Friday, June 10, 2011

Been running

Before the wedding, there was the bachelorette party.  No strippers or bawdy behavior was involved, but it was nonetheless challenging.  The bride-to-be, ever the athlete and wanting to keep up with her look-awesome-in-my-wedding-dress fitness routine, wanted to do a 10K run, and then go to the spa.  She worried about me, though: I'd run probably less than a handful of times as an adult, and I don't like to be touched by strangers. "I realize these are the two things you like to do least, Jean. Are you going to be able to handle it?" she asked.  "It's for your bachelorette party," I replied, "Of course I'm in!"

I was truly all for it, but dilly-dallied on starting my running training.  And on the registering.  So when I finally went to the website, the race was full.  Most people initially said that I did that strategically, but I really didn't!  I truly wanted to try running!  And a 10K with other gals that I know seemed like such a cool way to start!  Alas.

I got to contribute to the fun by designing the bachelorette party favor/gift: a dry-weave running shirt.  I'm not a designer by any means, but it was fun to get the creative juices flowing to come up with a concept and see it all come together.  I envisioned something simple and graphic, and decided on shoes: running sneaks, spa slippers, and heels for going out. By brother, the art student, helped me with the graphics, but I did the layout and formatting -- on Microsoft Word! I also made a small graphic commemorating the name of the event for the front.  The final shirts were printed in black ink on grey shirts; the bride's shirt was white, of course:

They were a hit!  The ladies who came out for the run were glad not to have to wear the standard issue boxy t-shirts, and C got a lot of positive attention from people who noticed our "team."  One lady stopped her afterwards to show the shirt to her group of friends, saying, "I'm totally going to steal your idea."  Awesome!

I got one of those t-shirts, but was was I going to do with it?  Why, START RUNNING -- naturally!

You read that right.  I. Started. Running. Never thought I would. Seriously, never. I am a swimmer! Oh, the pounding, the sweat! My ears get cold!

But I started. I discovered podcasts (iPhone lurve) and just fininshed Week 4 of a 9-week couch-to-5K plan. Believe me, it's not easy. But. It's getting easier. Which means... I'm improving!  Four weeks ago I started off doing eight intervals of 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking -- counting down each running segment, and relishing whenever I got to walk.  This week, I did three minutes running, 90 seconds walking, five minutes running, two and a half minutes walking. Will Rogers 5K? Catalina Eco 10K? Tinker Bell half marathon?  We'll see.

At 103 lbs., I'm not doing this to lose weight but rather to get active and healthy, a component of my Be Good to My Body set of resolutions. Plus, all my gals run, so it's something we can do together. After running by myself for three weeks, it was nice to put a run in before dinner with the gals.

It will probably do me some good to participate in a clinic to learn proper stride and pace and other technicalities, and I will probably break my buy-nothing-new resolution to get a proper pair of shoes, but will make do with what clothes I have:

Eventually I'd like to be able to run without the tunes, so I can use the time to flush out thoughts, decompress, and enjoy the amazing houses and landscapes in my neighborhood.  Running's not that intuitive to me (yet?) so right now,  the podcast gives me a feeling of running with a buddy, while providing music and interval timing.  One day I might even venture into running with actual people and not just a recorded voice.  One step at a time, though (literally!).

Running has definitely affected how I keep my schedule: if I have something to do after work, I make sure I change and hit the road within 15 minutes of walking in the door (or it'll never happen); once, knowing I was going to have a full evening, I woke up early to run before work.  The light and temperature felt very different with the waxing sun!  It was a long day, but I found myself not tired at all. I just might do that once a week, just to mix it up a bit. 'Cause I'm CRAZY like that.

*Deep breath and smile* I like where I am.  I like seeing the tremendous progress I've made over just four short weeks.  I like that I feel healthier and -- more importantly -- stronger.  Life's good.

What about you, reader? Are you taking up any new hobbies or new challenges?


  1. LOVE the shirts!

    Congratulations on starting–and sticking to—a running program! I've never had success with that myself, though I like the IDEA of running. I actually have a hard time running outside in my neighborhood: having to pay attention to sidewalks, cars, other people, etc., makes it hard for me to get into a groove.

    Shoes: have you looked in the Vibram's Five Fingers shoes? I SO want to get a pair of those. But I can't really justify their price tag. Well, not unless I get into running... :)

  2. [...] “punishment” for not participating in the bachelorette 10K was to write name tags for the Jamaica wedding guests’ destination gift bags. No sweat, as I [...]

  3. Thanks, Marsha! I'm lucky that I live in a neighborhood where there are wide streets! I'm supposed to go shoe shopping with a friend soon. I've read about all the new shoes out there in the paper, but I think I'll stick to something basic (i.e., more traditional) for my first pair. I had a pair of novelty "toe" socks but could never get used to the extra gaps between my toes!

  4. [...] about them, so I’m in. That resolve has gotten me through things like the possibility of a 10K run, my first trip to the spa (I don’t like being touched by strangers) — and oh, that one [...]