Am I Running Yet?

girl running black on whiteI am not a runner. I just happen to like moving forward quickly sometimes.

Scoff if you must. But I’ve heard others use the phrase “I’m not a vegetarian, I just don’t eat meat,” and it makes sense to me.

These terms – runner and vegetarian – invoke not just an action or choice, but a culture. I’ve gone for a few runs, but I do not see myself joining the larger running culture anytime soon.

Of course, I also used to say I could never live without steak. Huh.

Anyway, here’s the thing: I’ve tried running. Last night saw me go out into my childhood neighborhood for my third official run. I do not make route plans, I do not own a foam roller. I do try to run a couple of times a week. I have no goals, other than to maintain and prevent. I do intend to work toward longer, more consistent runs (meaning with fewer walk breaks).

Why did I start running? I suppose it was a combination of reasons. I need cardio to accompany my yoga. I need to get outside more. I need to do something that is head clearing and solitary. I need to become more aware of my community. I need to regain some of the strength I lost after Zumba discontinued. I need to balance my hormones and boost my libido. I need to be in shape if I ever have another pregnancy, and that requires pre-planning (don’t take those last two together to indicate ANY sort of announcement. No.) I need to know that there is an effective exercise that is ancient, cheap and without the demand for storage space. I need to sweat.

The teenage me would be rolling in the grave of her jaded 90s candlelit smoking sessions.

Last night was the first time I got a hint of a sense of a runner’s high, or as a witty friend put it, getting “to the happy place and the endorphins make you think you’re a flying unicorn propelled by rainbows.” That sounds fun, so I will strive to get there.

What have I learned, so far? Do not run with your hair in braids. Do not run with a sinus headache. A good sports bra DOES make a difference (ow). Do not force yourself into pain. Listen to your body. If a tiny bug flies into your eye, don’t worry about it unless it hurts – you can get it out later. Keep the focus on enjoying being healthy, because that should really be what these choices are about. They are not about unhealthy competition or obsession, neglecting life’s pleasures or moral superiority.

So, I’m not a runner. But the questions is, am I running yet? I have no idea, but I’m happy to have caved, and to be trying something new. I’m happy to have changed my tune, yet again, on something of which I used to make fun. I’m happy that I got to follow my third run up with a moderate portion of whole wheat spaghetti.

 

 

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