Currently, my legs feel like two cement cylinders, and not in a good way.
About a year and a half ago I took up running on a regular basis. It has been one of the hardest things I've done, but one of the most beneficial in a number of ways. I'd always wanted to be a runner, even when I was a kid. When I was in grade 7, I invited my friends over for breakfast and a run. My mom allowed this, bless her. We had some sort of breakfast, of which, I am sure, I ate too much, being a rotund bugger of a pre-teen. I'd seen actresses on TV jogging for fitness and I figured if they could do it, I could, too.
I had no idea.
I got about a half a block before I had to stop, lungs laughing and screaming at me at the same time. My friends, not the most forgiving of pals, ran ahead, disgusted by my ability to carbo load but not walk the walk, as it were. I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed.
In later years, in attempts to lose weight, I'd taken up running, but always injured myself and figured I was one of those people who just "couldn't run" because I had "bad knees" or I was somehow "misaligned". I was just going about it all the wrong way, going to fast, pushing through pain and wearing improper runners.
So in August of 2009 I began another attempt at weight loss Because my husband is a runner, I was encouraged to give it another shot. He motivated me and assured me that it would be worth the effort. I read up on how to start up jogging and started slowly this time, with proper footwear.
It was still really, really hard, but this time, down on the boardwalk where many people do their daily run in my area, I noticed that other people out running were having a hard time, too. They weren't all like the actresses on TV in the early 80's or like my skinny legged friends in school. No one looked thrilled to be out. No one looked like Bo Derek down at the beach. Even when people nodded in greeting to me, it was a grim faced acknowledgement that we were in a club that had great benefits, but a lengthy and arduous initiation process. There was even more silent commiseration in inclement weather. We were out in rain and snow and cold. We were an elite hard-assed league. Suffering, slogging and smug.
Eventually it did get easier. I ran my first 30 minutes without stopping within a couple weeks. And by the time month 4 had rolled around I was banging off sub 60 minute 10Ks with no problems. I had lost 30 pounds, too. In my first year, I ran just short of 1700 miles.
I am not one of those people who feels lousy if they don't run. I don't bounce out of bed in the morning and think, "Holy Crap, I get to run for over an hour today". I whine and bitch and complain about it. Every. Single. Time. But if I don't do it, I feel like I'd be disappointing some fat 12 year old somewhere.