), what is a good mile time? What should I be working for? That first day I ran/trudged a mile in 12:50. I was not impressed. Today, I did it in 10:48. I still have a ways to go, but what should I be gunning for? Do I hope to get back down to an 8 minute mile? Is that even reasonable at my age and laziness? A friend of mine was trying to finish a 5k in under half an hour, so I'm assuming I would have to get my mile time to under 10 minutes, right?

Anyway, it is very slow going at the moment, but make me accountable. I need to earn back a little respect for myself.


Cecilia said...

Maleen, you are doing awesome! Start jogging slow and monitoring your breath: in through the nose, out from the mouth. Focus on how far you can go, not how fast. That will pick up with time. The first 2 weeks are the toughest, then it gets to be relaxing and enjoyable, I promise :)

meganmushrat said...

RUN???!!!! FOR A WHOLE MILE???!!!! Honey, I can barely walk for a whole block. Ten minutes on the Wii and my legs ache for days. However, if you really want to feel humiliated, take one of the girls with you. I can remember trying to 'walk' with you when you were a kid, and as I panted along, you would run ahead and then run back to cheerily chat with me. Hmmm - I wonder how far I could get in 8 minutes. The mailbox?

Emma Jo said...

Impressed! I totally have a love hate relationship with running. It is so satisfying but sometimes I just hate it so much. Run a 5K, get a t shirt. It will be totally worth it. I say anything 10 minutes or under is impressive (especially for a mom of 5!)

¡Vieve! said...

That's a good mile to have already - great job! I'm so excited you're going to start running! My advice is just to keep with it - don't give up and get discouraged. To me, an 8-minute mile is pretty fast, I don't think I'm a very fast runner. When you're up to it, we should do a 5K once!

Suzie Petunia said...

All I can say is "YOU CAN DO IT!" I need a running partner these days. Too bad we don't live close. Keep at it!