I am not a runner.

“If you boat a lot, you’re known as a boating enthusiast. I like to boat, but I just don’t want to ever be referred to as a ‘boating enthusiast.’ I hope they call me ‘a guy who likes to boat’.” — Mitch Hedberg

I am not a runner.

But I run.

For two years, I tried to run. People had great success with Couch to 5k. People assured me that ANYONE can run.

For the first week of  Couch to 5k, you run sixty seconds and then walk for two minutes. I couldn’t run 30 seconds without my heart rate blasting to 190, and I’d been going to the gym fairly steadily for a few years.

Trainers wouldn’t touch me. Doctors checked me out. No one could tell me what was wrong.

Last February, I got pissed off and tore out of my house, down the greenway, on a Tuesday afternoon, and completed the first run of Couch to 5k. I thought I might have a heart attack or pass out. I had a headache after and felt lightheaded.

Two days later, I did it again.

I managed to finish the first three weeks of the program before getting sick and having to stop for a few weeks. I started back with similar results in May, ending up on antibiotics and finally seeing a physical therapist to help me get some mobility back after the meds wrecked my joints.

In August, I started again. I had to repeat several weeks of the program.

In October, I ran my first continuous mile.

I finished Couch to 5k, a nine-week program, in 13 weeks.

I’ve mostly stuck with it. On a good week, I run three mornings. On a bad week, I run once or twice.

Since I started running regularly, I’ve lost seven pounds without really trying. My body shape has changed. My asthma has gotten much better. I’m getting regular sunshine and my energy and productivity have improved.

But it’s not always great. Sometimes a muscle around my pelvis hurts so bad I stop short. Some days I’m wheezy. Some days I run ten minutes tops and walk the rest of the way, angry I couldn’t do better.

But every day I’m out there, I’m passing the version of me who sat on the couch or cursed the elliptical machine for not helping her get into shape. I’m passing the girl who said she couldn’t run. I’m grabbing by the hand the kid who was always out of shape and couldn’t run “because she was fat,” who sat out recess and finished her laps walking, ashamed, not knowing she just had exercise-induced asthma. (Oh the things we discover in our late twenties.)

But I’m not a runner.

I have friends who are runners, who offer to run my first race with me. I have no desire to run a race. I’m not into competing. I fundamentally don’t understand the desire to race, and that’s okay. I know some people need them for training goals, and some thrive on the competition or the accomplishment. (Or maybe they are just insane, like one of my BFFs who is prepping for his second IronMan [I say that out of love, and we’re both insane.].)

I just want to improve. I got a Garmin Forerunner for Christmas from Mr. B to help me track my heart rate and mileage. The app on my phone, RunDouble, has worked for my purposes until this point, but the GPS is a little off and I’d like to know how fast and far I’m running. (I already the answer is slowly and not very, respectively.)

The Garmin might make me feel like a runner but for the fact that I am having a devil of a time setting up and using it.

I still have to drag my ass out of bed to run. I still have bad days of it. It’s been a week since my last run. I still get angry at my body from time to time, but mostly I am thankful that for now, my body is letting me run.

I’m definitely not a running enthusiast. I’m not a runner.

But I run.

4 Responses

  1. I am not a runner. Not at all. I’ve tried and failed many times. Your post almost makes me want to try again. That’s sayin’ a lot!

  2. TheBitsch says:

    Do iiiit. My twice-broken tailbone actually appreciates it. (You can get some muscles working that will hold that freefloating bastard in place. :) ) Start slow and we’ll trade stories of how *&^%$#@ clumsy we are.

  3. Thanks for writing this KB, it’s always inspiring to read an honest post like this about struggling with, and overcoming, challenges. And for what it’s worth, you ARE a runner–by my definition at least. Keep going.

    Dan @ Casual Kitchen

  4. TheBitsch says:

    Thank you for your encouragement! I started using a Garmin to track… my pace is atrocious and my heart rate is still around 190, but I tell myself that I’m moving far faster than if I were sitting on my butt. :)

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