Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"She's so high, high above me; she's so lovely..."

I am not sure why I title all my posts with song titles or lyrics. I think I missed my calling as a singer/songwriter. Of course, I can't sing. So there's that.

Anyway, those lyrics are in my head, because I'm on a runner's high right now. And I had to write this blog to thank all of my friends who are runners -- you know who you are -- for inspiring me to push myself and run.

Here's the thing with me and running. I have always hated it. My favorite thing to say when asked if I run was, "Only if someone's chasing me." It hurt my knees. It hurt my shins. It made anything in my stomach slosh around and find it's way back to my esophagus. It hurt my freaking teeth. I had always accepted that I'd never be a runner.

Then something happened. Well, a lot of things happened. I hit my thirties. My metabolism slowed down. My mid section started to take up more room. None of this made me happy. Then I took a really awesome inversion workshop with a really amazing instructor (shout out to John Vitarelli -- take his class at Yogawood -- he rules!), and I realized that part of the reason I have trouble with inversions is that I have poor core strength. And part of the reason I have poor core strength is that I have some excess belly fat. And part of the reason for that is that I totally do not do enough cardio. Cuz it's boring. And I hate it.

So. The goal then became: find cardio that is fun. So in the summer, there was tennis, but the trouble with that is you need a partner. I thought about joining a league, but that costs money. I have no money. And then there was biking. I bought a bike. But to get super serious about biking enough that I could drop a few pounds, I'd have to have a better bike that I could race and stuff. And there are really no hills in South Jersey, and biking is not that hard with no hills. So then it was back to cardio at the gym. Elliptical. Boring. And my body is used to it. And for some reason, with all of those activities (with the exception of tennis, which involves what?...running), my heart rate never seems to elevate enough. My heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature have always been on the low side. I guess I'm a metabolic underachiever.

A few weeks ago, I was at my parent's house, and I was going to go to their basement to use the treadmill, but it was so nice outside, I decided to throw on my mp3 player and walk outside. But again, I cannot seem to walk fast enough to really get my heart rate up to the point the I feel like I'm working. So I started to run. And I almost died. I was alternating running and walking and all the while cursing the pavement, my feet, my body, the hot sun, the people out running who didn't look like they were going to die. I lasted about 20 minutes. The next day, my shins hurt so badly that I could barely walk.

I consulted my runner friends. Was this normal? Or was my body seriously just not designed for running? My wise, wise friends pointed out that maybe after pretty much a lifetime of not running unless it involved chasing a ball or being chased by a predator, throwing myself full force into a run without even wearing the proper shoes was not the most well thought out idea. And then it occured to me...that is how I had always approached running. I had always expected myself to be able to run full force for miles, even if I hadn't run in years. Or ever, really. I let my ego get in the way of my progress.

Armed with this newfound sage wisdom, I printed a training program from runnersworld.com. I invested in a decent pair of shoes and a decent sports bra. (This is another reason running started to look enticing...it's relatively cheap. All you need are decent shoes and, if you're like me and God gave with both hands in the boob department, a bra that will keep you from knocking yourself unconscious.)

The next day, I hit the pavement again. The first phase of the program was pretty simple. Run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes. And I did it. And the next day, my shins didn't hurt. Much. I am still on that phase of the program. I can't follow it as strictly as I'd like, because yoga training takes up too many of the days. So it will take me longer than the 8 weeks the program is designed for to reach the ultimate goal -- running 2 miles in roughly 30 minutes.

I may never reach that goal. Time will tell. But I am proud of myself. I'm proud of myself for trying something that I never thought I could do. I'm proud that I'm challenging myself. And I doubt I would ever have done it without such wonderful, inspirational friends. To all my runner friends -- Jamie, Sharon, Dave, Bethy -- you inspire me. The light in me salutes the light in you!

Namaste. Peace. Love. Cardio.


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