All other memories of running produce feelings of sadness or inadequacy for me. In elementary school, our P.E. class would sometimes have to run a lap around an enormous empty field. Way across the field was a metal backstop that we ran past then circled back. I was always out of breath, always at the last, always weak. Children are supposed to be able to run, but even as a child it was impossible for me. I wasn't overweight. In fact, I was otherwise athletic. I just could not run.
I played basketball in middle school- was fairly good at it. I decided to try out for the high school team. I knew it would require effort, so I attended a workout almost every day of the summer before my freshman year. We did basketball drills and short speed-related running drills, but the thing that got me every single time was the one mile run at the end of practice. After weight training, we were expected to go run around the track four times. I just couldn't do it. Even after doing it day after day for an entire summer, I could only work up to doing three laps without taking a break to walk. I'd do the best I could, pushing myself until I threw up. But I always had to walk at some point. This was when I was in the best physical shape of my life. I have always thought, if I couldn't do it then, what makes me think I could do it now?
I didn't make the team, by the way.
Early in my marriage, when I lived at an apartment with an exercise facility, I tried again to work up to a mile on the treadmill. I probably only gave it a few weeks, but I never met the goal.
And here I am, at age 34, thinking about running again. Part of me wants to give up and accept that I will never be able to run a measly mile. Walking might even be better for a body, and is good exercise in its own right. But another part of me wonders if it might still be possible. Maybe I could do it this time. Obviously, something about my body is extremely adverse to running. (That something happens to be the important task of breathing.) I'm a singer- I know how to breathe well and breathe deeply. I feel like I must have good lung capacity after all my years of training as a vocalist. I don't know why it won't transfer over to breathing while running.
So tonight I am going on my second run with a friend who lives nearby. Last time we did a 2 minute running/2 minute walking cycle. I suppose we'll do something similar tonight. I don't know what to expect from myself. If history holds true, then I may never be able to move beyond that. It sure would be thrilling to run a mile without stopping one day. But if it isn't in the cards, then at least I am moving and getting some exercise.
And, I'll always have the race around the farm house. One good memory of running beats none at all.