• jenesee@greyareapodcast.com

Running is for losers

Running is for losers

“Just do it.” -Nike. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelo. “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. – The Princess Bride.  These old (and some new) clichés teach us that our health is a treasure to guard and build up. And health IS important for a long and active life. There’s no changing that. However, there are many roads to health and I plan to travel them with a nice brisk walk.

Recently my kids have joined the track and cross country team. Lord knows why. When it comes to running as a sport of choice I’ve often said that unless someone is chasing me with a knife or sprinting ahead of me with a cookie, I won’t do it. Take that Nike! However, the conundrum is that now my kids need to train during the summer and I get to be their coach.

I have two teenagers which means that I own thousands of hairbands, more tampons than a CVS, and enough Peds (little socks that fit in a slip-on shoe) that my washer pump has died a horrific death twice and almost crushed my repair partner once by falling and leaving him trapped under it. These kids take advanced classes in school, do a bazillion extra-curricular activities and, just for funzies, decided that adding a sport to the mix just might make my head explode or cause my old Ford Focus to finally die after 200,000 miles. I admit I was excited about the sport, I’m a sporty gal. Would it be Soccer, or maybe even Rugby? How about some Basketball? Oh wait, we already did Basketball and then realized my little one might never make it over 5 feet tall. No. They decided that running was the way to go.

Keep in mind that the 16-year-old only participates in sports that a) have no physical contact whatsoever b) don’t involve throwing, catching, hitting, or kicking any objects and c) aren’t highly competitive. So, that leaves out most things on earth. She’s already been caught cheering for those who pass her on a trail at a cross country meet. The 13-year-old is another story. She once held a sharped stick braced into the ground behind her sister who was beginning her downward decent on a swing set. Enough said. Somehow though, these very different people have formed a mutual love of trudging up dusty trails and over sharp rocks while sweating in 90-degree humidity. It’s a mystery I might never solve called running.

Now I’m no slacker when it comes to taking on a fitness challenge. I have a second degree blackbelt in Mu Duk Kwan and am working on a brown belt in Tang Tsu Do. I just prefer my cardio to occur secondarily while I’m punching someone in the face. But when it comes to my kids, I’m willing to go outside of my comfort zone.

There’s a park near us that is only a short stroll down the train tracks. It’s a wildflower preserve which means that it grows Ragweed professionally. Guess who has seasonal allergies? However, there is a forest and the possibility of seeing some deer at dusk so it all evens out. The mileage is do-able and the scenery is picturesque as the last thing we might see before expiring from a jogging induced aneurysm.

Training season began and I came along for the “fun”. In the beginning I biked alongside of them, then my pedal fell off while on the trail so I pushed the bike. I tried a few more times to make the bike a viable means to keeping up and kept stripping the threading on the pedal screw. What can I say, I am strong like Bull. *insert Russian accent*. Then out of sheer laziness in avoidance of fixing the bike again, which incidentally I stole from my brother when he left home, I decided to jog along. It was a lot harder than I anticipated. Every two minutes I needed to stop and breathe. Let me tell you that you don’t properly appreciate oxygen until you are wheezing like an 80 -year-old while limping on the side of the road being passed by nubile teenagers who are circling back to taunt, re:encourage, you to keep going. As a teenager, myself, I had bad memories being forced to run the mile in gym class. My pulse beating so hard that I thought I might be the first person ever to spontaneously combust on school grounds. This experience was bringing it all back… and it was making me mad.

I was forcefully reminded that the last few years I had been neglecting any sort of self-care. I was commuting hundreds of miles a day, working all the hours, eating away from home, and generally assuming that my usual trick of getting back to exercise would quickly repair years of neglect. I’m not 20 anymore, surprise! It was certainly a surprise to me when I started training in martial arts again a few months before and realized that the 30lbs of wearable anxiety I had accumulated were not going to melt off quickly or easily. While my body was regaining strength and muscle, this new need for running was defeating me.

I’m a very stubborn person and despite my illnesses I want to be a positive one. Once I decided to turn my life around because I was better than any video game avatar out there. (Story to come later). So, these wildflower fields were not going to get the best of me. ARE not going to get the best of me. It’s been a week now and I’ve noticed that I hate running slightly less. I secretly love when my little one circles back around (far far back around) to tell me to keep going. I like walking down the railroad tracks and wondering if this is the day we leap to the side and wait for the train to go by. I stop less and I go faster. I smile when I pass the line the oldest drew in the dirt when she finished sprinting. While I can’t say, I will ever want to run, I’m interested to see where this leads. Will I get in shape the way I want to again? Will I be the type of loser I want to be in the weight game? Are you a runner or do you hate it as much as I do?

 

 

Jenesee Grey

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