November 10, 2012 10:13 pm

The Annual Brief Running Phase

It seems like every fall, I go through a phase where I really feel like I should be a runner. Actually, let’s start this by saying I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. I was a competitive gymnast for a while, but the only running you do in gymnastics is on vault, which is really more like sprinting anyway. I am not built like a runner and I don’t enjoy it very much.

And yet, every fall something in me tells me I should start running. Slowly, of course, just like Doctor Mama says. (Sometimes I get really ambitious and I think I’ll take up Couch to 5k.)

I actually went through with the running attempt, twice, following Doctor Mama’s advice. The first time, I went out for a run and made it FIFTEEN WHOLE MINUTES before nearly having an exercise-induced asthma attack and giving up. The second time I tried, I made it eleven minutes and was nearing the asthma threshold again so I stopped. I didn’t feel confident enough to try it again.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to bring on my run – my phone? keys? id? – and I don’t know where to put the stuff I do bring or how to dress appropriately for weather/exertion. I often feel like people are staring at me because of it. My boobs are so huge that it takes at least two bras (one normal, one sports bra) to reign them in to an acceptable degree. I have proper shoes (from a running store of good repute, even) but that’s practically my only item in the “pro” column for running.

This year, the urge to run is hitting me a bit later, like now-ish. Part of my problem now (besides the above) is finding a suitable place to run. I like to have my path planned out ahead of time, but there aren’t very many decent sidewalks here and the only track in the city belongs to the high school, and I doubt they’d like some random yahoo showing up unannounced to use it. In the dead of winter, no less. Where do you running people go in the snow if you live in a small town and don’t have a gym membership?!

Plus, there’s the childcare problem. I have two strollers, both sucky for different reasons, and neither of which will work in the snow. I only ever feel like running when Wesley is napping and I can’t very well leave him by himself.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this post; mostly it’s amusing to me that this same running urge happens every year in the fall, and then goes away again. Does that sort of thing happen to anybody else? It’s pretty much always in the fall, and the urge to go running comes and goes for a month or so and then leaves for another year.

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  • Amanda says:

    Yes. Ive been trying to run for some time now. I go about once or twice in a week and then stop. I cant figure out where to go or how to dress or what to bring. I get tired way sooner than 11 minutes. And ive never in my life done any sort of sport or fitness activity outside of gym which was hell for different reasons. What I don’t get is why running. Why is this the thing that draws us even just fleetingly?

  • Erin says:

    I try to run every Sunday morning. Mostly because then Andy can watch the kids, most people are at church, and then I have the neighborhood all to myself. It’s actually a great place for me to run because of all the hills. I just push myself to make it to the next block. But it’s one of those subdivision’s so I kind of lucked out, location-wise.

    As far as gear, I have some Vibrams 5 fingers that I wear sometimes but mostly I just grab my black Adidas. I do the double sportsbra thing with a tank top covered with a long-sleeve shirt and a hoodie. Most important is my cellphone (it has built in MP3)!

  • B. says:

    No excuses, start today. You don’t need to plan your path in advance, just choose an area without cars and then go wherever you like. The only thing you’ll need is a good pair of shoes and socks, that’s it.
    I usually wear old t-shirts/ tank tops and shorts in the summer and add layers when it’s cold. So undershirt, t-shirt, long sleeve t, thermal sweater, etc according to the weather. I wear a pair of black leggins under my shorts when it’s really cold but in general your legs (thighs especially) get warm while you’re running. Gloves and beanie maybe, I don’t know where you live. And an handkerchief (runny nose).
    C5k is a great program, don’t be scared, I read about people dropping out so I thought I’d be one of them, guess what? 5k is my standard training now. My advice: time doesn’t matter, run whenever you can (as long as you’re safe outside), find a training partner – you don’t have to run together everytime, for the first weeks alternate between walk/run but never stop, don’t run too fast: try talking with your friend, if you’re out of breath it means you’re running too fast (biggest mistake you can make), don’t stop abruptly at the end, walk a few minutes and then stretch, always! Drink water. If you’re running alone always take your phone with you (I use it as an mp3 player and timer too, I keep it in my hand but you can invest in an armband if you want), my town is so small everyone knows everyone but if yours is big take some emergency identification with you, like roadID.
    Oh, don’t worry about other people, most of the time they don’t even care about what you’re doing, trust me, and as Moz said if the people stare…I’ll let you google that. I usually just smile and go on. If anything you should be proud of yourself. I’ve been a couch potato for many years and a few pounds overweight but if I did it, you can too. Running is running is addictive. If you have questions just ask.
    Oh if you have asthma, not a problem, but talk with your doctor first anyway.
    I read something about it in this book It’s a good read, maybe you can ask your library if they have it.

  • Rose says:

    I go through running phases. Usually during the summer. This year was probably my best year for running so I feel like I am slowly becoming more athletic.

    For the last year or two, I have run *almost* every Saturday/Sunday, so that’s less of a phase at this point and more of a habit. But the runs aren’t very strenuous and although I’ve never timed them, are probably only ten-fifteen minutes or so.

    Thru May/June/July of this year I ran almost every day after work and that was glorious and I felt SO GOOD about myself and I never even got to any extreme running point (at my best I ran about 25 minutes a day, so still nothing crazy)

    But then August came along and I was busy and then September and I was busy and now October & November and it’s always raining and dark and I hate the idea fo running in the wet dark.

    It’s crazy how much better you feel about yourself though when you’re in a running pattern. Running itself sucks but I think it’s worth it in the end.

    I’m terrified of age catching up with me and being like “Oh, you’ve been eating ten cookies a day with no ill effects? HA. Not anymore!!!” which means I’ve been trying really hard to stay healthy. It’s sort of working, although I ate a lot of cookies this weekend…

  • Rose says:

    Oops, you should fix my ‘fo’ to ‘of’ on the fourth paragraph :P