Hey all – I have a little confession to make, I was out of town all last week. I didn’t say anything because don’t like announcing that I am leaving my house all empty and abandoned out here on the interwebs. So, while I was traveling I wrote some simple posts on things I had been thinking about for awhile and kept things short and light. Now that I am back at my keyboard, I’ve got all sorts of things to write about! The first is: running.
The week before last, I finally got all the basic gear I needed to start: shoes, sports bra, light weight running clothes, and a light jacket. My plan was to get everything together so that when I got back from my sales trip, I was ready to go. I ended up actually starting a little earlier than that! Here’s the scoop:
What the heck is a half a run? Well, they are ones that aren’t exactly planned. Last Saturday I was packing up for the trip and I wanted to pick up some road snacks from our local organic market. As I was getting ready to go, I looked at my pretty, new running shoes sitting there waiting to be worn. Here’s the thing with me – I am a saver. I like to eat the best bite last, as a kid I could make Halloween chocolate last almost to Christmas, I’ve been known to buy bath products and store them for a rainy day so long that I have moved and no longer have a bathtub. See, that is the problem with saving – I always think I am getting a bonus later, but sometimes I wait so long that the thing isn’t any good anymore – or worse yet, I forget about it! Part of me wanted to save my shoes for that “perfect first run” that magic moment. The rest of me knew that that was silly and I would be smarter just putting them on and breaking them in. For once, that is exactly what I did.
And did I, on the way to the market, break into occasional short runs? You bet I did.
Later that day, (still in my new shoes,) I took Hermes for a walk. Then I did what I will call Doggie Lead Intervals. Usually when my hound dog catches a scent and tries to pull, I try to work on his leash manners. This time? I went with it. When he pulled, I ran alongside him. When we got to the source of the smell, we stopped and walked a bit. I would say I was running roughly a half minute to a minute and then walking for five or six minutes. It went better than I ever could have expected. Maybe I can train him to run with me after all!
So, I left town on Monday and returned late Friday night. Saturday morning I slept in a bit, and then… I felt the pull. Hermes was still staying with my Aunt, so I had the house to myself – which meant I could run by myself. Almost before I knew what I was doing, I laced up the sneakers and was out the door. It was cold (low 30s) but sunny, and really quite nice. The sports shop where I took my running form class suggested intervals of 4 minutes of walking, followed by 1 minute of running for beginning runners. That seemed good to me, so that’s what I went with.
It’s kind of awkward to run in my neighborhood, I am still super self conscious. I feel like people (especially those in cars) really judge joggers and runners. I also know a lot of people where I live, and I admit, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. It didn’t stop me though. I picked a route where there was a bit less traffic and out I went. Everything went great. Honestly, I think the cold was in my favor – there weren’t all that many people out either. I know this is just something I will have to face and deal with eventually, but I will get there, step by step. Until then, I’ll pick the quieter streets!
Okay, so this is the big one – the one I have been waiting for. Really, this is the run I have been working on since I first started thinking about this whole thing. I’ve had this whole thing planned out for about a month – doing test drives to local parks, checking out areas for running, planning my schedule, the whole thing. Of course, it was cold that day (spring is coming a bit late to the Midwest.) All day long I watched out my office window. At times the sun would peak out and I would start getting excited. Then, the sky would turn dark and it would start to snow and my heart would sink. By the time I left the office it was gray and windy, with some snow flurries.
I drove to the park. It was pretty darn chilly, but I decided to go ahead. How do I explain this? I think if I had backed out, I would have a harder time starting the next time. Not because I couldn’t do it, but because it was so easy not to. I locked up the car and started off.
The park is very pretty. It has two good sized ponds at one end and an open field/picnic area at the other. There is a large oval walking path that wraps around it. The path has a few splits through the middle, so you can make laps of varying length. There is a stream running nearby and quite a lot of wildlife. In just the time I was there, there were mallard ducks, Canada geese, robins and even a muskrat. There were also a few other people using the park – a couple of people walking dogs, someone else walking laps, and a father and son riding bikes. (The son was in a snow suit and looked like he was having the time of his life, the dad was in a sweatshirt and looked miserable. I give him credit for keeping with it though – that’s a good dad right there.)
When Well Laid Plans Begin to Go Astray
The first thing I figured out was that I needed my inhaler. I’m an asthmatic, and the cold was really hurting my lungs. Fortunately, I packed one… unfortunately it only had one puff in it before it died! Good thing I always keep a spare one in my purse. Okay, so that taken care of, I hit the trail again. This time, my UnderArmor shirt starts riding up! It has never done that before, but suddenly its heading north like it wants to fling itself over my head. It’s my base layer, and I have another shirt and a jacket on top of it, so it isn’t like I can just pull it down. Not only was it weirdly uncomfortable, but my middrift started getting seriously cold. No matter! Onwards!
Did I mention that I didn’t bring gloves? Yeah, gloves. I definitely need to pack gloves next time.
Again I am doing intervals – 4 minutes walking, 1 minute running. Everything is going fine until minute 13. I’m walking along and walking and walking… and then all the sudden it is minute 15! I figure I spaced on 14 and just start running. And running. And running. And running… I fumble in my pocket for my phone. Sure enough, RunKeeper says I am on minute 18. That’s three minutes of running, a lot for me! I pause it the app and try to figure out what is wrong. Obviously it isn’t giving me all the audio cues. Everything looks okay, so I save it and start over. I figure I will do 12 minutes to finish up a half hour.
I end up doing 20. It turns out that when I thought I was charging my phone, the charger wasn’t all the way plugged in. So when I started, it kept track, but didn’t have enough power to give me all the time notifications. Ah well!
So, it didn’t turn out to be the perfect “first run” I imagined! I had a few equipment failures and it was a lot colder than I thought it would be for the first week in April, but that is okay. I can laugh about it, and it will just make me better prepared for next time, (when something completely different goes wrong!) A coworker of mine uses the phrase “progress, not perfection” for times like these, and I think it fits. The important part is that I did it! Now I’ve I actually started – I feel great about it, and I’m excited for the next one!