I’ve always struggled as a runner. I think it started way back in public school when all students were forced to participate in the Canada Fitness Tests. This involved a series of “challenges” including chin ups, rope climbing, sit ups and the most horrible of all…..the endurance run! It was probably only a few measly laps around the school track but I dreaded that freakin’ run every year like the plague. I was that kid who would complain of a cramp or a sore muscle and start walking half way through and then limp across the finish line long after everyone else had completed.
That early exposure to running convinced me that I was not cut out be a runner. It was painful, it was unpleasant and I just didn’t like it. Period. End of story.
But then when I was in my early 20’s, I lived with my aunt and uncle for a year and my uncle was (and still is) an avid runner. In his very gentle way, he convinced me to read a book on learning to run and my aunt and I gave it a try (run 1 minute, walk 2 minute- run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute – all the way until we were running 10 minutes straight). Shortly after, I joined a running clinic at the Running Room and before I knew it my sister and I were signed up for a half marathon.
That led to several years of training and 9 half marathons completed. Did I ever love running? Heck no! Was I quite likely the slowest runner on each course? Heck yes! But I shuffled along and did the training and collected my t-shirts and medals until I decided a few years back to take a running break. I told myself it was “better for my knees” and that “my boobs would get too saggy” if I kept running. Honestly it just wasn’t bringing me any joy. So I joined a power walking group, I signed up for a boot camp class and I took up yoga and pilates – and I didn’t miss running. Not. One. Little. Bit.
But this past winter was a doozy here in Southern Ontario and in an effort to keep ourselves somewhat active, my hubby and I rented a treadmill from Easy Fitness. I’d put my little guy down for a nap and pound out a few kilometers….mostly walking in the beginning and then running until I was up to 5km or so. And this spring I decided to park all of my lame-o excuses and take my running to the streets.
Is it still hard? Yes! Am I still painfully slow? Yes! But my amazing new running buddy is making my workouts much more enjoyable. I’ve certainly had my fair share of run pals in the past (Jodi, Christianne, Melanie, Tammy) but I’ve got to say this new guy is my favourite hands down. He never says things like “why don’t we pick up the pace a little?” or “let’s sprint to the next lamp-post!” or “holy crap you are slow today!”. He’s happy just to be out – just to be spending time with me. My floppy boobs and wheezing don’t bother him at all….in fact he doesn’t say a word as we shuffle through the streets in the early morning hours.
Ok yes he’s a dog. My little Scooby Doo…all 22 pounds of him.
And to be perfectly honest – he never actually breaks into a run…he just walks slightly faster than normal.