Seriously Getting Serious About Running… For Serious!

Runs with Bells
I now like to run with bells…

I used to loathe running.  Truly, madly and deeply.  I used to get tired in my dreams, that is how much I hated running.

Then again, I was very overweight, and physical activity at the rate that those without said complication (because the gym teacher, of course, did not allow for anyone to drag behind) proved to be quite difficult.  While I lived in Brooklyn in a 4-story building without an elevator and often walked a couple of miles a day (yes, usually to and from a pizza parlor… or school, and then a pizza parlor), running was something of a torturous event.

When I found that walking was an activity that I could do briskly and well as I was experiencing my weight loss journey, I entered the Monument Avenue 10K in 2010 as a walker.  While I had never actually walked 6.2 miles in a row ever, I felt confident that it was something I could do, no sweat.  I had years of experience.

I have a habit, you see, that finds me usually epic-ally wrong about things.

This is a story for another day, however.  This was the moment when I spied someone: an overweight gentleman whom I’d passed with my hobble-like walk and was not witnessing as I was doubling back to the finish and trying not to double forward in pain.  He was big, slick with sweat, and redder than a tomato.  And he was running.  And he kept running.  Huffing and puffing and not quitting.

I was 65 pounds into my weight loss journey and feeling crappy just by having walked over 4 miles so far that day.  And suddenly, for the very first time in my life, I wanted to run.

So, for the past couple of years, I’ve been running.  I trained to run 1 mile, and then a 5K.  I ran a few hometown races.  In 2011, I ran the Monument Avenue 10K instead of walked and felt exhilarated instead of tired and broken.  It was fabulous.

Now, I want more.

Lately, while I sign up and run races, I haven’t been giving running any sort of strict attention that would have me improve.  I want to improve; I want to run longer and I want to run faster.  I’ve talked about this before even.  Yet I’ve not taken any steps in order to get this accomplished.  I’m not sure how to track, as all of the gadgets and gizmos have me scratching my head in confusion.  I want to run at the most impractical time of day (early morning is too dark, after work is too dark, and while I love to run right at the stroke of lunchtime, my co-workers usually appreciate it if I am not spending their afternoon stinking up the joint).

My new approach to improvement has started with one small step; I’ll be training with an actual, live training group for the 2012 10K this year.  I’ll stick to the routine and I’ll go the group sessions.  Perhaps I can learn more about form and the best way to track.  I’m hoping that a little discipline is what I need to move forward.

Also, I paid for it.  Nothing motivates me more than the desire to not waste my money.

Also, I seemed to have gained back a pound or two of my 176-lost during the holidays.  The exercise may help in my plan to re-lose them.

Speaking of all of these things, don’t forget to eat your black-eyed peas!  They are are a nutritious source of protein and fiber and are supposed to bring you luck and prosperity for the new year!  I’ll be eating what quickly became my favorite black-eyed pea recipe only last week:  Hottie Black Eyed Peas With Greens (I’ll be using kale).  This dish, comprised of things I used to loath as much as running itself, is such a completely delicious and warming dish, bursting with flavor and a nice hint of heat.

Hottie Black Eyed Peas

Since I'm Making Them Tonight, Perhaps I'll Even Have A Better Picture...

Mmm…  I will have a very prosperous New Year, indeed!