Running On Empty

Spring fever affects everyone differently, but personally, I’m filled with a dread for bikini season. I love summer, but the process of getting in shape for it is always terrifying until I’m about a month into it. I can’t motivate myself to start moving again and take advantage of the weather, and come June, I’m not quite where I want to be.

A friend of mine decided it would be fun to sign up for a race in Central Park, nothing “too serious,” just over three and a half miles. It’s far enough in advance where we all would have the opportunity to start “training” and whatnot, and so she worked her salesperson magic and spun it as a great, fun, healthy bonding activity. We could all run outside together when it got warmer, we could do it for ourselves instead of an actual win, it’d be great.

And it sounded stellar via email, so sign up I did. And as I printed my registration form, complete with runner number and team captain name, I calculated how long it had been since I had even seen my gym. I wasn’t sure I remembered how to get to it. Sure, last time I’d been I could run almost four miles on a treadmill, no problem… but that had been in January-ish. And there may have been an exceptional soundtrack to guide me.

The last time I ran outside I lasted fifteen minutes without falling over dead, and I willed my roommate my new pumps (even handed her the receipt so she could return them for her size).

Let me also make clear that I am not at all athletic. I tried every sport as a kid, and it was determined that I have no skill. I understand them, I can watch them and get into them, but I am uncoordinated and not meant to be an athlete. My parents still cringe at the thought of watching me on a basketball court or softball diamond. Honestly. I wish I were joking.

I have two and a half months to become a regular gym-goer and teach myself how to run outside. My first “week” of going to the gym started with two and a half miles and me jumping off the treadmill after half an hour, realizing that I had, in fact, signed on to make an ass of myself in front of my colleagues. I haven’t been back, and am going to attempt my first run outdoors over the weekend. I figure this is a way for me to help shed the winter pounds and also, maybe, find a new, cheap form of entertainment. And of course to prove to myself that I can actually run, in a race, with people watching me.

As much as I hate regimented exercise, I have to say that having a goal makes it a little easier to stomach. I’m hoping in the process I’ll learn to actually enjoy running rather than doing it just because I know I should. Is it even possible to gain a fitness addiction? Or is it always going to be a battle of I’ll-do-it-anyway-even-though-I-hate-it? Here’s hoping…

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