Tomorrow I start into Week 6 of my 12-week walk to run program. By October 5th, I’ll be able to run 5km for the CIBC Run for the Cure. When I first began the program I was only jogging a total of 3 minutes. Now I’m up to 16 min. By Week 12 I’ll be able to run for 40 min!
I am so happy that I chose to start out slowly and do interval training rather than trying to run until I collapsed. This would, of course, have left me totally demoralized, sitting on the ground rocking with my arms around my new shin splints. Instead, I’m letting my body acclimatize slowly and, surprisingly, I’m not only doing well but enjoying the process!
I always believed growing up that I just wasn’t a runner. I could, however, manage short bursts of speed and I decided I was the human equivalent of a polar bear. My parents gave me those wildlife fact files and each month a package would arrive containing little files on different animal species. One day, I received the polar bear file and was pleased to discover that I wasn’t the only animal in the kingdom that couldn’t run long distances. In fact, I was in the company of one of the world’s largest and most fearsome predators.
I wasn’t the most athletic child and I have painful memories of many “participation” badges from those standardized fitness tests. Unlike my skinny, long-limbed classmates who bounded across the finish line like gazelles, there were no golds, silvers, or bronzes for me. And, living in the Ottawa area, I wasn’t likely to encounter a seal I could put my polar-bear moves on. There was no justice in the world.
Now I realize that running, like any sport or activity, takes a bit of training to be done properly. I would hope that a gym teacher wouldn’t throw a kid in the water who didn’t know how to swim (although I’m sure it would be tempting to chuck one of the little brats in sometimes) or send him down a ski slope without lessons! Why, then, did they take someone like me – who didn’t play any sports – and force me to run without any training?
Getting over those deeply-ingrained childhood experiences is pretty major. It gets me to thinking: if all those years I thought I couldn’t run and it turns out I can, what other untapped potential do I have?
I will ponder that question while I go find myself a gold badge!