Monday, August 31, 2015

Old Man Running

I was never a runner. Even in school I hated running laps in practice. During track season my friend Kenny and I used to cheat on our warm up laps because we didn't want to run. Until we got caught. Our argument was we throw shot and disc, doesn't require the ability to run, so why should we? We were prepared to debate this with the coach in standard debate league format: 3 minute opening statement, 1 minute for rebuttal, impartial judge makes the ruling. The coach decided we should run the full laps or not be on the team.

So it was odd last summer when I decided to try running at 49 years old. It was more accurately plodding or lumbering. A friend was training for a half marathon and it inspired me to see if I could run a half mile before having a stroke. I did it, barely, so the next night I went out again to see if I could go further.

It became a challenge for me to increase how far I could go each time I ran. Eventually I also saw it helping my blood pressure. Last November I ran my first 5K, I just recently ran my second.

The thing is, running isn't easy for me. I'm not a natural runner, I'm overweight and to be frank, I'm lazy. Sitting on the couch reading a book or watching a movie is my natural state of being. I do enjoy the challenge, but not the pain. This is what my body sounds like when I get up in the morning to run:

"Oh great the alarm is going off. Crap, another morning to go to work. This is a little earlier than usual . . . and hey, we're not getting into the shower. Why are we getting dressed already? These aren't work clothes either. Wait a minute. Shorts, t-shirt, running shoes . . . NO!!! Don't you do it! Don't do it! Oh no we're outside. Too early, it's still dark. Wait, we're moving. Ahh! Running! The legs hurt already, lungs are burning for air. What is wrong with you? You dirty, rotten traitor. Back to bed! To the couch! Please sit down and watch TV."

This goes on for the first mile. After that I fall into slow, steady rhythm and my body gives up complaining. At least until later in the day.

"Oh, you feel a little tendinitis in your foot? That's from running! Your knee is sore? Running! All your problems are from running! Stop! Repent! Pray at the altar of laziness and immobility."

Man, my body is annoying.

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