Somewhere in the first few weeks of dating HP I announced to him: this body does not exercise…! And so we went for a walk. And when I say walk I mean fast trot for me, slow walk for him. When I go for a walk it is more of a stroll, a leisurely pace, a stop and smell the roses every so many feet type thing. Not HP. It’s a keep moving, if your heart isn’t pumping faster it isn’t a walk type walk.
Then the day came… He asked the dreaded question. “Will you go running with me?” Um, me? Are you kidding? When was the last time I ran? Maybe – NEVER! Ok, ok, we are dating and I should at least try it, I thought. So I did. And then we decided maybe I should ride his (big, oversized, wowzer bike) instead. That didn’t last too long either. 🙂
Several months later after we were married, he asked again: “Will you go running with me?” And now we lived in hill country. You know the old story: I walked uphill in snow 3 miles to school every day when I was a kid AND walked uphill home? Well, that is our neighborhood. It is actually possible to do that. (And there is a school within 3 miles of us, so the saying is really, really possible). But, back to the point. He asked, and I was trying to be a ‘good’ (there will be another post about this word sometime in the future) wife. So I said: “yes”. And now I HAD to try to learn to run. Oh boy, was this going to be fun! Not really. So, I looked around and did some research. I found a really cool site called “Cool Running”. (Pun was intended). It had this system where you could learn to run in 9 weeks. Yeah right. So, I stored the information in my head while I hoped and prayed he would not ask me again to run with him.
And the question came again. 🙂 So, I pulled out my info from this site and I said I would run as long as we followed: this game plan. And he said: ok, with a great big grin on his face. Kind of like the one you think of when you hear ‘The Crocodile’ song. (YouTube it – you will appreciate the imagery more after you have heard the song). So, we began. Run (slow painful jog) for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds, repeat for 20 minutes. Um, I think I just about died. But I was going to do it, even if it killed me – and it just about did.
After we finished day 1, I celebrated. And then I cried the next morning when I tried to get out of bed. I hurt SOOOOO much. But I was determined! I would do this. I would prove that learning to run the ‘baby step’ way (more on this in another post later too) could actually work. We continued. We even ‘ran’ when we went away to camp. When we told my brother that we would be back, we were going for a ‘run’. The look on his face was priceless (and completely resembled my own thoughts). It said: Are you kidding? WP doesn’t run. And trust me I don’t.
It gets worse from there. Round about week 3 my SIL asked if I would try the program with her too. And I said: sure. (I must have lost my brain somewhere in the first jog). But I love my SIL so I went with her at 5:30 AM and with HP the other days at 7:00 PM. Now I was running 6-7 days a week. Let me remind you: this body does not exercise!
That continued for about 4 weeks. (Can you believe I even made it that long!?!?) My SIL and I decided to stop for a bit and pick it back up sometime when it was warmer. (Keep that word in mind). This was sometime in the September time frame, so it was quite chilly out at 5:30 AM.
HP and I finished the program on September 18th! What a great day!!! I was glad that I could ‘run’ 5K after 9 weeks of trying. And now I could stop. Nope, you were right in thinking that that wasn’t going to happen, because we continued. Yes, I am crazy.
About mid October friends of ours mentioned a 5K/5 mile race they run every Thanksgiving and asked if we wanted to join them. Of course we did. That’s what I wanted to do: get up really early on Thanksgiving morning, with 10,000 other runners, and run for 5K. And so that is what we did.
During our 4 week training period we tried to get up to 4 miles so 3 wouldn’t seem so bad. (But 3 is still a very long way for a non-exerciser like me). During one of those weeks I noticed 2 of my runs were very easy and I didn’t get tired at all. WOW. I also noticed I was a bit jittery and couldn’t sleep, well, at all. One morning HP picked up my newly purchased vitamins and commented: ‘did you know these had caffeine in them’? No, no, I didn’t, but that sure did explain a lot of things. 🙂 So off the caffeine vitamins I came and running became hard again. LOL
Then came the day of the race. This was it, this was the final day I had to run. After the race I could be WARM, stay inside, let my poor body heal, ahhh, I could just feel it. I was almost there. But first…
Brrr was it cold out. As we are driving to the race I see a thermometer. Yep, remember when I told you to remember the word ‘warmer’, well this was not it! The thermometer said 20 degrees. Um, 20? Twenty? 20???? Wait? What? What in the world am I doing out here at 7:30AM on Thanksgiving morning running in 20 degree weather? This is not me. This is not something I do. “This body does not exercise”!
But here I was with 10,000 other lunatics (some in hula skirts and batman outfits) ready to ‘run’ a race.
Now an important part to tell you is our friends mentioned this HILL. It was at the beginning of the race and it was really tough. Really tough. So conserve your energy, take it slow and walk if you have to. But after you get past this hill you will be fine. Ok, all of these thoughts are now racing through my mind.
Based on my non-running ability and this REALLY tough hill, HP and I decided to start back at the 9-10 minute mile marker. (This is where you start if you expect to run a 9-10 minute mile. HP planned on a 8-9 minute mile and I planned to finish the race – even if I had to crawl) Everyone is all excited and crowding in and pushing to the start line. I am excited because the more people come and the more they crowd in, the warmer I get from their body heat. I know disgusting, but when you are cold you are desperate!
Bang, and off we go. See ya at the end HP. (Before anyone gets any ideas: we planned to run separately from the beginning. After all the whining that I did EVERY time we ran (from day 1), which I conveniently left out of this entire story, HP deserved to be able to run a good, quiet, peaceful race without his wife whining by his side and holding him back. It was totally my idea to run separately – not his) So back to the race… I’m ‘running’ along just as happy as can be, thinking this isn’t so bad. Ok, the REALLY tough hill is at the beginning so I need to pace myself. So I just went along at my usual (slow) pace waiting for this hill. I saw the first mile marker sign, and no hill yet. I saw the second mile marker sign, and no hill yet. I saw a man have a seizure (and I almost cried). No hill yet. (Other people where already helping him, or I would have stopped to help – not that I would have a clue as to how to help, but I would have at least tried). I kept going. This really wasn’t any fun anymore. Seeing the poor man hurting ruined it for me. But I kept going. My goal was to finish the race.
I reached where one of my friends was standing cheering us all on. Still no hill. I turned the corner and there was a hill. I thought FINALLY! Hey, wait a minute? If this is the REALLY tough hill that is at the beginning of the race than I am so far from done… Now I was tired and sad (still thinking about the poor man), and angry. I want to be done this silly race and be warm, and eat breakfast, and take a nap, and, and, and…
But then I saw it: the finish line. Now I know why all those racers at the end of the Boston Marathon have a silly grin on their face. They are so happy to be almost done this crazy thing called a race!
HP was waiting for me at the finish line. He cheered me on. Woo Hoo. I gave him a big ole hug and a kiss and asked him: where was that REALLY tough hill? He laughed and said he didn’t know either… (Remember our neighborhood where you can walk UPHILL in the snow 3 miles to get to school? Yep, where WE train is a really big hill all the way around us. Where the race was, was a little itty bitty tiny hill that wasn’t a big deal at all)
The race ended. My running career ended. And now I am warm, inside, doing inside exercises every other night. What? Wait a minute: ‘This body does not exercise!’