Thursday, February 12, 2009

Couch Potato to Runner? Can I do this?

I've never been a runner. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I hate running. In high school, whenever we would have our physical fitness tests in gym class, I would try telling the teacher that I had to skip the mile because I had asthma. Unfortunately, so did she and she could run it, so there went my excuse. I managed to take a gym sabbatical my senior year, but somehow ended up at a college with a gym class requirement. This requirement didn't involve running the mile, but I after exhausting all possible avenues for getting around the gym class and having to drop a step aerobics class after I had a fencing injury, I found myself in a true, team-picking, middle school nightmare, gym class.

So there I was, senior year of college, in a class full of almost all athletic popular girls, with the threat over my head of having to run the dreaded mile again. Huffing and puffing (and sometimes walking), I managed to squeak out my fastest time yet - 12 minutes. I swore I could taste blood when I finished. And I was still the last one in the class to finish. I think it was only the conditioning runs I'd done as a member of the fencing team that saved me from the 16-minute mile I was known for in high school.

I'm simply not a good runner. Some people I know can head outside when the weather is nice and just run for a three, ten, fifteen miles. I can barely run for sixty seconds without wanting to keel over. Yoga is more my speed when it comes to a workout - low impact, and I can do it in the privacy of my own home. I've always wanted to love running, but I simply don't.

"So what's changed?" you might ask. What could be motivating me to run now, when I was previously so content to let running be something that other people do? It started when I moved down to the beach, close to Long Beach Island, where every October, those crazy runners get together to participate in the annual 18-mile LBI Run, which takes them from one tip of the island to the other. My brother-in-law started kidding me that we would be signing up to do this year's run. My immediate response was "Ha ha, NO!"

But then I got to thinking about it - why couldn't I run 18 miles in October? I've heard stories of people training for runs who've never run in their lives. Maybe I didn't need some innate running talent, just stubbornness and a plan. So I decided to do it. I went to Cool Running to get their "Couch Potato to 5K" plan, put it into my Outlook calendar, along with their marathon training plan (yikes!), and got out my running shoes - don't worry, I know they're called sneakers. So now, I'm off!

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