I'M NOT GOOD AT RUNNING. People think I'm being a little hard on myself or not giving myself credit, but I can assure you that giving myself credit is something I've made some progress at. So is accepting myself how I am and guess what? At this point I have watch so many exquisite runners, so many human who are really born to move in this particular way, and I, as it turns out, am quite a ways away from that particular set of gifts. And that's fine.
What I have going for me is that I don't stop. I go slow and it's awkward and unsightly and not really admirable in its form. (What form?) But I keep going. I'll go on and on. My legs get on the bus of Confucius who says, "It does not matter how slowly you go, only that you do not stop." And I like that about myself. It was a fabulous thing to learn because frankly, I thought I was lazy. For decades I thought that. But I was wrong. I can stick with a thing if my approach is kind, reasonable, honest. And sticking with a thing I'm terrible at has been one of the single most transformative things I've ever done.
But this is bullshit, man.
Since the marathon, I've moved my running mostly indoors to the gym. In fact, since my body was so screwed by that distance, I moved it onto the elliptical machine mostly to get my exercise. On vacations I'll hit the road and go outside to run still, but the process is so arduous and difficult. It's a very different feeling to be alone with the body then on an oiled machine with a constant stream of ESPN sports news in my ears. I run outside alone and quietly, no headphones or friends or running companions. Just me and my body, my chatty little brain on a hamster wheel and my daily anxieties pulling my shoulders up to my ears. But this week I decided to ease myself toward the treadmill more, build back some strength, and then move back out onto the road some. I set a goal and got started.
Sometimes my plans are kind of fakakta. I just pick something and begin there because it turns out that trying to find the perfect place to start often leaves me on a couch for years at a time. So I just pick a place. I picked 6 miles an hour. I thought I'd go for 10 minutes. Now, this is a pace I would describe as on the average team. The slower side of average actually. Not so notable. A ten minute mile. Now, like I told you, I'm not really average and I'd would work my long runs at about 12 minute miles. I just settled in and kept going. People can walk faster than I ran. But I didn't care. I just wanted to finish. But this time I thought since I only have to run 6 mile stretches and not some ungodly length of time, maybe I can try to be average. So I set the thingy to 6.0 and began. Also adding to my bad planning is that I did this after I had already been on the elliptical and two kinds of bikes for a combined total of 80 minutes, so I was already drenched when I arrived.
I lasted 6 minutes at 6.0. Not ten. Not 6 miles. Not an hour. 6 little minutes.
So. Here we go, people. I'm at the foot of Bullshit Mt. and I'm ready to rock this thing, one gawky minute at a time.