I really love to run but over the winter I pretty much stopped altogether. I wanted to run outside but the weather kept me from it, I could have run at the gym on the treadmill but I just ... didn't. Inertia, it's a beautiful thing.
I started running again a couple of weeks ago and was surprised that I could still manage it. I figured all the endurance I'd built up would be gone and I'd have to begin re-training slowly with a minute running, two minutes walking repeat, repeat. But shockingly, while I've lost the speed I'd worked up to I am still able to do the distances I was doing before I stopped. A nice surprise for sure. But even with this happy discovery I didn't manage to work in more than a once a week run. How lame.
Last Saturday I actually ran to and from a dog-walking job across town. 1.5 miles each way and was delighted with myself. The next day I went to a wedding, fortuitously it seemed everyone I met there was a runner. Not just 'oh I run' (like me) but multiple-marathon runners. Talking to them, and listening to the advice they had about running, gave me the oomph and motivation to get my sneakers back on the pavement (or treadmill). One woman in particular gave me a reality check on my running vs. my weight. I've been very cautious with my running because I'm fearful of overdoing it (as I will tend to do) and injuring my knee again, so that has always translated to running a maximum of 4 times a week and most often only 3 times. This multiple marathoner, who was a ball of fire and funny as hell, told me to run 3 miles six days a week. That if I did that there was no way it wouldn't show up on the scale and that if I did not push myself to that degree I'd never push to the next level in running.
I got so fired up by this advice that I've been running at night AFTER spending the day walking dogs. I'm usually more of a morning runner, but running later seems to be working for me. I feared I'd be too hyper to sleep if I ran at 8pm but instead I find I am passing out and sleeping really well. Hmmm. Not bad.
Ideally I'd have run every day this week, but I just couldn't do it. My knee did indeed start to assert its option to STOP so I had to take two nights off this week to let it rest, which seemed to do the trick. Typically I'd be really angry at myself for not DOING IT RIGHT, but I'm finding that in some areas I'm really learning to be kinder to myself. Taking a night off from the running to make sure my knee has time to recoup is smart, not weak. Maybe next week I'll only need one night off, maybe I'll need two again, but I know if I'm careful I can build up and get to the point where I can run 6 days a week and then raise my mileage.
When I first started running and I could barely do a mile before my knee was a blaze of pain, I never thought I could run 3 miles. Now I know that I can. If I can do a 5K (3.2 miles) 6 days a week, then I can eventually do 10K. And when I can do that.... well, maybe you see where this is going.
I really would like to run the NYC Marathon one day. It's something I've thought about for many years. Years before I ever attempted to run. There's something about completing a marathon that has a strong appeal. Not just for me, obviously the race wouldn't exist if there wasn't something that appeals to the spirit.
I've never been good with slow and steady. I get impatient and I've always been big on total immersion in something and then completely losing interest. Running is something you can't do that with - your body rebels. But training slowly, while it is time-consuming, does work and it's worth it and maybe, just maybe in 2011 I'll be running that marathon on the streets of the city I love.
When I see the treadmill clock in at 3.2 miles I can't stop smiling. Because that's ME running that far. ME? RUNNING? It's still amazes me, and I like that about it.