Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Slow Jog

I went running for the first time in 18+ months today.

Correction: I went slow jogging, or as I like to call it, "slogging".

Here's how that happened...

Z: Hey, I'm going to take Olive on a run, why don't you come with me?
Me: (squinting suspiciously at him as I slowly cram the rest of a buttery, bakery-fresh croissant into my mouth) Yeah...ok. That Yeah.
Z: I'm not asking you to go on a run with me because I think you NEED to go running. I just like doing things with you.

Good man, that one. A mind-reader AND sweet. I was feeling a little bit self-conscious about that croissant.

So, in the spirit of shoulder-to-shoulder time with my man, and because I have been wanting to get back into running (what? WHY?!), I laced up my shoes, we stuck Zo in the stroller and off we went down our tractor trail.

I'd like to say, "Man, it hurt so good! I felt amazing and empowered. It was great to be back into it again! Can't wait to get back to a sub-8-minute mile" But that is just not true. It just hurt. And I've never ran a sub 8 minute mile in my life. I think today was maybe, I don't know, sub 20. Cruising speed. Nailing it.

Because Z is a patient and kind man, he ran slogged (most of the way) with me. I found this to be both incredibly endearing and infuriating. At one point, I glared at him and said "are you even sweating?! UGH!" and then I was so winded from trying to wheeze out that sentence that I thought I might collapse.

At some point on our 3 mile journey, I slowed to a walk and gasped to Z, "just keep going, I'll start back up in a minute" and then I was enraged by the betrayal when he was all "Ok, I'll stop at the bridge" and off he ran. At least Olive stayed with me for moral support...OH WAIT, no she didn't. My own dog...she didn't even look back.

I tried to focus on the positives: "Look at you go! You're running. It's been so long, but you're doing it! It feels so good! And what a beautiful day it is. And ahhh, the fresh farm air is invigorating, isn't it?"

But the reality was this: running? Shuffling. Feels good? Nope. Beautiful day? Overcast and cold. Fresh farm air? Cow manure.

I started to despair, in spite of my best efforts.

It was at this point, as I slogged along alone and in pain, that I experienced the 5 stages of grief: the series of emotional stages one progresses through when faced with impending death.

Denial: "I'm fine. I feel fine. Nothing hurts. I am gliding like a gazelle. I am breathing evenly and easily. I am weightless. I am not jiggling."


Bargaining: "If I keep running until that next cornfield, I will reward myself with 2 chocolate croissants."

Depression: (at this point, I couldn't even see Zach, Zoe and Olive anymore) "I am alone. I am in pain. I have lost hope. I should just give up and walk home...can I even make it home? I think I pulled something in my knee. I'll never run again."

Acceptance: "I am running. It hurts, but I am doing it. I will probably survive this after all. I'm ok. We're ok. Ok."

I eventually re-joined Zach, Zo and Olive and we slogged our way back home. We did it. I am currently icing my knee, but we did it.

And I think I'm ready for another 18+ month break from running. It was working really well for me.

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