I remember very clearly when I was in drum corps and we'd have to do laps around the school. I was almost always the last one to finish, and while the encouraging cheers and good-jobs from my corps-mates were nice - it always felt awkward to be last. I never participated in track & field days, and the one time I did was the 50-yard dash. I got a ribbon for 4th place... out of 5. I'm pretty sure the 5th kid tripped.
So needless to say - I always said I am so not a runner.
Sometime last year I decided I wanted to give running/jogging another try. I don't know what moved me to this decision, but I put on my sneakers at the gym and got on the treadmill. I alternated between 2 minutes walking and 1-2 minutes jogging at first, and felt great. Over time, I took that walking/jogging routine outside when I could and at the beginning of the year I made one of my 2010 goals to state that I would participate in and complete a 5K race. Somewhere in the middle of April or May I realized that if I was going to do this, I needed to take my feet outside and get used to jogging on pavement (it's harder - I think - to run on pavement than a treadmill because the latter offers less resistance and helps you move).
Then we bought a house, and for a while exercise in general - never mind race preparations and getting used to jogging on pavement - went by the wayside.
The last couple of weeks I've made sure that once per week I get outside and literally pound the pavement. I've discovered three things doing this:
1) I need new sneakers if I'm going to be running outside. The ones I have are... well... they're good for using an arc trainer or dancing in a Zumba class, but they're getting a bit worn for running.
2) The more I run outside, the better I've gotten. I push myself a little bit harder each time, and I'm getting further. Last week I did 2.12 miles in 29 minutes, this week I did 2.25 miles in 30. It's improvement - and I like it!
3) I'm (slowly) becoming a jogger. Not sure about "runner" yet, but I think I could get there at some point.
That's right. I said it. I'm becoming a runner/jogger. When I got home this morning from my jog/walk - I was sweaty. My muscles were tired. I was breathing heavy. But it felt GOOD. I had a flashback to when I was at the hospital in back in high school to get a stress sprain on my ankle looked at and the doctor asked me if I was a runner.
"Psh. No," was my flat response.
He looked pensive. "Huh. Wow. People with internal tibial rotation* usually are good runners. You should try sometime, you might be surprised."
Well... Doctor-whose-name-I-can't-recall... thanks. You were right, and I am surprised that I actually enjoy my time outside with the sun on my face, iPod music in my ears, pushing myself to jog a little bit further between each period of walking. More importantly - thanks for reminding me not to write myself off, think I can't do something, and underestimate my own capability.
I CAN do it. I WILL do it. I AM doing it.
I'm SO becoming a jogger.
*Side note: Internal Tibial Rotation is a condition I was born with that makes my lower legs (tibias) turn in. I wore corrective shoes for a while as a kid. Pay attention next time you see me walk, I bet you notice now that I pointed it out.