Yesterday marked one month since my shoulder surgery. I decided to celebrate by going running. That’s right, I ran. And no one was chasing me.
I’m not 100% sure if I’m technically supposed to be running right now, as it’s pretty jarring on the shoulders (and on just about everything else in the body), but I decided that it was something I needed to do, and there was precious little that was going to stop me. Plus, I knew that I could always stop if it was painful. I was told that more than anything I was to listen to my pain, and I’ve been very diligent about doing so.
I’m not a runner. And when I say, “I’m not a runner,” I really mean, “I’m not a runner.” I pretty much actively hate running. My body’s not built for it, it’s rough on the joints, it makes me nauseous, and I have chronic shin splints. I can think of about 6,371 things I’d rather do than voluntarily run. And don’t get me wrong: I love exercising in general. I love the burning feeling in the pit of my stomach after I’ve worked my abs. I love the way my legs tremble on the top of a mountain after a long, long, hike. I love the all-over deliciousness of a good hot yoga class. I love shooting baskets with my boys, and dancing with my daughter, and laughing my way through Zumba. I love working out with weights, and with good old fashioned squats and pushups and crunches. I love getting my heart pumping, and I love feeling strong.
But even when I’m in the best shape of my life, my workout regime does not include running, ever.
So why then would I suddenly (and willingly) choose to do something
akin to torture I don’t like? Because as much as I don’t like running, I like a challenge more. I like a good experiment more.
Could I ever like running? For reasons that are still fairly unclear, it suddenly became really important that I find out. If nothing else, I decided I needed to do what I’d never really done before, and give it a fair shot. I knew that I couldn’t – and shouldn’t – just start out by opening up my front door and taking off in a run (the last time I tried that, when my sister-in-law who is a runner was visiting, I all but collapsed in a humiliated heap in the street), so I sucked it up and finally checked out Couch 2 5K. I’d of course seen people raving about it, but the more I see something the more it makes me want to roll my eyes, and the less it makes me want to do it. But I had to start somewhere, and I was sold on their claim of getting “just about anyone from the couch to running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes in just 9 weeks.” Now, I have zero desire to ever run a 5K, but, well…. like I said, the idea of challenging myself to get to a point where I could if I so chose was a strong one.
And you know what’s an even better experiment than one non-runner embarking on a 9 week running plan? TWO non-runners embarking on a 9-week running plan. So I
coerced invited Mike to commit to do it with me. We like to do that sort of stuff together, and he’s the only one I know who hates running more than I do.
Yesterday was day one.
We took Tegan and Everett – who, being normal active healthy kids, had no trouble keeping up – and went to the desert park down the street. The five minute walk there served as the warm-up, and as soon as we hit the dirt trails, our 20 minutes of cycling through jogging and walking promptly began.
My first concern as we officially started our first circuit of running (have I mentioned how much I hate running?) was keeping my shoulder safe. As it turns out though, it was barely an issue… in part because I was super conscious of keeping my elbow tucked to keep it stable; in part because a little shoulder discomfort didn’t register over the roar of my burning shins and my sure-to-explode-at-a-moments-notice-lungs; but mostly because any thoughts of my shoulder were drowned out by the tiny but rather insistent voice of my rebelling body screaming,
“Good God woman! What are you doing?? You don’t run! Danger! Danger! Abort!!!”
But before I could turn to my husband and no doubt relieve the both of us by saying, “Ha, ha. Just kidding. Let’s go home and have a rum and Coke,” our first 60 seconds were up, and it was time to walk again. In the next 90 seconds, we proved ourselves to be old people, rather than the (relatively) healthy 30-somethings that we are, by complaining about our many and varied ailments incurred in our minute of running.
“My shins hurt already.”
“My knee hurts too.”
“The one you hurt doing P90X?”
“No, the other one.”
“My lungs are burning.”
“My back is – ” And the app on my phone buzzed again, and once again we were plod, plod, plodding along, while the kids laughed and sprinted and enjoyed the dessert. And then we walked. I was mad at myself and my brilliant ideas. My shins hurt, I was sweating, and I was out of breath. After TWO MINUTES of running. And then it was time to run again.
And by the 5 or 6th time, 60 seconds didn’t seem quite so long. My legs moved a little more easily, and the number of protesting body parts diminished. Before we knew it, we were done, the lady on my phone was congratulating us on being such unbelievable athletes and otherwise awesome human beings, and it was time to head home. So we did.
I can’t say it was entirely the best experience of my whole life, but it certainly wasn’t the worst one either. In any case, we – the two non-runners that we are – completed it: Day one at three workouts a week for nine weeks = 3.7% there already.
And only 96.3% to go.