Friday, March 20, 2009

Confessions of a Non-Runner

So in order to get buff and toned and totally wedding-day-ready, Dan and I have decided that some sort of exercise routine needs to be implemented into our daily lives. Living in the city I walk a ton, climb (what feels like) THOUSANDS of stairs a week (thank you 5th floor walk-up) and generally am more active than if I were living in the 'burbs....BUT, that is a far cry from daily work-outs, runs, etc.

Let me start out by telling you a little bit about me and long distance running. I hate it. Really and truly HATE IT. Growing up, I was the girl in gym class ALWAYS at the back of the pack during that dreaded mile-run (that is if I was actually IN school that day -- I definitely recall trying to fake-sick my way out of mile-run day a few times). I was a pretty active kid, too -- sports, dance and even short-distance sprinting, no problem. But long-distance running and me...oil and water, people. My sides would cramp up, my legs would get all itchy and splotchy, my chest would tighten, convincing me that this was time was up...I was going to die.

This "condition" continued well into my college and adult years. I recall one sunny afternoon at Mary Washington College feeling inspired to take a jog through the beautiful, woodsy area near campus. My roommate, a long-distance runner and star of the track team, told me she knew of the perfect trail for a beginner like me, and proceeded to take me out into the middle of the woods and run circles around me (literally) as I gasped and huffed and heart-attacked my way down the trail.

After college there were a couple other attempts to become a runner: once when I lived in Montana because it was just so beautiful and I wanted to try and tap into my "out-doorsy, athletic" side; and once when I lived in Michigan in attempt to get out all of the pent-up emotion and angst I had inside of me while living there.

Neither lasted because in the end I always remembered, Oh yeah. I HATE running.

I even found $60 lying on the ground the last (and only) time I ran in NYC. Convinced that God was rewarding me for my good and healthy habits, I vowed to run every week from that point on. But apparently neither God nor cash can keep me dedicated to this thing.

Okay. So back to Dan and I getting all buff and beautiful for the wedding. We contemplated joining a gym or taking a spinning class, but considering it costs a small fortune to do either we decided that running in the park was our best bet. Can't beat the scenery and it's always free.

I was seriously nervous on Wednesday night as I laced up my barely worn sneakers and attempted to stretch (how do you stretch?! I don't even know how to properly stretch!). I was nervous b/c I so badly wanted this to work (as in not die, so that we could actually do this on a regular basis), but didn't really think it would. And nervous b/c I didn't want Dan to see me as this train-wreck runner, but rather as a perfectly fit and athletically graceful woman!! (which is ridiculous, because I know he loves me big-time regardless of my "running skills")...but still...cramping up 2 minutes into a jog is pretty embarrassing.

We walked from my apartment towards the park, telling ourselves that we wouldn't push it, just go our own pace, yadda yadda.

Around Lexington Avenue we decided to start running. We ran from Lexington to Fifth Avenue, stopped in front of the MET to stretch, then ran over to the Reservoir where a HUGE and daunting runner's track stretched out before us. My anxiety grew as I watched happy runners effortlessly zip around the track like little gazelles. Jerks, I thought to myself, followed by, Nope, it's not gonna happen.

But Dan talked me off the ledge, and off we went. We started out nice and slow, with people seriously FLYING around us on either side (which was not exactly helpful to my fragile runner-esteem). But then a funny thing happened...I stopped paying attention to everyone else, and thought about how *cool* the moment was -- running beside my fiance in my favorite park in the world, skyscrapers surrounding us, the water beside was just this beautifully surreal moment where I remembered 'Oh my gosh, I live in New York City. And I'm engaged! And he LIVES HERE NOW TOO so we can do things like RUN together after work!! Ahhh!' (I tried to convey this in words to Dan as we ran but it came out sounding more like short huffs and grunting sounds. I don't do so well with the simultaneous running and talking thing). It all made me feel so...happy. And before I knew it, so lost in this cool moment was I, we were half way around the reservoir! Dan pointed out how well we were doing and proposed something CRAZY -- what if we ran around the WHOLE THING without stopping...?? I started to say "Don't hold your breath, buddy," but I stopped myself because suddenly I really *wanted* to make it all the way around. I *needed* to do this!!

And guess what people...we DID. We ran around that whole dang track, not stopping once, 1.58 miles thank you very much. This probably sounds laughable to some, but was such a huge feat for me! In total, we think we did about 2 miles, and I didn't cramp up OR feel like I was having a heart attack OR get one single itchy splotch on my legs!! I don't know why -- the company? the beautiful setting? -- but I didn't! And in fact, I felt SO GOOD afterwards, I want to go again this weekend. It just made our night feel so much more productive and healthy and happy -- who knows, maybe it's those endorphin thingys that runners tell you about -- but it made me feel like I could really *do* this and stick to it this time.

We shall see. I will keep you posted!


Betty Boop said...

This was hilarious - I laughed out loud when I read it!! You run, girl.

simplesecret said...

Yay! That's so exciting! Congratulations! Made me feel very nostalgic. Keep that park in good running shape for me! :)

laurie said...

way to go katie! i applaud your efforts and can TOTALLY relate to your past running "track record" (pun intended) :) You've inspired me to get more active once i move back to the ues. Maybe (this will SHOCK Anna!) we can run together sometime!

KristyWes said...

Ok girlies, the reservoir in springtime is my FAVE! Maybe i'll move back to the ues, just to join your running club. I vote we get matching t-shirts. So the other runners will take us seriously.

That City Girl said...

ok, i'm in! this week has NOT been so great, but there are plans for a run this friday. but hurry up and get here already (to the UES) so we can gooo!

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