Ready To Run: My love for running...it wasn't always so!


Does the thought of lacing up and going for a run give you automatic shin splints, side-stitches and pained lungs?  It used to be the same for me.  In fact, it took several seasons (almost 7) of running to actually love it.

The reason that I began running in the first place is because I have been active all of my life.  As a teacher, I get lots of time off every single summer.  With this time off, I usually spend a month or so with my parents out at the lake where I have been going every summer for over 30 years of my life.  The location of this lake is in remote Northern Saskatchewan, with nothing very close by.  The closest fitness facility would be at least an hour's drive away.  I have a need to be active on a very regular basis, and my only two options while staying with my parents were to swim or to run.  Even though I've always been a good swimmer and loved doing it so much as a kid, I grew out of it as an adult.  I became a "runner".

I started one summer.  My form and stride were probably crap, my exercise-induced asthma flared up and my shins killed.  I didn't love it.  I continued to do this while on holidays on a semi-regular basis for that summer.  This was my pattern for several summers in a row.  I didn't love it, but it got easier to breathe and was became somewhat enjoyable.  The July that my daughter was born was the only summer in the last 7 years or so that I didn't run.  My Braxton Hicks contractions were so bad the last month before my daughter was born that if I went for a stroll I would frequently have to double over in pain.  Of course running wasn't an option for at least 6 weeks after she was born, so the summer of 2011 was a year off for me.

Once I got the approval to work out again, I started going back to the gym and easing my way back into a regular program.  When Raina was 3 months old I began going twice a week to a stroller aerobics class with some very fit parents.  We would run around the track with our strollers and then park our crying/sleeping babies and perform weight bearing activities, and repeat and repeat for an hour.  My endurance and lungs became stronger.  When I did go by myself to the gym I could run faster and longer on the treadmill.  I became mindful of my stride, until my new and correct stride became natural and I didn't have to think about it.

In the spring before Raina turned a year old, I was still going twice a week to stroller aerobics.  Instead of running around a track, we got to run outside in the fresh air on the trails in the River Valley of Edmonton.  It felt great to be outside and I could tell I was getting stronger.  In June when Raina was 11 months old, I entered a 15K race with some other friends.  It actually ended up being 17.5K and I  did it while pushing Raina in her stroller.  It was a very hilly course, but I finished that race in less than 1 hour and 45 minutes.  I felt SUCH a sense of accomplishment and pride.

I don't run in the winter (mostly because of my asthma), but I still run every spring and summer.  I can't wait for the snow to melt here, and to start getting outside again to run.  There is something to be said about that connection with nature, your lungs bursting and your heart pounding to make you feel alive!

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