That Last Run- it Kicked. My. Heels.

The ridiculously un-Spring like weather of late has thrown us off schedule. Our Learn to Run course is typically held on Thursdays, but this week’s forecast caused it to be canceled a day in advance- rescheduled to be held on Friday evening instead. Not to be outdone by the continued wind and cold, we headed out for an extra “homework” run Thursday when everyone got home from work. Each week, we have to repeat what we have learned at least twice and though we plan for three, four is optimal. With four walk/runs under our belt this week, I felt completely prepared for class- all proud to be making the effort to attend the non-mandatory make up, temps once again the low 30s be damned!

As usual, there was the warming up and stretching before we could be on our way- the plan was walk four minutes, run for two- five times with a three minute cool-down walk. Easy peasy, right? I mean, we’ve been doing one minute at a time all week. It’s always rough in the beginning but by the time we return home each time, it has gotten easier with each interval. So, when the coordinator yelled “run” for our first two minutes, I knew it would be tough, but it would get eventually get easier each time. Except that either that chick’s watch is way broken, or two minutes is an eternity. Seriously, hours seemed to pass by the time she said we could walk again. Hours. The heavy breathing ban from last week must’ve been lifted because I could hear my person panting away. Seeing as how long two minutes felt, I knew recovery time would be twice as long and so, wasn’t going to stress. Except that before I felt ready I heard the cry of “run” from up ahead and off we went again. This time it was even harder. Conversations swirled around and I tried to find a fixed point up ahead to concentrate on as the seconds p a s s e d, far slower than the shoes on either side of me. Three weeks later, she said we could walk again. All I could think about was that we weren’t even half way done and if I didn’t die right here on the path, my person would and either way, we’d be lying on the cold, hard ground, unable to move. At this point, even walking wasn’t making things easy.

Have I mentioned the hills? The park path is like a rollercoaster. & really, its March, when will that promised land- “the track” be clear of snow and usable? Everyone keeps saying how fabulous it is- all flat and downright cushiony. Not what I would call helpful information at the moment. I am thinking awful, terrible things about the people singing these praises when minute sixteen arrives, 2 minute run number three- and we are mid-incline, I shit you not. Only we’re not running. I am like, I know I heard the “run” call and then I know that even those behind us did, because I can hear them tell my person that we’re all supposed to be running. Her reply…

I am incapable

left me cold. As in nothing to do with the weather cold. What? Incapable? Like, ever? Like, for now? Every one is passing us. I am watching their shoes continue to advance further away and we are still walking. I can hear her breathing and it ain’t pretty, folks. Turns out my person has a running buddy- a sporty chick with super cool shoes, both of whom are far more advanced than either of us. I’d noticed her the other weeks, I hadn’t realized our proximity was deliberate. Within moments it was just us four and the two of them, the rest of the class long gone. Not complaining, it was actually much nicer that way. I could hear the encouraging words being spoken above and before I knew it, we were running again, having only missed out on 2 minutes. My new friend, Serious, also whispered encouragement as we somehow managed to just about, kinda, almost complete two minutes. I remember little else- there was more walking, more support from Serious and I think some more running. There must have been that cool down walk as well. I can recall standing in the parking area while everyone was participating in some post stretching and I could actually feel my person wanting water- that’s how thirsty she was. I could also feel her wavering on her feet & when I looked up, man, was she pale. Her cheeks had been bright as cherries a moment ago. The only stretching she was managing was bending at the waist and let her head hang down, in a duel effort to get the blood flowing to her brain and keep the black spots at the edge of her vision to herself. I was practically feeling sick to my stomach right along with her. Before I was able to decide if bringing her to someone’s attention was wise, or dramatic, everyone was saying their goodbyes and we were heading back to the car. A bottle of water and a half hour car ride later, we were home and I could tell she was feeling much better. I was so relieved I could’ve cried.
Except that we’re going to have to repeat this a few times over the next week.
We both cried.

My new friend- Serious. We'd never have made it through this week's run/walk without the support of Serious and her person.

My new friend -Strength. We’d never have made it through this week’s run/walk without the support of Strength and her person.

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