I have never been a runner. I have had bad knees since I was a kid -- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis pretty much did them in, and skiing and soccer didn't help. I then settled into a decidedly non-sporty existence. In graduate school, I used exercise as a work-avoidance technique. Rather than go to the library or write papers, I went to the gym. But running? Nah.
Then I left grad school, started working, and got lazy. And fat.
A few years ago I decided to try and get healthy. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 45 pounds. The great thing about WW is that it isn't rocket science -- eat less, exercise more, be mindful. If you follow the program, it works. Simple.
But then I stopped following the program... and gained back 20 of the pounds.
In early 2007 my friend Rebecca asked if I wanted to do a triathlon. I laughed at her. She showed me a book she'd just ordered: "The Slow Fat Triathlete". Halfway in jest, I agreed to do one. 6 months later we and our beloveds all raced in the Chelanman Triathlon.
The whole time, I hated running. But I liked how I felt after running. And I liked the discipline of training. So in the heady, endorphin-filled moments after the triathlon, my husband Wil and I decided we would train for the 2008 Seattle Marathon.
Two days later, while riding his bike to work, Wil crashed, breaking his elbow and smashing his helmet into three pieces. (Quick PSA: Always wear your bike helmet, even when riding on a car-free trail.) So we put training on hold while he healed up, we bought our house, and got settled.
Now it's October 30 and we're getting started again. We've been running 3 times a week for the past two weeks using the "Couch to 5K" program we used to train for the triathlon run. It's been difficult -- but not as difficult as the first time. Today we ran 5 minutes and walked 3 minutes 3 times. We were slow, but I felt better this time than I did running the 3-minute stretches on Saturday.
Slow and steady.