like to need to listen to This American Life when I run because it’s the perfect distraction. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the best choice of listening material when I hear something so funny that I look like a crazy lady laughing to myself. Like this story – I was glad I was on a back road when I listened to it, but I wasn’t so lucky when I listened to “The Seven Things You’re Not Supposed to Talk About,” in which Sarah Koenig’s mother shares her list of boring conversation subjects. I was running through residential neighborhoods as I listened to the funniest (first) fifteen minutes of the show and it was really embarrassing.
I’ve been thinking about that particular show a lot this week as I’ve been trying to figure out how exactly to write about this week’s challenge. One of the off-limits topics she lists is “Route Talk” – describing how you get from one destination to another. I agree with her that no one needs to hear about that, and as I started writing about this week’s challenge, I realized the same could be said for yet another post about me running. Like, enough already!
For me, the fact that I run at all is a big deal, something I didn’t even start until I was 40. The fact that I now enjoy running, and that I dared to run in a 10K race this week is a super big deal, but again, mostly just to me and my husband. No one else really wants to hear all the details, but I did it and I want credit for doing it. I promise I’ll be brief.
After upping my distance to five miles a few weeks ago, I woke up the next day with a hurt foot. I stopped running and nursed the injury for a week and a half with no improvement. Eventually, I decided to just try to stretch it out and run again. Just in case, I also scheduled an appointment with a sports therapist to see if it was something serious but they couldn’t get me in for an appointment for another week. I decided there was no way I’d be able to do the race on Thanksgiving if I didn’t get my knees used to running again, so I gave it a try, gradually increasing my mileage from 2.5 to 4.5 by race day. After a few days back running, my foot injury disappeared and I canceled my appointment with the doctor.
I felt good about running again but had never gone further than five miles that one time, so I was not confident about my chances of being able to run the entire race. I woke up an hour early with a giant kink in my neck and a nervous stomach and was seriously considering just dropping out. It turns out I’m too cheap to waste the entry fee so I decided to go through with it and hope for the best.
Even though it was very cold when we first started, I had my podcast, my headband, and my husband by my side.
I told him if I was slowing him down he had my permission to ditch me, but he insisted that would never happen. We saw two couples, one dressed in super cute matchy race wear, running near us. Before we even reached mile one, both husbands left their wives behind and I reminded mine that he was free to do the same. He didn’t. I know I ran more slowly than he usually does, but I maintained my own fastest pace for the entire 6.2 miles and didn’t have to stop to walk, so I was pretty pleased. I did stop a few times to take pictures, but can you blame me? It was such a pretty run – there was a hot air balloon out, a river, red rocks, and bridges – sometimes I got distracted.
No one was cheering for us at the end of the race and there wasn’t even any recovery food, but we cheered each other on. Also, my running app congratulated me, so that was nice.
My husband kept saying how excited he was that I like running now. Then he immediately started making plans for me to train for a half marathon…
At mile five, the story I was listening to ended so I turned on Pandora. As we ran through the rocks, over a bridge, and along the river, this song came on and helped me push myself the last mile of the race. The same last mile I expected to be walking or hobbling, I was actually running faster than I had before. And when we neared the finish line, even more than feeling proud of finishing, I was enjoying the experience, loving where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with. It was pure fun. That might not be great writing or interesting to anyone else, but that’s what it was – FUN. And it’s something I never would’ve tried in my old Humdrum life.