Taking up Running

In the beginning of all things we tend to feel quite silly. Picture me, chubby girl, jogging through my neighborhood. I’ve got the shoes, the shorts, a water bottle and of course the required music blaring in my ears. At this moment, my pace is nothing to brag about. My GPS phone app clocks me at 5 K  in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which they won’t. By the time I get a mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of walking and running in, I’m sweating like crazy. My calves burn and my knees are weak. I am no picture of athletic prowess.

Of course, it won’t always be like that. Eventually I’ll build up enough muscle to finish in half that time. Hopefully I won’t be as sore. My stride will look stronger and my run will be more fluid. I picture myself like as a leaner version than now, running like a gazelle through the neighborhood. Onlookers will be in awe of my agility. I wonder if I should take my hair out of the ponytail. Hmmm, then the wind could blow it as I run. I would also be in color coordinated clothing. Shoes, shorts and tank top all coordinated. Yeah, I look like I belong.

It’s humorous because when I started with my old tank top and 10-year-old shorts and shoes, I felt awkward. Pretending. I’m pretending to be a runner because it’s cool. It’s trendy now. And I hate being trendy. Aside: Running vs jogging. The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people. I’m not sure where this started except possibly in the marathon running group. You can’t jog a marathon, right? When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging tends to imply you are trotting along through the neighborhood with no intent to do any more, as opposed to running. In the case of running people tend to mean that they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s all speculative.

As I was saying at the start, when I started running, while wearing my out of date shoes, I felt awkward. So to legitimize myself I purchased some official running gear. The funny thing about that is the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, I know, it’s really 14% and I’m exaggerating, but they are skinny girls. My BMI is a lot higher than that. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them. My BMI is nicely bumped over the 25% that is the line to cross to become unlovely and overweight. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Now that I have my running gear, at least I know the shoes are not going to injure my knees and shins. With time, I will develop the strange quirks that go with being a runner. I don’t know if I will ever feel authentic because my mental picture is so hero-i-fied that no true person could meet it. I think we do that with a lot of things. Even being an adult, which is something that comes with age and we don’t truly earn, the mere act of not dying brings us to it, we can feel like we are a fake. In the beginning of every attempt, we step one foot in front of the other until we’ve trained our senses to become familiar with our new task. Adulthood, parenting, hobbies and vocations are all that way. It always feels strained. Not quite right. Awkward. Like everyone sees your stumbling and fumbling. That actually makes me smile. Even though I may not reach gazelle-like grace in my running, eventually even I can become comfortable jogging and running about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes.

Author: janetkwest

Janet West has been a writer since the late 1990s. When someone asked, "If nothing were impossible, what would she do?" The answer was automatic. Write. When she crafted her ideas into words, she felt alive. Her early writing years were in child development magazines, but now her interests have expanded. Although the love of learning and teaching is still the core of who she is.

4 thoughts on “Taking up Running”

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