One of the things that I have been vowing to do is to start running… again. It has been since before my daughter was born (4 years and a half years ago) that I have seriously pursued running. I remember loving it. But since I have strapped on my jogging shoes for the first time in years, I am finding it to be quite a challenge to overcome the “I am terribly (and I mean TERRIBLY) out of shape” hump.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the “out of shape hump” is what one experiences when he or she first starts excersizing after taking an extended, shall we say, sabbatical from rigorous exercise. This is the period of time where everything hurts and there is nothing about the experience that feels even remotely rewarding. In other words, the pain factor severely outweighs the immediate gratification factor. I am pretty sure that this is an actual thing– look it up.
I expected it to be hard; I knew that I was going to have to re-learn form, regain some endurance, and locate some muscles that I forgot I had. But truthfully, it is a lot harder than I expected, mostly because I have yet to experience the feeling I used to love when I went running. I really miss it. Nevertheless “run a marathon” remains one of the top items on my bucket list, so I really feel like it is in my best interest to bite the bullet and get in shape sooner rather than later.
So today I went for a jog through town. When my running partner (my dog) and I left the house, the skies looked nothing more than a tinsy bit threatening. I would call it partly cloudy. Still, the breeze was cool, the town was quietly enjoying their Saturday morning snooze, and the thought of a little drizzle during my run didn’t frighten me one bit. I remember enjoying running in the rain–when I was in shape.
I would like to say that about a mile into my run (read: walk with a little bit of hop) I was feeling good, but not so much. My knees were hurting, I had a cramp, and I was just giving in to the urge to walk. And then it happened. Thunder.
I was a mile away from home and the sky opened up to release what I can only assume was Noah’s signal to get on board that ark (of course this is not at all an overly dramatic recreation of events). At this point, I was a little bit glad that it was early enough that I didn’t have to endure running past a heckling crowd of neighbors, sitting on their front porches pointing and laughing at the poor slob and her dog who didn’t check the weather before leaving the house. I was soaking wet, in pain, and to make matters worse my dog HATES getting wet. As I tried to muster the strength to jog the rest of the way home (yes, after only one pitiful mile), my (not so) fearless running partner began to pull on her leash, seeking shelter anywhere she could find it.
At some point during the storm I decided that I was not going to win. Even if I suddenly became the in-shape, marathon ready version of myself that I wanted to be, I was never going to outrun the rain. I was going to get drenched–whether I like it or not. My dog was probably going to be unhappy about getting wet–whether I liked it or not, and I wasn’t going to suddenly get into shape before the end of my run… whether I liked it or not.
I decided to walk. I slowed down and laughed at myself and my rain-soaked clothes and hair, the water dripping down my face. Then I laughed even harder when I passed two other walkers who were seemingly unscathed by the sudden downpour, their hair and makeup somehow picture perfect, as if the storm never happened. It seemed for a moment that Eeyore’s cloud had taken a break from making his life miserable just long enough to complicate my morning run.
The rest of my walk home was really quite wonderful– there is a gift in the beautiful quiet of a spring morning rain when you aren’t too busy battling sore muscles and water-averse dogs. Once I gave in to what was, rather than focusing on what I would have rather accomplished, I was able to enjoy my journey.
As I stepped in my front door, the rain stopped; and for the first time since I strapped on my running shoes, I felt as if the pain was outweighed by the reward.