I’ve been running for 10 months. No no…not non-stop. That’s a Forrest Gump thing.
On my planet this includes the three months in the winter when I only ran a handful of times. I figure since I at least thought about it and felt guilty when I didn’t run, it counts for something.
Interestingly (or maybe not), the jury is still out about whether I love running. When my buddy from Calgary accompanied me on my inaugural run last July to get me started on a beginner plan, my goals were 1) fitness and 2) weight loss. Regarding the first goal, I think I’m onto something. Except for the times my body hates me for running, that is.
Many people told me the first few weeks and months are the hardest and oh my. Were they right. I started off afflicted with a Small Angry Muscle in my right calf. As I worked through that some sort of weird foot thing flared up on the left. It disappeared and pain gravitated to my right hip. Eventually these things seem to work themselves through with the right combination of ice, stretching and rest. Oh and ibuprofen. And how could I forget A535? I can tell you Groom-boy definitely prefers the scent-free version when he walks into the house.
If I were easily swayed by pain, I’d probably be back to walking. I might even be a swimmer. Actually, I’d probably be a couch potato. Oh, and I’d have no children, either. Anyway, this is not a column about labour and delivery, although I’m sure a running metaphor could be thrown in there somewhere.
Then there’s that whole weight loss thing. Yeah.
About eight or nine months into my running journey I complained, again, to my Calgary friend about how much weight I’m not losing. She, who is a more experienced runner than I am, laughed.
“Did I not tell you that you don’t lose weight by running?”
There are a bunch of theories floating around about that. One is that the more you run, the more your head tricks you into thinking you can eat. You run, you’re hungry, it’s okay to eat. That doesn’t mean you can eat anything, dummy. (Note to self: Eat more celery with a side of air and water.)
Another theory is that “fat weighs less than muscle” thing. Uh huh. One would think I’d have built all the muscle by now.
Then there’s the whole “you need to cross-train” and “your body gets too used to one type of exercise” thing. Making more frequent and different types of exercise a reality on my little planet is a fairly significant challenge at the moment, though.
Ten months into this adventure, I can run 5 or 6 kilometres non-stop (yes!) without various parts of my body routinely threatening to stage a bloody coup. I feel pretty good about the fit goal.
I still need to work on my eating habits and I know more and different exercise would help with the weight loss, but I’m no longer looking to running to solve my little “it’s bathing suit season – aaaaaaah!” problem.
I have a new goal, and I alluded to it in a column a couple of weeks ago. Goal 3: keeping my head from exploding. For all those times when I had to ice, medicate and slather various limbs in A535, or when I struggled down the street panting and weaving in the heat, or when I stepped on the scale for the umpteenth time and still there was no darned movement, there remained one constant. Nothing clears my addled head like running does.
It may not last overly long, but it’s enough. It’s a happy feeling. It’s energy. It’s kind of bizarre, actually. The endorphins alone are nice, but that feeling of passing another milestone (6K) is good, too. Really good! So that’s why I’m now officially annoyed with myself for not registering for the Kilt Run.
So you may not see me running around town in a kilt, but at least my head is unlikely to explode. I suppose this means I kinda do like the running.
Published in The Perth Courier, May 20/10