Learn to Run

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Still no running. My person finally accepted this as fact and emailed the Learn to Run facilitator to let her know we weren’t simply ditching the training sessions, or, gasp! giving up. She explained that these next few weeks would hopefully be a small glitch in our long term goals and as soon as we were cleared to begin training, we’d be back ‘on track’ -pun completely intended.

I don’t know the name of the woman who headed up the group and acted as lead mentor, but I have met her shoes, Positive, and so I knew she’d be supportive. What I hadn’t expected was just how so… She promised to save one of the medals we’d have been running for if allowed to participate in the race later this month and present it to us upon completion of our first 5K. Even I got a little teary eyed at that, and I’m no where near as emotional as my person- ole waterworks herself.

mhrrc

I already knew that the running sneaker community is comprised of the type of shoes that welcome “newbies” with open laces. It’s nice to be consistently reminded by the actions of their people that they too are friendly and outgoing, and that they enjoy helping those new to this sport in any way that they can. So many people think that that runners are snotty, or stuck up, that they look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t make putting a few (or many) miles in each day a priority. Those people couldn’t be more wrong.

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Betwix

Week number six of our Learn to Run program -with tonight’s session we’ve made it to the halfway point. A three minute walk, followed by a seven minute run. Times three. As hard as it felt, we did it! Which wouldn’t have felt possible a few weeks ago. Having a support system is a definite plus. Running buddies, especially those who are so much more advanced is helpful because they not only provide encouragement but offer a distraction. Advice dispensed, stories told and time &/or distance tracked. I, for two, am so grateful for my person’s supportive friends’ athletic shoes that have made the journey to this point so much smoother, and enjoyable.

Truth be told, this week, I didn’t need much help being distracted. During one of our seven minute stints, I concentrated super hard on getting my person to think about the question burning in my sole since our last run. Turns out she was concentrating equally hard on breathing so it wasn’t until we hit a walk phase that she picked up what I was puttin’ down and asked her running mates what the deal is about sneaker replacement. Human lives are measured in time- seconds, minutes, hours. Days, weeks, months, years. I had always thought that my life span was counted similarly. Nope. Mileage. As in how many miles I transverse. To makes matters worse, its seems the number of miles is at each runners’ discretion. Seriously, it differed for each runner asked, with numbers ranging from 400 to 600-ish. Ish? What does ish mean?

At what mile do you suppose THAT happened?

At what mile do you suppose THAT happened?

Great, more questions for me to mull over in box tonight rather than sleep. How long is a mile? How many miles have we covered so far? How many between here & and November? How many will I be allowed before forced retirement?

In effort to focus on the positive, I will say that my person seemed to take this news in the same context as I. She even commented at one point how attached she already felt to me (awwwwww!) so I am confident that she will make the right decisions as far as my life span.

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.

(Not Exactly) A Walk In The Park

Man. I guess I underestimated this whole running thing. Or, I totally overestimated my own abilities. My person and I started our Learn to Run program yesterday I was completely unprepared. Completely.

A. It was cold. Not like, a little bit cold, but f r e e z i n g. Like in the twenties. There was even some snow. Obviously, I can’t see out the car windows, from the floor, but I definitely heard the panicked chatter from above, and they said snow. More than once. Granted, it stopped by the time we arrived at the park but still, snow. The fact that it had stopped was really only a slight improvement to the weather, because it was still soooo cold. Don’t forget, I’m in direct contact with the ground, still covered in large part by ice and snow.

B. This shit is hard. Like the actual walking. I know, I know, I have been all braggy and what have you because of all my “training” and having been made for the sole purpose of running (no pun intended). Yeah, all of that- whatevs! I was not ready for the act of walking with feet, helping to act as cushion between whole human person and the (freezing cold) ground. I don’t really know her stride yet so there was a lot of unpredictability as to when and how she’d land each step. And there was so. many. steps. Remember how I laughed at the concept of walking for a half hour? Yeah, well, who’d laughing now? Not these shoes! We went up and down hills. Plural. Thank God we weren’t running yet, I would never have made it.

C. It’s still not really over. I am sore. All over. Both of my uppers and my laces from holding on to her feet. My soles ache from all that cushion providing. Plus, I couldn’t relax and remained tense in an effort to get warm. What’s especially unnerving is that even though I am so tired, from all that work reacting in order to provide support and the proper pressure at the correct time and place, I am all keyed up and wide awake. Being in box does help, but I wish I could sleep. Though, who knows how I’ll feel in the morning. Hashtag, a little scared of that.

I was wrong. And am shoe enough to admit it.

Bright sides of my evening…

A. Lots of other shoes appeared to be struggling with the same issues. Everyone seemed friendly too, smiles all around, but really, not many seemed up for chatting just yet. If anyone had even uttered hello, I doubt I’d have been able to respond. There is definitely something about being in the same boat though. I guess we’re going to be doing this same workout a few times in this coming week so I am thinking that each meeting with the group will get a little easier.

B. I managed to avoid stepping on both ice and dog poop. Plus, double plus right there.

C. We definitely bonded. I could tell that some of the hills weren’t exactly a walk in the park for her either, even though, technically that’s what we were doing. She never stopped though. No matter how winded she felt, or tired she was, she kept going. In fact, I have a confession to make- I totally gave her a blister. I know, like the worst thing I could’ve done. I feel awful about it. Traitorous almost & embarrassed. I wasn’t even going to say anything but it felt wrong to leave that out. She took it in total stride though. We came home, she slapped a Band-Aid on it and really, other than mention it to her husband, hasn’t complained since. I think she knows it was a complete accident. Wheeew. Bright side right there!

I’m proud of her. Of both of us. We are going to kick so much heel! (eventually)

Since so many of you inquired... green! I wore the green ones for my maiden voyage.

Since so many of you inquired… green! I wore the green ones for my maiden voyage.

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, my new person? Get this- she hasn’t run since college.
I’m not saying she’s ancient, but really, her college days were long before I was even a gleam in Poppa Asics eyelets.

She’s cool and very much a shoe lover, but I was so looking forward to putting all my training to good use. I have been chomping at the bit to get out there and really run, but it looks like we will be walking before that happens. Literally. Seems she signed up for a newbie runners program and I caught sight of the schedule- 1st week, walking. 30 minutes, non-stop- whooooo.

I wish Torie was here, she & I could talk about anything. She would totally help me put this all into perspective. I probably don’t even have to say that I really miss he who has never been named, right? We at least knew enough to keep it light, since there was always the possibility of one us leaving at any time. Truth be told, I can not believe it wasn’t him- this season, fancy athletic shoe like that, with all those “bells & whistles” as Torie & I liked to joke. Sigh. Perhaps one day we’ll “run” (haha) into each other out in the world. Though, its super doubtful what with me being among so many not-yet runners, at least for a while. He was definitely not the shoe for a newbie.

I have to stop being ungrateful. I am so happy to be out of the store but now that all the things that I dreamed would be waiting for me out here in the world are still a long way off I have to find new things to be thankful for…
For one thing, I was NOT joking when I said my person is a shoe lover, you should see it here! It’s almost as if I didn’t leave the department store- there are that many of us here. Making new friends shouldn’t be too hard, especially since there is far less possibility of any one of us getting whisked away to a new home at any given moment. Which is actually a really big deal. I’ve had to say goodbye to enough friends to relish the opportunity to make some lasting friendships.