Fitness Articles

''I Can Finally Call Myself a Runner''

My First Mile Wasn't as Bad as I Expected

"I only run when chased."

That was my answer anytime I was asked about running, otherwise known as torture disguised as exercise.

The way I saw it, there were only two reasons to run:

1. to catch a bus, plane or train
2. to outrun someone chasing me (This never happened, but I imagined myself screaming, arms flailing, heels breaking and purse flapping on my arm.)

Running made my lungs burn, my shins ache and my body feel like it was being shaken violently. Though I could get through an entire Spinning class or 45 minutes on the elliptical with no problem, I could only manage to run a block or two before giving up.

Still, most of my friends are runners, at least casually. I've greeted friends at the end of marathons, celebrated their success after 10Ks and helped them carbo-load before big races. But I was always happy just supporting them.

Sometime last year, I saved the SparkPeople article You Can Run a Mile Without Stopping. "Maybe someday," I said. "Someday I'll be able to run a mile."

All winter long, I happily took Spinning classes, sweating and pedaling my way across unseen hilled terrain. After months of cold, dark days, an unexpected burst of sunshine one Sunday in February made me reconsider my deep-held aversion to running.

I decided to try running because I was feeling lazy and I don't like to drive. I wanted to hit the gym and go to the pharmacy, but I didn't want to get in the car on such a gorgeous day. So I decided I could walk to a nearby pharmacy instead, but that short walk wouldn't give me very much cardio. I was craving an intense cardio workout without the constraints of the gym walls.

Feeling particularly ambitious, I decided to run to the pharmacy, then walk home with my purchase.

"Yes," I decided. "I'll run. I'm SURE I can run at least the half-mile to the pharmacy."

I set out, heart rate monitor on and iPod stocked with a new, upbeat playlist. I had some cash, a reusable bag in my jacket pocket, and my apartment key. I was ready--but nervous and slightly dreading the impending workout.

"Slow and steady," I reminded myself as I headed out. The wind was lightly blowing, and with the sun shining on me, it was about 65 degrees. The sun felt great, and so did I. After two blocks, my lungs weren't burning, my legs weren't aching, and my mind wasn't giving up on me.
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article. I used to be a runner. I loved running more than anything. I now have super bad knees and a total knee too. I was told not to jog, run or jump if I wanted my knee to last. That just stinks. But I love reading other's stories of how they got started and you are definitely on your way!

    Good Luck in your 5K. :D


    Nola - 6/15/2015 12:33:39 PM
    Good story, still don't want to run though, waste of time and energy, too many other things to do in life. Maybe if I lived in a rural area and alone though. - 4/28/2015 8:11:38 AM
  • Love it! Good job! I'd like to be able to run some day, but for now I will continue to train (on my elliptical) for that day. Thanks for the inspiration. :) - 11/6/2014 3:36:11 PM
  • Decidedly not my story! If you sense some jealousy here, you would be right. I have walked two half marathons in just over 3 hours and recently decided the only way to do a sub half marathon for me was to add in some running. Oh, my gosh! Running is so freaking hard. So far I am up to 3 minutes 15 seconds running with 2 minutes walking and I have been working on this since my last half marathon, December 1st. Doubt I will ever be able to run a complete 5K. Yes, I have exercise enduced asthma and do take my inhaler before I run, but it is still so dang hard. Keep considering giving up, or at least wanting to whine about how hard it is. - 5/25/2014 4:35:24 PM
  • Great Story thanks for sharing - 5/25/2014 1:05:09 PM
  • Great story. I've never been a runner and don't have an inclination to run. I prefer to walk and at 70 don't think I'll take up running. - 5/25/2014 6:29:31 AM
    I loved this article. I recently started a run/walk routine I like to refer to as "jogging" :D. My husband has been patient and supportive by running alongside me, even though he could easily outrun me. Running is a great exercise, and I agree that as long as the effort is there, you're doing a great job. I too do not see myself training for a marathon either, but I am excited to run my first 5k in January! Wish me luck! - 11/14/2013 12:18:31 PM
  • This article made me feel so much better, and definitely provided motivation!! Thank you!! - 10/28/2013 10:41:11 AM
  • Your excuses for running (or rather, NOT running) were the same as mine! I could actually hear my voice saying those same things! LOL! Well, you have almost convinced me that I may actually run someday. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. - 6/20/2013 4:42:42 PM
  • I was the same way. You run that first time and smile because you didn't think you could do it! That motivates you and pretty soon you're running when, in fact, you once despised running! - 2/5/2013 11:30:47 AM
  • PAUL2274
    Fantastic! That is how it kinda started for me... thought I couldn't do it then I started and I could run further than I thought. - 2/5/2013 9:32:59 AM
  • That's great! My son is a sprinter, not a runner, but he wanted Doritos from the corner store during the Super Bowl half time so I told him I'd get them only if he jogged to the store with me. It's about 3/4 mile round trip and we had fun. Now he knows he can do almost a mile. LOL - 2/5/2013 8:06:23 AM
  • JENNIW77
    I think this is a great article and very inspiring. It is very similar to my own story of how I recently began my running journey. I had always tried to run and got out of breath, and my legs would hurt. Don't get me wrong, walking is fantastic for you, and for many, is the best form of cardio. After reading some comments, I realized that many people think that this girl just suddenly decided to start running one day, with little cardio training. In the article, she said she does spinning. For those who have never tried this, you are missing out! This, next to running, is the best intense cardio workout I have ever done. After around 9 months of spinning classes 5 days a week, I too decided one day, to try running again. I amazed myself that I could run for 20 min without stopping! This was because of my cardio and muscle endurance improvement from my spinning classes. I just didn't realize how much it had improved my endurance. Even my legs didn't hurt like before.
    So running isn't for everyone, I do understand, but for those who want an extra boost in cardio, where there body, both heart and joints will allow them without injury, is really worth giving a try. You just have to work up to it :) - 10/27/2012 2:08:53 PM
  • What an inspiring story. I need to get some faith to think I can run a marathon but want to do while I can as knees go out later. I hope to get where you are and run my first marathon someday soon. I was always an athlete when younger but after 40 it's hard to get that thing off the couch after a long day of work. - 9/4/2012 9:28:56 PM
  • It's nice that you were in such great shape that you could just start running without any kind of work up into it.
    I used to run, those days are over. Two knee replacements, no running. But some brisk walking, a little easy jogging is good for those who can't run or don't want to.
    So run on runners, just watch those knees. They take a pounding and sometime in the future they might give out. - 8/3/2012 8:13:02 PM

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