October 03, 2015

I don't know when it happened. I woke up one day, and I said, "I'm going to try to run."

At that point, I should have curled back into bed and forgiven myself for my insane idea. Instead, I got up, laced up, and went for a walk. As I was walking, I downloaded the always-popular Couch to 5K app, and I ran. (Read about my 50-pound weight loss and the journey I'm on to lose even more.)

It was exhausting. I had been walking 1 to 2 hours a day five times a week, and here I was: I couldn't jog for 1 minute with a minute and a half of rest in between each jog without stopping and almost choking for air. It was embarrassing. And, it was exhilarating.

That first run this past spring has set me on a path toward trying to build greater momentum as a runner. I am not a runner. Let me please stress that again. I am not a runner. But I am a person who wants to run. I need the greater calorie burn, and despite my love for settling into a marathon of "Law & Order: SVU" or "Modern Family" while torching rubber on the treadmill, I need more efficient calorie-burning exercises. Running fills that void.

Plus, I need the satisfaction that comes after the final C25K ding. (But really, that voice needs to be a little more exhilarating. I just ran, damnit! I need a cheerleader!)

Running is not natural to me. I have joked, on many occasions, that I'd only run if I was being chased by a wild animal. And then, I'd stop to consider how quickly they'd kill me and if it would be more or less painful than running. Needless to say, running is taking me some time to love, but I'm committed. I'm determined to find my way and develop a passion for this form of exercise. In this journey, I've learned a few things, and I'm passing them along in case you're a big girl (or boy) and you'd like to run, too.

1) Forget the haters. The first time I ran, I ran in the middle of the night—11 p.m. Most of my neighbors were asleep, and for that I was grateful. The first time I ran on a treadmill in the gym, I hid in a corner and prayed no cute guys needed to lift weights that day. Then one day, something clicked. Who cares?! You're running for you, not them. If you pay any mind to what others think, you'll never leave the house.

2) You need to invest in the right equipment. Who knew running was going to be so expensive?! Now I understand why entire companies exist for the sole purpose of outfitting runners. When you run in yoga pants, you may not have an enjoyable experience. Or in my case, you may find yourself trying to hold your pants with one hand while you jog. It's not as easy as you might think. Better running shorts/capris make a huge difference!

3) Be fitted by a professional. The first shoes I ran in were not meant for running. Not even a little bit. A friend recommended me to a great local running store, Fleet Feet, and my world hasn't been the same. The folks at Fleet Feet took the time to watch me walk and run so they could find the right shoes for my style. Now that I have proper running shoes, everything is different. My recovery time is faster, my form is better, and I'm not struggling with the aches and pains I first felt. I'm picking up momentum and stamina.

4) Don't give up. It's not easy, and some times, it's not even fun. But don't stop. You're not here to impress anyone but yourself. Trust me, when you complete a really hard run, you're going to be so proud of yourself. You've worked hard to get where you are. You should be proud! Keep going!

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