I run now. Running is cool.

Things I may have said in the past about running:

“Runners never look happy. I don’t even want to try running.”
“Why would you run in the miserable, cold, pouring rain?”
“Running is for chumps who don’t have bikes.”
“I will never be a runner.”

These words have come back to haunt me.

In December, when Pandra reached six months old, I started to feel like maybe I should get some exercise. But it was December, and I’ve never enjoyed going to the gym, and I couldn’t find people, time, or the ambition to get back on my bike in that rainy season we call winter. I jokingly said to my husband, “Maybe I’ll take a running clinic or something. Ha ha.”

And then during the week one day I posted on Facebook:

This made me feel somehow accountable. Within a week I walked down to the Runner’s Den. And I thought, “Really? Am I really going to go in there?” as I opened the door. Within a few minutes, I had signed up for the clinic. I was absolutely terrified.

It’s more than just not wanting to be a runner. I have never been active. I mountain bike, yes, but that’s fairly recent (in the last 8 years or so) and honestly at my peak I only got out on my bike once a week at best. Usually it was closer to twice a month once I had a daughter to take up my time. And I’ve only been out once since I got pregnant with my second daughter. I wouldn’t call that being active; I’d call that a hobby. The same goes for hiking; I like it, and I love being in the forest, but it’s not something I do 3 times a week. And that’s part of what I love about it.

I tried going to the gym three times. All three times, the habit lasted less than one month, and I rarely made it to the gym more than once a week during that month. I did an unlimited month of Groupon bootcamp once, and I think I went once a week. When the groupon expired, so did my interest. It’s difficult for me to admit it, but I would rather sit at home on the couch, surfing the net or playing video games, than being active.

As far back as I can remember, I was a sedentary kid. I biked to get places. I didn’t do sports. I preferred playing with my toys in imaginary worlds, and later playing on my computer in imaginary worlds. Activity has never been a part of my life.

And now I run.

It started easy. And by easy, I mean that I missed the first week of the clinic because I had the flu. But then I made it to the second week, and it was hard. I got out and did my running homework and it got easier. And each week I would go out, no matter what weather, and it would be hard every time. And then I’d do the homework and it would get easier.

Since the first week I made it to the clinic I’ve gone from running for 1:30 / walking 4:30 six times to running 13 minutes / walking two, only twice instead of six times. I was shocked when I hit 6 minutes straight of running, and completely bowled over when I was suddenly running for twelve minutes. This is a milestone I have never achieved before. It’s almost unbelievable to me that I can run for thirteen minutes straight right now, and in the next three weeks I might even make it to a full thirty minutes of running.

Intellectually speaking, I knew I was doing this to learn to run, but realistically experiencing the fact that I can run for as long as I can has been a very strange thing for me to grasp.

In addition to that, I’ve learned that I can motivate myself to get out and run alone. Biking for me is social or a means to an end (I get somewhere). Any other activity I tried required someone else to motivate me to get out and do it. But while I’m happy to run with other people, I’m also perfectly content to go out and run alone. Another new feeling for me.

And then there are the physical benefits. Through a combination of being a cheese/dairy addict who became lactose intolerant last fall, and then starting to run in January, I have lost an undetermined amount of weight (our scale has no battery, so I don’t really know how much). I know I’ve lost this weight because I feel lighter, I’ve dropped approximately five or six pant sizes, and I fit into clothes that I haven’t tried on in six years and forgot to give away. I feel good, I have energy, and I can move faster overall than before. And I look awesome, of course.

In the beginning, when I got home from a run Adam would ask me if I had a good run. I would reply non-commitally with “yeah, I guess so” and change the subject because I wasn’t ready to admit it to anyone yet. But as it turns out, I’ve become a runner, and I enjoy it. I run now. Running is cool.