I place my foot on the bench, tighten my laces, tie a bow, and swing open the dressing room door to confront my enemy: the treadmill.
I have always hated running. Running the dreaded mile in gym class was torturous and I usually walked it. During middle school lacrosse practice, I loathed the laps we ran around the field.
Yet here I am starting to run. My office has its own gym and I usually am desperate enough to get out my cave to actually go to it. I have felt so restless sitting in my office staring at a computer screen that I actually turned to running.
I climb onto the treadmill and push that large green button: start. My feet start moving. I push the up arrow. The belt speeds up. I pick up my pace. Breathe, keep breathing. I try to pretend I’m outside. The pain in my legs distracts me. I’m running down a farm lane past rambling farm houses and grazing horses. I can’t breathe. How long have I been running? Great. One minute. I look at the TV. Cooking shows, depressing news, or sports. I try to switch back to my day dream. Unsuccessful. Man I can’t breathe. Oh it’s been quarter of a mile. Must stop. I push the down arrow.
I’ve been running about four to five times a week since the beginning of August. It’s starting to become slightly less awful. I can now make it half a mile, rather than just barely a quarter mile. While the running itself is terrible, I really like the feeling after I finish. I am starting to understand why people love to run. Once you have the endurance, the feeling is powerful, I bet.
Now I am determined to become a runner. Not a serious one, but I want to be able to complete a 5k. I am joining growing a growing trend, I know. It is inspiring to see so many people take their physical and mental health in their hands and work at improving it. I want to feel healthy and strong and confident again.
To help myself along with this journey, I set a goal: I am going to run a 5k at the beginning of November. T, who is a very good runner, said he would run it right next to me (even though I know he could get a better time if he didn’t stick with me). I chose the Chester River Challenge, a new 5k/half marathon that benefits the Sultana Projects and the Chester River Association. The race takes place during Chestertown’s Downrigging Weekend, one of the largest tall ship and wooden boat festivals on the eastern coast. A plus about running on the Eastern Shore is that its flat. No big hills to confront during my first race – phew!
Now I just need to keep on running.