Running has always been the worst.
I remember at Intermediate there was a month in the school calendar where we would do cross-country every Wednesday. And it was. Horrific.
Mainly because I was a little bit of a chubster. And I had braces, which didn’t impede my running, but certainly made sure I developed a personality.
I wasn’t a natural athlete. I liked Harry Potter and carbs. And my hobbies most definitely did not include struggling around (what must have only been a 2km) block in my Slazenger sneakers, while turning a violent shade of plum in front of cute* boys.
They were character developing years.
According to TedTalk metaphors, getting “on the treadmill” of life isn’t something to be recommended.
But for a Kate scarred by running in public, a gym treadmill offered the perfect cardio oasis.
Air-conditioned, mood lit, and pumping MTV … it was my version of Batman’s ab-enhancing jumpsuit:
It was beautiful, flattering anonymity.
The cardio cinema became my Bruce Wayne training ground, and Les Mills my Ra’s a Ghol.
Treadmill training prepped me for my first Wellington Round the Bays 10km race, and much to my surprise, it really was a “fun” run.
F•R•I•E•N•D•S with running
After my initial runner’s high Round the Bays, I did another couple of races, but always seemed to find myself in the same pattern:
- Wants to become “a runner”
- Trains on treadmill
- Does race
- Never wants to run again
- Decides wants to be “a runner” again …
I’m more will-they-won’t-they than Ross and Rachel.
So this time, I’m doing something different.
I’m learning to run.
The Postpartum Loop-Hole
As I discovered in every race ever, running outside is harder than being on the treadmill.
It’s like trying to drive a manual when you’re used to an auto. It all seems the same, but then there’s that third pedal, and you’re just like, w h a t.
I also used to be quite mean to myself about my running fitness. Because I could do 8km on the regular on a treadmill, I would beat myself up about struggling to do that outside.
Which is so dumb on so many levels. (Life’s much more fun if you treat yourself like you’re your own bestie).
Enter: the postpartum loop-hole.
I had a baby 10 months ago, and during that process, any running fitness I had went bye-bye along with my ability not to cry while watching This Is Us.
But I also learnt something else. Something, if we’re honest, I kinda already knew:
It was like all of a sudden I didn’t mind if I had to do walk/jog/walk between lampposts.
I didn’t feel like I “should” (the dirtiest, guiltiest of words) be able to do this already. The postpartum loop-hole gave me permission to be a beginner, and to be ok with starting at the bottom (now we here).
I had to have a baby to learn “the secret” (and get some bad ass lightening tattoos, which some people call stretch marks, but that’s cause they basic).
But all you’ve had to do is read this blog (… lazy?)
The secret is: Just go for it.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs” of “I shoulds”. If you want to try something.
Just go for it.
Start the blog (!). Book the tickets. Ask the question. Do the thing.
What’s the worst that could happen? You fail. Oh well. Everyone does that. Just learn from it, have a laugh, and move on.
Like me with running: I don’t really care if my face looks like a plum pudding when I run.
Because. I. Love. Running.
Well – I love the feeling directly after I finish running.
Endorphins, yeah, that’s what I love. Endorphins.
That and the amazing sense of pride I get after doing something stupid hard.
And that’s exactly what I felt when I took the photo at the top of this post. It’s me after doing my first outside run without stopping around my new regular neighbourhood route (which Strava tells me is a tidy little 4.3km.)
I’m feelin’ 22 21.0975
Now I can’t very well tell you to just go for it, and not get on board myself.
So, I’m going to try something too.
I’m going to do the Wellington Round the Bays this February. Except this time – I’m going to do the half-marathon.
Which you better believe I instantly regret putting onto the internet and making myself accountable to. But stuff it.
I’m going for it.
Kate Rates: Running
It’s ridiculous and hard, and it makes you feel like death and victory all at once.
Running is the best.
10/10, would recommend.
Have you ever done a half-marathon before? For the love of all that is holy, please. Help. Me. Any tips would be very much appreciated.
*On reflection, my taste was super questionable.