First it was Bec o' my heart suggested running as a great way to slow the aging process, so why not go running with her? (Never mind that we live in different cities, in adjacent valleys.)
Well, okay, that wasn't actually first, but for my current late-night blog purposes, that was first.
Then I had The Dream that I was in pre-training for a half-marathon. (Oh, yeah, and Bec o' my heart was training for one herself when she made her suggestion to me.)
Next day after The Dream I decided there was something significant in it, and made a decision that I'd buy some running shoes. Real ones. Quality-like-I've-never-had-on-my-feet-before running shoes, the kind that would set me back financially but hopefully propel me forward at the same time.
That evening, my friend Sherry invited me to join an early morning walking group and also to consider signing up for the Lavender Days 5K Run/Walk.
After hearing me go on about all this, sweet Rob did some supportive research on local vendors and chauffeured me north to a runner's shop to buy shoes. We arrived just as the employees were closing up shop. But I started walking with the early morn-ers anyway that week. And came home with shin splints.
I went back to the store alone. Two in-store sports watched me run . . . and run and run . . . and analyzed my form and put me in a half-hour's worth of swap-'em-out shoes. I ran the length of that strip mall parking lot over and over and over, in a skirt, huffing and puffing, testing and trying. I came away with great shoes. And shin splints.
I walked with the pre-dawn gals again, and was forced to admit that my insomniac tendencies weren't allowing me to become the extreme morning person I'd hoped to as rapidly as I'd planned, so I turned off my alarm. Anyway, my brain chemistry really needs the benefit of full sunshine; the time I spend hoofing it around town needs to be making me some seratonin while I take my exercise. I walked with Rob when I got a chance. I rode my bike. I ventured out into the light.
A few late nights ago I stayed up reading about running. That was still technically progressing toward the goal, even if it didn't exactly get me moving, right? One important thing came of my study: I found a workable schedule for pacing myself, called The Couch-to-5K Running Plan. Not a very flattering name—it definitely causes me to feel the ouch in "couch"—but there it is, a good place to start.
And today? Today I ran. I stretched, I warmed up, I alternated running (oh, hahahahahahahaaa!) with walking. I made it to the cemetery and surprisingly didn't have to take up residence. I dragged myself home, and I stretched some more. Then I said to myself the rest of the day, "I'm a runner." With no shin splints.
Then this evening I saw Sherry again and she reminded me of the Lavender Days 5K. I may be out of state when it happens, but yes, I'm going to train for it.
I'm enlarging my definition of a runner to include someone newly emerging from couch cushions: me.
So, did you hear? I'm a runner. Yeah, really. Go ahead, lap me. See if I care.