Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm not running as fast as I can

I hate running. I used to tell people the only reason to run is if someone is chasing you. I still feel that way, but I have accepted that the only way I can truly keep weight off is by doing the thing I hate.

I know that some people love to run. I have heard about people getting in the zone and the brain releasing chemicals that make them feel euphoric. The only thing my body seems to release when I run is sweat and pain.

Now granted, the only place I normally run is on a treadmill in the gym. And unless I am on a machine with a built in television, boredom adds to my hatred of running. Because the only thing I seem to be able to think about when I run is when I can stop running. And when you want something to pass quickly, it turns into the slow motion sequence from the Bionic Man (for the young and the pop culturally impaired, the Bionic Man was a bad series from the 70s starring Lee Majors as a man who lost several limbs in an accident and had them replaced with super powered bionic he could run and jump at super fast speeds that they always showed in slow motion to avoid having to spend money on better special effects...after all, it was the 70s).

I don't think I really started hating to run until I was in 7th grade PE and had a sadistic PE teacher named Mr. Ackley who would make you run two cross-country's (the equivalent of a mile) if you were the last one to get dressed and stand on your number in the gym before the bell rang. I developed a psychosomatic cough that year due to the stress around running. To add to the stress, I had an English class right before PE with a teacher who wouldn't let anyone leave when the bell rang until everyone was quiet. So we never got released on time. I started wearing sweater vests so that I could unbutton my shirts under the sweater to safe time changing once I got to the locker room.

It didn't help that I was what my mother called "a stocky kid" in grade school and 7th grade. It made running even a single mile agony. But by the time I completed 7th grade I had become borderline anorexic and was as skinny as a rail right up until I approached 40.

Middle age severely impacted my middle. And this was despite years of taking aerobic classes. I just foolishly clung to self-delusion that I could still eat and drink just about anything I wanted. I learned where the old adage "You are what you eat" and "bread basket" came from. My real moment of truth came when I weighed in for a physical to qualify for life insurance after my son was born. I realized then that I was twice the man I used to be--literally.

So I faced the thing I hated the most (right after being fat) -- I added running on the treadmill to my routine.I also turned away from some of the things I liked the most like bread, french fries, and most sugar. I stopped eating out for lunch and reduced my portions. And I weighed myself regularly to avoid self-delusion. Eventually much of the weight was dropped.

The exercise has become more or less second nature and I don't feel like puking after jogging for a mile. I don't think I will ever truly love to run, though. I try to mix it up with elliptical and rowing machines just to cut the boredom. I've managed to maintain my weight for several years now.

But I still sweat like a pig and I curse Mr. Ackley every mile I run.

1 comment:

Helen Baggott said...

Hated running at school. Moved to a new town...joined a running club.

No natural talent, but I did enjoy the challenge and eventually ran three half marathons - 13 miles is far enough.

Greatest of me pretending to be a runner, being chased (unseen until I received the photo) by a bloke wearing a rhino outfit.

Now? Barely get off the sofa.