Hi!… Sorry I’ve been away so long… I blame grad school fatigue. And distracting summer sun. I had a pretty stellar summer! Hope you did as well!
To kick things back off here on Healthy Prongs, I’m talking about the new hobby I’ve acquired: Running… Which is, frankly, the last thing I ever thought I would be enjoying… or writing about.
I hated running for almost all of my life. As a kid in gym class, I was a bit on the chubby side. Every time we played a game that involved a lot of running, I would be there… huffing and puffing, up and down the gymnasium, lookin’ like a shiny, ripe tomato. And that resentful tomato-glow would last…for-ever. Hated it.
I ran track for a brief stint in high school. I was a sprinter, and I can’t say I was very good, or very dedicated. I was mostly in it to hang with my friends. A lot of gossip can be hashed out during those warm-up laps! And at basketball practice, running suicides was a most dreaded task…
I tried… briefly… to turn over a new leaf in college. Inspired by a runner friend who would go out almost every day- again I found myself huffing and puffing, and…dyyyying upon barely reaching the 1-mile mark. My friend politely (and quite rightly) left me in the dust.
But today, I’m convinced that it just wasn’t the right time.
Akin to re-tasting foods you hated as a child later on in life- when your palete has matured… and enjoying it- I’m now convinced that the theory also applies to running (and various forms of exercise in general).
After a year of exercise physiology classes taken toward my degree, I felt that if I was going to truly advocate for exercise and health, I needed to experience more of it, and understand it first hand. For the majority of the last decade, I’ve been a yoga-specific kind of gal. So this was something new for me! Time to branch out, I thought!
And one day back in June… (who knows why)… I decided to go for a run…
And I liked it! …A lot! Who knew?
In my first few months as a novice runner, I have learned a lot:
You CAN be too bold. I developed runner’s knee pretty quickly. Not surprising, considering I’m knock-kneed, and (as I found out while being tested for shoes at NY Running Company), I have a majorly pronated right foot. You live, you learn, you buy shoes with super-dee-duper arch support…
Yoga helps! And not just for cross-training. Yoga helps with the ego. I’ve injured myself in yoga before… because of my ego. I’ve been able to work with my runner’s knee by combatting my ego (as true yoga tradition advises)- I rest, I ice, I strength-train, I stretch my quads for inordinate amounts of time, and so on… and I’m still working on it (advice welcome!). So far, I’ve managed to stay humble in my newbie-runner status, and have forced myself to not push it past the always tempting line that divides discomfort and pain.
As a friend pointed out- all you need to run… is shoes! You can run anywhere. It’s like a minimalist adventure. I went home to MA for a visit, and ran there. I had never been over the Brooklyn Bridge on foot (for shame…I’ve lived in NYC for 9 years…) so I grabbed a willing friend, and we went! (We may have followed it up with ice cream…).
Exploring and sweating go well together. Ask anyone.
Getting out the door is half the battle. Woody Allen’s sentiments ring true- 80% of success is showing up. Everything has a learning curve, no one expects you to be perfect on your first…second…tenth go. The point is to keep going. Keep practicing. You’ll just keep learning, and reaping the rewards of going beyond your comfort zone.
My experience so far has underlined the truth that life is a constant evolution. Things change. You will evolve. And you should never expect today to look like yesterday… in fact, it’s almost always better if it doesn’t…
Whether you are an old pro at your fitness mode of choice and are trying to take it to the next level, or are stuck in a rut wondering why that thing that used to do it for you just doesn’t anymore…or if you’re still working on finding something that motivates you!… Just. Keep. Going. Keep trying! Keep moving. Evolve.
Truth time: My face still totally turns red… but my matured “fitness palate” is having too much fun to care…
Some sites I’ve found inspirational over the summer…
Or if you’re local to NYC… NYC Runs