I have a bit of a confession to make: I f*cking hate running with a passion. It’s the most boring, painful, monotonous activity ever. When I was taking gymnastics as a kid I was the most unfit person on the entire team. I remember lagging behind all the other girls when we did ‘suicides’ (AKA “red lines”) or any other kind of cardio activity for conditioning. No wonder I never scored higher than an 8.6 on my floor routine. Same thing happened when I was on the soccer team in high school. Fortunately I was a fullback, which meant that the only person that did less running than me was our goalie.
However, I know that I need to learn how to run, and run well. Why?
1. I love hiking/backpacking. The one thing that stops me from tackling longer trips and steeper hikes (and bigger mountains) is the fact that I’m just not that in shape.
2. Despite having weak ankles after seven years of gymnastics, and bad knees after colliding with some dood during a soccer game in 2010, I want to get back into shape and play soccer once again. Sometime before I become senile.
3. Rule #1 (see ‘Zombieland’)
Since turning 34, I’ve made it a point to evaluate my (many) personal goals quarterly each year: every summer/winter solstice and spring/fall equinox (yes, it’s only happened once, but I think it’s a great idea. Thank you Armeezy). One of the things that has prevented me from making much progress on my goals is the fact that I work best when things are more tangible and measurable. “Running more often” is a bad way for me to frame a goal. So is “running twice a week” because it’s just not very motivating to me (I just think to myself, “what’s the point of running twice a week. Why not once a week? Why not never?”). My new and improved goal is to complete a triathalon by the end of 2013. I think that’s tangible enough. I’ll take it in small steps though: my first goal is to run a mile in less than 10 minutes. My second goal will be to run straight for 25 min, etc. We’ll see how that goes.
I’ve told a few of my friends about my mission to do a triathalon, which has helped a lot. Now I get invitations go to swimming (another thing that I suck at, which I’m sure would be a very useful skill to have if the zombie apocalypse ever breaks out), go running, etc.
Taking on the daunting task of completing a triathalon also goes in line with my new mantra: “Do things you don’t think you can do”, or “Do things that scare you shitless”. Nowadays I tell myself: If I can figure out how to get from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia by taking various modes of transportation through countries where I don’t speak the language, I’m sure I can (fill in the blank) too. In the past few years, I’ve surprised myself by doing a number of things that I never thought I could ever do. Like becoming a Co-Director of a small non-profit organization. Like going backpacking.
Today I went to the gym – the first time this entire year – and made the small goal of running on the treadmill for 15 minutes without stopping. To my utter surprise, it actually wasn’t that hard at all. While my ankles were hella sore and my knees were pretty unhappy with me, I found that I wasn’t even breathing hard after 15 minutes. I have to thank my short bike rides to work and my summer of camping and backpacking for my new and improved cardiovascular system. Sh!eeeeet…!