Running for our lives

In high school, our gym teachers had this horrible conspiracy to torture us. It was called “the mile and a half.” Freshmen talked about it as a thing to be feared, and each semester, it was the time of year to be dreaded. At least for the non-running types, of which I was one. I’ve never been in what I would call great physical shape, so running was difficult for me. I wasn’t good. If the weather was hot, I sweated too much and had bouts of nearly passing out. One summer during softball practice (I know this has nothing to do with running), I puked in center field and was seeing white spots because I was overheated. Our hunky high school “coach,” more like an instructor, bought me a Sprite and ushered me to a shady spot on the bleachers. The other girls were slightly jealous, but that didn’t last long.

Enough digression. Tomorrow, despite all my past declarations against the sport, I become a runner.

The gear has been purchased (See new shoes in photo).

The plans for watching the children have been made. The fitness plan has been decided. My husband and I will set out tomorrow morning to begin our journey to run a 5K in late November.

This idea first popped into my head after I saw a friend “like” the “Couch to 5K Running Plan” (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml?cmp=18-1) on Facebook. The idea intrigued me, especially since I would consider myself pretty much a couch potato now. Though two kids do keep a person hopping. But I also cope with bad days by eating chocolate and Cheetos. Sometimes together, sometimes not.

There’s more to this wacky plan than fitness, though. To be honest, our marriage is hurting right now and 30 minutes three times a week running with my husband, without the kids, will be precious couple time that we haven’t sought often enough. The physical benefits will be a bonus, as we both could stand to lose some more “baby” weight. Mine from the actual pregnancies, my husband from the sympathy eating.

Also, I’m realizing that I’m not terribly disciplined nor do I really understand what hard work is. Most of my life, I’ve chosen the easy way. Or avoided hard work altogether. Growing up, when my parents went outside to do yardwork, I more often stayed inside and read a book or watched TV. Even now, I have trouble not being selfish or lazy with how I spend a day. I sit way more often than I should, even with the aforementioned children running, crawling and climbing all over the house. I’m a writer by design, so naturally I’m drawn to sitting at a computer, reading a book or doing more intellectual things. Physical training has only ever been fun for me if it’s part of a game. Like volleyball or softball.

Running is hard work. I think that’s why I’ve avoided it. I don’t have a lot of self-discipline or mental strength to push myself to do something that takes work. I’m impressed by runners because they can push themselves to go another mile when their bodies want to give up. I need that sort of fortitude in other areas of life. The will to keep going even when the going gets tough.

I used to tell people, when dismissing the idea of running for fun, that I would only ever run to save my life. In a way, that’s what I’m now doing, what I proposed to my husband. In a lot of ways, we need to save our lives right now, and running is the answer.

I’ve been thinking about what the apostle Paul wrote about running in his letters to the early church. I used to read over those words. Now I’m paying more attention.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)

We invite you to join us on this journey. I’ll be blogging regularly about our progress and would appreciate any advice, encouragement, tips you have about running, or living a self-disciplined life in general.

Stay tuned.

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7 thoughts on “Running for our lives

  1. Welcome to the club Lisa and Phil,

    I think what you are doing is fantastic. I ran 6 1/2 miles today without stopping to walk. It took lots of time to get here but I can do it. My first 5K is next Saturday, Sept 25th and I’m planning to sign up for the Canal Connection 10K in early November. Some advice and encouragement for you:

    * Follow a plan (such as “couch to 5K”)
    * Start out slow – when you think you are jogging slow enough…slow down a little more…then slow down just a little more after that.
    * Remember that the first mile is always the hardest…whether you run 2 miles or 26.2…and regardless of who you are…the first mile is the hardest!
    * Stretch
    * Don’t drink water until your run is completed – for the distance you are running you don’t need to and it would be just extra weight to carry.
    * Don’t overdo it
    * Aim to “train” 4 or 5 days a week…rest on the other days…the plan should schedule these rest days in.
    * It’s better to eat a meal after the run than before it.
    * Keep hydrated – in general
    * Watch your food intake – it’s normal for people who start running to mistake thirst for hunger…your body burns about 100-150 calories per mile depending on your body weight (regardless of the speed you complete the mile in). New runners can actually find themselves putting on weight instead of losing weight because they may burn X amount of calories during a run but then they eat 2X amount of calories or more. It helps me to keep a food diary. I don’t count calories as such but I watch that I’m not eating more than normal when I run.
    * Each day is a new day. Each meal is a new meal. ETC… Don’t fall into the mindset of “I’ve already blown it for the day/week/etc.” Pick yourself up and start fresh.
    * Find a race and register for it now. It will give you some motivation. Something to get excited about. And perhaps a small financial backing to your awesome plan. Most races are about $25-$35 and you usually get a free t-shirt that says how far you ran 😀
    * Encourage each other!
    * Time yourself with a stop watch so you can chart your progress.

    Well done! I’m very excited for you two. For me, it helps me to clear my thoughts and just have some time for me. It may be hard getting out the door or starting the run but I always love the feeling of finishing! Looking forward to hearing about the progress. Start now! The weather is beautiful.

  2. Zach and I used to exercise with each other regularly. We’re starting again Monday (especially since Palmer’s gym is free to us). My one advice to you about exercising with Phil is to agree before hand that it is not a competition. The reason I say this is that every couple(including us) that I know that exercise together have struggled with one of the people being competitive and it turns into a frustration instead of bonding. Secondly, I hope you guys time each other or have a specific measurement. When we were working out a good amount the best feeling in the world was when I could run the same amount of time, but I got farther. It was amazing. I’m also really excited for you guys to try everything you can to help each other out.!

  3. Oh, I hope it wasn’t me who inspired you. I liked it recently from the advice of a new friend. Haven’t decided to try yet… Looking forward to seeing your adventure. Good luck, I am very physically active, walking, yoga and Tae Bo, but running has always alluded me. I’ll be following… 🙂

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