It's time to say it. I've been running for a few weeks now. I have always stayed in pretty good shape, but I never believed I could run for exercise. I've been inspired by Gretchen McElveen and Cathy Zielske to try it out. Cathy recommended reading John Bingham's work, and I'm reading his book The Courage to Start, which has some sage advice from a seasoned runner on everything from common beginning mistakes to how running has changed him not only physically but emotionally too.
So what I have learned in these weeks is:
1) I'm still not sure I can do this. My heart and lungs are taking to it a lot better than my joints. I was doing great until this week, when I started having some left knee pain. I think I have zeroed in on the problem, though, and I'm doing some exercises. So far, so good, but this is still a wait-and-see proposition.
2) As much as I hate to get up at 5:30, running in 95-degree heat just isn't smart.
3) Small victories count. Just to get out there is really saying something. Some days are better than others, and I need to learn to be content with whatever my body can do on any given day.
4) My husband is supportive! Yes, he is always supportive, but I was afraid he would frown at this, because he thinks running is hard on you as you get older. But he is celebrating my successes and cheering me through the painful moments. And he likes my more toned physique!
5) Running on the open road in the wee hours is just exhilarating. It's relatively cool, the birds are chirping, and it's just a great time to think.
If you haven't tried this, I would encourage you to give it a shot. Just move your body to the extent you can. When John Bingham started running, he was in his mid-forties and 100 pounds overweight. The first time he put on running shoes, he ran to the end of his driveway. That was it. But he had a small victory over himself that led to a changed life.
If my knee doesn't fail me, you will be hearing more about this I'm sure!