I’ve grown to have a love/hate relationship with it ever since graduating college, but it used to be pure hatred. “People are not meant to run!!” I’d feel like shouting to PE instructors, coaches, and friends who thought our bonding time would be best spent with me trying not to dry heave. I may be selective when it comes to evolutionary biology and whether or not we “come from monkeys” (which is a totally inaccurate take on evolution, by the way), but I’m ALL for the fact that we belong to a race of four-legged creatures when it comes to explaining why running should not be part of anyone’s daily schedule, let alone considered a recreational activity. (Okay, you’re running to flee from a tiger, that’s allowed. But who in the good Lord’s name decided it would be FUN to run??)
Anyway, I started running as a means of exercise and, ironically, laziness. When you’re too poor to belong to a gym, and you think it’d make sense to at least get a tan while you exercise, running outside is the way to go. It’s the easiest form of exercise: it’s free and you can do it almost anywhere. I think that’s why I started running when I was in Miami and Hawaii. They were the first places I ran where I didn’t have someone prompting me to do it. Only later did I realize it could be a stress reliever. Of course, the way it relieves stress has changed over time. It used to be because it caused so much pain and anguish that I couldn’t worry about anything else except “when will it end?” and it thus worked as a diversion tactic. Now, I guess I’m more focused using it as a time to think/release agression and being able to set new goals and reaching them and getting that whole “runner’s high” thing. Believe me, I roll my own eyes when I think about it because it’s like a disgustingly sappy romance or something. But there it is. I kind of enjoy running.
HOWEVER, I’m starting to think that whether or not “we” as a people are not meant to run, Jenny as a person is not meant to run. First of all, I never had shin splints until I came back to Roswell (before grad school) and started running regularly. And, believe it or not, continuing to run with shin splints doesn’t spontaneously make them go away. But that’s what I did, thinking I could get over them with a battle of wills. Thankfully, I didn’t rip the tendon off my tibia or anything, and the shin splints went away when I changed shoes. But I can always tell when it’s time to change running shoes because they faithfully return, laughing and jeering at my underdeveloped leg muscles. And I’ve also learned that I can’t run EVERYday because that invites the shin splits to come back, too. I have to mix it up with the ellipitical or bike or something (OHMYGOD, those are even greater forms of torture, and I will blog about Spin class at a later date).
Then, ironically after my roommate had to cut her 50K (yes, I wrote fifty kilometers, as in 31 miles) race short due to I.T. (iliotibial band) band issues, MY I.T. band started hurting. It’s this group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh and cause pain on the side of/behind the knee. This is a pain that also comes and goes, and now even walking a lot (in bad shoes of course) will cause it to flare up.
Not to mention, running long distances hurts my back and my calves and my hips and my feet–I used to have such pretty feet, too–and sometimes my fingers go numb and I have to shake out my arms and hands while I run. It’s all very unsettling how much of a mess I am when I run.
Well then, the other day I decided to go for a jog and I didn’t have my iPod. I absolutely refuse to elliptical without music–I will leave the gym and go home because it’s that unbearable–but a couple times I’ve been forced to run without an iPod and survived. I don’t enjoy it, but I’ll do it if I’m desperate. So the other day I’m running without earphones and I hear this noise: it sounds like someone is following me with a jump rope. You know, that clicking/snapping sound the jump rope makes when it hits the ground. Surely no one’s jump roping behind me?
No. No one was. It was my left ankle. Every single step I took, it popped. Sometimes the right one would chime in, too, and it lasted for an unnervingly long period of time. COME ON! What is with the universe? I FINALLY decide running isn’t something invented by Dante to put in one of his circles of Hell and now I’m going to fall apart doing it.
By the way, there’s a half marathon on Saturday I’ve signed up for. Wish me luck.