Running is not my thing, though I’ve been running off and on for most of my life. I seldom get a runner’s high or reach a state of ‘flow’ à la Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (unless it feels like exhaustion). I tend to turn to running: in times of desperation; when I get tired of my usual workout routine; when I read an article from Runner’s World (I’ve subscribed for years – motivation or flagellation 🤔); when I think that just once in my life I could run, not walk a marathon; when I read about people who run 3-5 miles daily; when my gym is closed on Thanksgiving and I really need to exercise; when I’m travelling and the hotel’s treadmill is my best option. When, when, when. I resort to running when needed – well jogging because running suggests speed 🤣, so really, substitute jogging wherever I say running 😁.
There are tomes written about running, plus a plethora of research, books (other than tomes), magazines, articles, websites, blogs, etc., with this singular focus. It is touted as one of the most efficient, effective, and low cost forms of exercise there is and the benefits are seemingly endless. You work many muscle groups at the same time. You use your body weight. You improve your balance. You don’t need special equipment. It is instinctive. Just lace up and go. Hmmm.
Runners wax philosophically about running. Wonderful. Lovely. Hmmm … I don’t think my body is built for it 😏. Yet for almost 50 years I’ve been doing it: running after my sister and cousins from when I started walking because they are 2-3 years older than me; running away from doing chores; running around with my childhood friends at St. Bartholomew’s Girls School cause it was fun; running after goats and sheep that I didn’t own, but someone else in my family did; running throughout high school because participation in P.E. and inter-house athletics at Kolij was required and Collymore always needed every point it could get; running after volleyballs from high school til mid-20s; running to warm up before weight training; and just running to stay healthy and in shape. Always running. Did I mention that it’s not my thing and my body isn’t built for it?
Before May this year, I probably hadn’t run for two years, at least not for more than a few minutes at a time. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery compelled me to lace up and run for resistance and reclamation. A statement of my right, as a Black Woman and a human being, to run freely in my neighbourhood and in public spaces.
I ran that one time in May for a special reason but immediately reverted to my preferred forms of exercise: spinning and hiking routinely, weights and walking now and then, yoga for calm and stretching. Yet somehow in late July I found myself thinking about running. I may have been having a nightmare (going to bed soon after eating will do that) or reading Runner’s World again. It could also have been the need to get rid of the COVID/remote-working pounds I’d gained. So indigestion, reading or something else triggered my latest foray into running.
I laced up, thinking I would perhaps run once a week to perk up my workout routine. That’s how I started, initially just running a mile and change and walking 2-3. By mid-August I was running more than I walked and by the start of September, running 3 miles consistently, 2-3 times per week along with my usual spinning and hiking 😉.
I confess that while I may not feel ‘flow’, I do feel satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of each run (and gratitude that I survived it), especially when I see that my pace is improving. Having Lil Rick, Alison, Edwin, Machel, Mistuh Dale, Peter Ram and other friends with me don’t hurt either 😆. When Rick says deze girls feel dem is crazy winers; I’ze a Bajan; guh down to low town; look at de hips on a sista; but doan worry uh get thru; I did want tuh wuk up pun you ever since; etc., I get charged up and can run some more ⚡️. And yes, I would say that I’m a Lil Rick fan 😆.
In September I decided that since I was basically running a 5K at least twice a week, I would sign up for the Run! Santa Clarita Virtual Run Series 2020, an event taking place during three weekends in October, November and December. This meant I would be running three 5Ks by the end of the year for which I would submit my time to the event. I did my first 5K during our hiking trifecta weekend in October and to my surprise ran my best time since I started in July (I’ll talk about this in another post).
Last week I was clearly still high from running a 5K on a weekend in which I also did 3 hikes and while on that level of consciousness, decided that since I wouldn’t be doing my 60 mile walk for Breast Cancer this year, I would instead run 60 miles in November as a fundraiser for American Cancer Society 😲. At some point during the month I will also do our monthly hiking trifecta and on either November 20, 21, or 22 I’ll be running my second 5K in the Run! Santa Clarita Virtual Run Series 🤯.
I feel the need to reiterate that running is not my thing and my body isn’t built for it … Which brings me to the point of this post (I know someone said “finally!”): I’ll be blogging about my 60 mile journey, just like I did in September last year (60 Miles, 3 Days; 60 Miles, 3 Days – The time is nigh; 60 Miles – Day 1: And we’re off!; 60 Miles – Day 2: Are we there yet?!; 60 Miles – Day 3: It is worth it).
I invite you to join me – 2 miles a day, 5 miles a day, or more; run, walk or hike. By November 30, Independence Day in the land of my birth 🇧🇧, we may be crawling. Up to you, just get the 60 done! 😁.
Look for an update about my first 2 out of 60 before the end of today 🏃🏾♀️.