I’ve never really been a good runner. I joined track in high school to hang out with my friends. The fastest I’ve ever managed to run a mile is 8:20, and that was after months of training to do so. And that was only one mile. The farthest I’ve ever run is a 10K I did last year. I ran the 10K at about 11 minute pace and was extremely happy with it. (The last half was uphill after all, although the first half was downhill and consequently the fastest 5k in my life.)
I’ve always wanted to be a real runner. You know, those thin and fit people who seem to so easily run miles and miles outside. Those people who think a 7 minute mile is a “jog,” who have a desire to run every day and feel incomplete if they don’t. I see them all the time and am so envious. I want to be that fast. I want to enjoy running that much. But I just… don’t. No matter how much I try, I’m never fast. I can never run far. Anything more than a 10:00 mile is a very good day for me. Anything more than 5 miles seems like an extraordinary effort… not a light jog.
Last year, when I was training for the 10K, I got up to being able to run 5 miles a few times a week. I wasn’t fast, I had to walk here and there, but I was able to do it. Then I ended up with all sorts of shin splints, stress fractures, strained calf muscles… you name it, my lower left leg was in pain because of it. Eventually, late last October, I realized I needed to just stop. Stop running, take time off, let my leg heal.
I’ve done a run/walk a few times since then, but it’s hard for me to get back into that routine I had last spring. I know that I need to build my distance slowly or I am going to end up with the same overuse injuries I had last year. I’m almost afraid to run, but at the same time I just want to do it… none of this run/walk baloney. My goal this time around is to eventually work my way up to a half marathon. I don’t think I’ll ever be a marathoner, and honestly I don’t know if I want to ever try one. I know I’m never going to be fast and, frankly, even assuming I could keep a 10 minute pace for an entire marathon (which I doubt I could), that’d still be 4.5 hours straight of running. I think I’d be bored out of my mind.
So, my goal is to run a ten miler this year and a half marathon next year. Last fall, I was planning to do the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, which is next week, but I didn’t think I’d get my leg strong enough in time. So my ultimate goal is the Army 10 Miler on October 4. I sign up tomorrow.
To lead up to that, Adam and I have signed up for a ridiculous number of road races in the coming months. Starting this Friday, and for the next four Fridays thereafter, we’re going to be running the Crystal City 5K Fridays. I’m definitely going to have to do a lot of walking in the first few to make sure my leg doesn’t fall off, but at least I’ll be motivated to run outside. (I generally prefer the treadmill to running outside… I like watching the numbers go by.) Then, the weekend after those races are finished, we’re doing the 5k at the Pacers Running Festival. (This race replaced the 10k we did last year.) I’m also going to do the Race for the Cure in early June, which I’ve done three times since I’ve been down here.
As you can see, I am trying so very, very hard to be a real runner. Maybe by the end of this it will finally “click.” Or at least I will lose a couple pounds and be able to run more than 5 miles without feeling like dying.