''I Can Finally Call Myself a Runner''

"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.

I kept going, past the pharmacy, past the next landmark I set for myself, and past a third landmark. I ran for 20 minutes straight—far more than the mile I'd thought I couldn't run at all!

I cooled down, walked to the pharmacy and then headed home. The sun was still shining, I was smiling, and I thought about whether the weather would hold out so I could run again soon!

Since then, I've run a few more times, usually for about two miles each time. There are no rules about how fast to run or how far you have to go to be a runner. You won't find me training for a marathon any time soon (or probably ever!), but I would like to run a 5K for fun this summer.

As it turns out, running isn't torture disguised as exercise. It's actually fun!
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Member Comments

Love the posts. Report
great Report
Great article! I didn't start running until I was 40. I'v never run farther than a 5K but I've enjoy it and have learned that it doesn't matter if I am slow and if I have bad days and walk part of the way, the point is I get out and I try and I run and that a slow run is better than no run at all! There are probably people that walk faster than I run, but I do what I can. Report
Such a great thing to be able to call ones self a “runner” - took me years to think of myself in this term :) Report
Not running yet but I want to. Report
I love to run, it clears my mind Report
Being an actual person who DOES run marathons I talk to people all the time whom will have nothing to do with running. The stress relief & calm it gives me is amazing! It’s only hard if you make it, just give it a try :) Report
My dog likes to “make” me run periodically during our walks. Report
GREAT Report
I sometimes include a little running during my walk. Report
Great article thanks for the information Report
great. Report
I jog a liittle on thr treadmill once and a while when I'm on the tread Report
I would love to run again. Both of my knees are so bad that I can only walk short distances before I have to sit. Great job! Report
I would love to run again but I don't think that I can now. I love it and I loved your message. Report


 

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.


Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.