Bill used to try to convince me that we’re all born to run but I really didn’t buy it. I for one was Exhibit A that some humans are absolutely not born for that. But then we spent time at a few crowded family gatherings and I became a believer.
First it was, sadly, the visitation and memorial service for Bill’s dad, who passed away after Alzheimer’s Disease and eventually pneumonia took over his body. The funeral home was packed. I noticed, and several people commented, that all the little kids were running around, chasing each other, weaving in and out of the groups of adults who were talking. The kids weren’t being loud or causing any trouble. They were just doing what came naturally.
It reminded me of…
being at my great grandmother’s viewing when I was a little girl. I remember a large funeral home with a porch in front, and I was playing tag with other kids. Apparently this is very common… my bonus daughters were talking about their memory of running around at a funeral home when they were very young too.
The day after Bill’s dad’s memorial service, there was a family gathering at the camp where their dad lived and worked as the caretaker. They all had incredibly fond memories of years of large family gatherings there: sledding, hiking, eating his homemade pies & breads.
We were hanging out, visiting and eating in a large dining hall and again there were adorable little kids running around. All afternoon. They ran from place to place, they chased each other, and they hid behind adults. They weren’t loud or causing any trouble. They were just going what came naturally.
I remember years of watching my children run… all over the house, the yard, the grocery store, the pool deck, the soccer field, church, Disney World…. I remember when my oldest daughter was in middle school and told me she didn’t need me to drive her somewhere a few blocks away because she felt like running there with her friend. I remember my youngest daughter begging to run 5K races in elementary school. And then of course there was my son, who pretty much didn’t stop moving from 3 months old to 15 years old.
And when I think about it, I even remember myself… running down the dead end street my family lived on when I was about 2 – 4 years old. I have both visual and visceral memories – I remember the houses and cars around me and throwing my head back and running as fast as I could, swinging my hair around to let it blow in the wind and in my face.
I don’t remember running or liking to run after about age 10. And I’ve watched all of my kids grow sour about running.
But barring disability, no one has to tell a toddler or little kid to run. They’re just doing what comes naturally.
Why do you think we lose that?
After 45 years of believing was torture, I had started building muscle and cardiovascular strength and shedding pounds. Then there was a beautiful Sunday spring afternoon when I left my house for a walk, put the headphones on, went about 25 yards, and something inside me said, “run.”
Walking was too slow.
So I ran.
And as I made it past the one block distance I couldn’t run a few years earlier, and the lyrics in my headphones were saying, “Spend your whole life living in the past / Going nowhere fast” (Glass of Water, Coldplay), I wiped away some tears and kept running.
Before I get too carried away with my inspirational story, let me say that my victory lap was about 1/2 mile and I was quickly out of breath. For months I would keep trying to run but could barely make a mile. I blamed it on the multiple bouts of pneumonia I had as a teenager. “Obviously my lungs will never be able to handle running.”
So then Bill Thompson entered the picture and I guess he figured he could give me a few pointers about running. I thought some of them were just silly, wouldn’t make any difference and didn’t apply to me, but after giving in and trying all of them, I will admit:
THEY ALL WORKED.
I’ve also learned some things on my own about my personal preferences and the way my body works. Now after a few years of running I can honestly say I love it! And there are (more and more) days when I truly feel like I need to run. My goal is to run a half marathon this year. [UPDATE: I ran the Nashville Half Marathon in November 2015].
So whether you’re already trying to run and feeling frustrated that it’s not getting any easier,
or you’re a little intrigued about whether you can tap back into that little kid in you who loved to run, or you’ve pondered those couch-to-5K programs but you can’t believe you could actually succeed…
Try these 10 tips and then please get back to me and tell me how it’s going!