So, I’ve recently started running again. It’s been years since my feet have seen the inside of a pair of running shoes (at least three years, maybe four). It isn’t that I hate running, I don’t. It’s just that I fell out of the habit, and the part of running that I do dislike is the initial part – the part where running a mere block sucks. Actually, I don’t really mind that part even, but I hate running that dreaded stage alone. It’s SO HARD and SO BORING in the beginning, and at least running with someone else is a distraction and often, a source of encouragement and motivation. I’m not a person who has a hard time motivating myself to step into the shoes, I have a hard time doing it alone, when I suck.
Once I reach a level of cardiovascular fitness which allows me to actually count my kilometres rather than mere gasping blocks, I don’t mind running alone. I have never been much of an iPod runner. I run with open ears, listening to my breath, the wind, the world. I actually enjoy that part, and don’t need company. Once I get to a level of fitness where I can run and daydream, or think, or pay attention to scenery, I’m golden. When running (albeit slowly) is like walking, I’m a gal in love with the world.
So, for quite some time now I have wanted to step back into the shoes. Besides the obvious physical perks (I’ll be honest, if I had to come to a screeching halt for some reason, it would be nice if MOST of my body would stop at the same time, ya know?) I am really most attracted to the mental health benefits. Running for me, is a time to think, if need be, or a time to blank out, also, if need be. And, who can deny how happy one feels after a good, hard run, especially if you’ve reached a goal or milestone, or you start the run dreading it, or it’s rainy, or any number of other complaints.
So, are you wondering what I have done about the running alone thing? I don’t yet know many people in Port Moody, never mind any runners. I had considered joining a running clinic, but whenever one was starting, I was traveling for work. I knew I had to suck it up and just do it, already! So, one day I had a thought! I downloaded an app! Yup, I did. There are quite a few, and I think they are pretty much all the same. You can choose a 5k or 10k, for example, and it sorts out your walk-run intervals and manages your increases for you. Yippee!
I turned on the app to the first session, slipped my iPhone into my pocket, leashed the dog, and …on your marks… get set… GO!
I prepared myself to hate it. I had decided to suffer yet conquer, but…it was great! In fact I loved it! The app managed my sessions (3x a week) into super easy walk-run intervals, and weirdly I really liked the chime and voice telling me when to run, walk, and cool down. I didn’t have to pay attention to a watch. Also, it turned out that Cooper is a great running partner! He may not be human, but strangely, he’s good company. I may not be able to complain to him as I run, whining about how out of breath I am, or how tired I feel or the weather, yadda yadda yadda (well, I could, but I’d look like a weirdo) but he is somehow able to fill that “partner” role for me. Best of all, his schedule is wide open! I don’t have to arrange a run with ahead of time, I can do it on a whim. Morning, afternoon, evening…all I have to do is hold up the leash and he is happy to come along! Win-Win!
I’m not far off 5k. I actually suspect I could quite easily do it, but I am following my “program.” I’m nearing the end, which will see me running that distance fairly comfortably. What next? I signed up for a 10k clinic that starts in the new year. Might be nice to know a few “human” runners as well!
I don’t have a photo of me in my running glory, but I’ll include a couple I’ve snapped along the way. I feel that running has allowed me to be an active participant in the changing of the seasons. Yes, we’ve seen a freakin’ ton of rain, but man, the colours this year have been an absolute joy.