Friday, March 6, 2009

Running Isn't Hard. STARTING Running Is Hard.

I wasn’t going to show up for my second 5k without a bit more practice. I set out for a jog feeling very fit and healthy because choosing to run already set me in a higher existential sphere. I imagined how I must look to people driving by, wishing they were a svelte athlete in training like me.

It was precisely .5 miles around my block according to my odometer. I figured I would circle three or four times. All I needed was will power, yeah? Set my mind to it! I waved to the old man across the street and kicked up my heels.

I passed only two mailboxes when suddenly the only sound in the whole neighborhood was my abnormally loud breathing. I tried to control it by puffing out my cheeks with each exhale, but it only made my brain feel hot and whooshy like every blood cell in there was trying to escape. In fact, my whole body pounded like it might explode. This doesn’t seem right, I thought because I had seen tons of people run and not once did any of them spontaneously combust.

As I rounded the first corner, I stopped to walk which really hurt my pride and snuffed my enthusiasm for the whole idea. It took the entire half block before I could inhale without sounding like an asthmatic Darth Vader.

I jogged again before I passed the old man across the street. I wanted him to think I ran the whole way, because I am that shallow. I ended up going four times around in the same pattern. Run my street, walk to the opposite street. I hope he was impressed.

When I finally found myself back in my own driveway I was completely spent. No one told me running felt like strapping your lungs in a vice and dragging eight bowling balls behind you. How did people do this? And why????

Later, after a shower and a sandwich I noticed something. I felt sore and tired, but also… great. It was like happy-relaxed-exerted-great.

Maybe I could try again.


  1. I am training for my first half in April. I'm scared. Real scared. Once I am out there running I feel great but I just can't find the time to get out there. How and when do you carve out time?

  2. This is too great!!! Just last night as I was run/walking with my neighbor we were doing or attempting our .5 mile jog and she was running in front of me with a little more ease and I could hear myself panting, LOUDLY, and I was thinking I am never going to be able to do this! But if you went through the same thing, surely I CAN.
    Same stranger as posted in last two!!!

  3. Help Andi! I'm supposed to do something (a half???) with Summer in April, and I'm terrified, too. Maybe I'll just stick with the 5K I know and love.

  4. Was this really you or did you happen to watch me every time I set out to "start" running? Glad to know that there is hope!

  5. "wishing they were a svelte athlete like me" it!! Girl, this post is RIGHT ON!! It's amazing how simple and easy running looks to onlookers. And then you set out, and realize how hard it really is. But then, somehow, some way, after months of putting one foot in front of the other, you find your groove, your sweet spot. Nothing can take that feeling away. Ok, I'm getting a little teary-eyed. Great post friend!

  6. Summer, I don't know how to say this, but (I'm flinching) the only thing that seems to work for me is getting up early. I meet my Running Spouse at 5:20 and we get it done before the rooster crows.

    It reeeeeally helps if you have a good friend to run with you.

    I may come out and cheer you and Gena on. Ya'll can so do it.

  7. Anonymous you are so making my day. I hope your next few runs are easier. Don't worry if they're not. It takes time, but it will come. When you hear yourself panting just know that I am laughing with you. Ha! You go girl!!!!!!!

  8. Thanks for a great post today and your journey of running. How fun, I think I love the journey more than the actual event. But it does give you a good feeling when you finish. You get up before the rooster crows... you go girlie!

  9. Your blog inspired me to try running again, after all I feel responsible for half of your genetic running ability, when I was younger I was a pretty awesome distance runner. (I also used to fish and I lied about fishing success too) I determined my route and the distance I wanted to run, (all the way to my mailbox and possibly back to the house) laced up my running shoes and took off. I soon remembered how much I love the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair as I run, and… how quickly I cramp up. Before I reached my goal I started feeling a little dizzy, stars started whirling around my head and I felt like I had pneumonia. I was exhilarated that I was finally experiencing “runners high.” But….as it turns out I wasn’t… while the paramedics were treating me they told me I am just really out of shape and should try to walk for a while first and maybe I should lose some weight. I decided to rest for a while and have some nacho’s, I’ll just walk out and get the mail tomorrow……

  10. Andi, You are trully an inspiration! You are an amazing writer. I am a mom of five and in terrible shape. I laugh so hard as I read this blog. It descibes my every attempt at running, at many things in life. You are precious, an amazing gift from God!
    Bryn Tucker