The running continues. I started three weeks ago. Tomorrow will be my fourth class. Here is what we have done so far:
Week 1 - Intervals of 1 minute running followed by 4 minutes walking.
Week 2 - Intervals of 2 minutes running followed by 4 minutes walking.
Week 3 - Intervals of 2 minutes running followed by 3 minutes walking.
Each week we do the new series in class and then are supposed to run 2 more times during the week. We do a 5 minute warm up and cool down of light walking each time and usually do around 6 repetitions of the run/walk cycle.
So now that you know what is supposed to be happening, I'll tell you how it is really going. In a word: Great. Not exactly smoothly, but really good none the less. When I left for my first class, Scott asked me, "Why do you need to go to a running class? I don't get it, you already know how to run, Mommy." Hmm. "Yes, that's true, but everyone needs a little help sometimes and I've never "gone for a run" like Daddy does. I can't run a mile without gasping for air and doubling over like I am going to throw up."
After the first class, I only ran once that week because I didn't get new shoes in time. The past two weeks I have dutifully completed my two additional walk/runs, even though the weather has been really cold here. On my way out one time, Matt said, "Just remember, one foot in front of the other." Thanks smart ass, I thought.
As I have been doing these practice runs I have decided that running is really hard work. Not difficult to figure out. Like Scott said, I do know how to run. But it takes a LOT of effort. Each time I would see that my walking break was over and I had to start running, I would think that it simply hurt. I was acutely aware of the pain in my joints and the pounding of my feet against the pavement. Running is physically demanding, no doubt about it. Even Lance Armstrong said so.
I even had the urge to glare at Matt like I did during labor thinking - can't you suffer instead of me? You are better at physical pain, besides you got me into this, you should hurt too. Come to think of it, the cycle of run/walk at timed intervals, reminds me of labor. Knowing that the pain is going to come and that you have only a short reprieve before it starts up again. Of course, this you can stop if you want to. It is a self-induced situation.
After a few runs I realized that as I went along, around the third or fourth interval, it got easier. I wanted to keep going instead of stopping because the inertia was with me. I remembered Matt's advice that I had initially thought was so lame; one foot in front of the other. I tried to think only about the activity at hand. Left foot, right foot, left, right. Breath two in, two out. I tried to look forward and keep my hands from clenching. To stay upright and make sure my arms were parallel to my body.
And it worked. The time went by faster. I felt aerodynamic. My body was working as it was intended to. Being efficient and strong and fast. And I have to say that it really did feel pretty good. I was reminded of the term flow. To be so in the moment that you lose sight of your thoughts. A brief suspension in time when all seems right.
A few hours after one of my half hour run/walks, Matt went out for his run. He came back an hour and a half later. Really starting to understand the magnitude of his effort I asked, "Did you really run the whole time? No walking or breaks?"
He looked at me kind of funny, "Yes, I did 12 miles today."
So, I still have a long way to go. And I am pretty sure that I will never consider myself an athlete. But I am feeling more confident that I will be able to call myself a runner one day soon.