Fact: I’m not built for distance running.
You know how distance runners have those long, thin limbs with long, thin muscles? I don’t have those. I have soccer thighs, and I’m built for short bursts of speed.
I used to dominate the 100 meter dash and other sprinting events, but I always dreaded the one-mile run for the Presidential fitness test (Caitlin at Chasing Chels knows what I’m talking about). Let me tell ya, there was fear and loathing in Colorado whenever that business came ’round.
I, too, would eventually come ’round the track on the last leg of the mile, staggering and wheezing and generally teetering on the brink of death.
During my senior year of high school, I decided that, after all those years of abhorring the mandatory mile for El Jefe’s fitness test, I was going to train myself to run a mile – just to prove to myself that I could do it.
So, bit by bit, I ran a little bit longer each day. It took a while (many, many weeks of saying “Ok, you made it to this lamp-post last time, now just make it to the end of this block this time…”), but eventually I did it. And then I trained myself to run a second one. And eventually a third.
I maxed out at about three miles, though. I’ve done 5Ks, but anything beyond that has generally kicked my butt. These soccer thighs have only so much endurance in them…or so I thought.
Second fact: I hate cold weather. Hate. It.
I’m one of the coldest people on the planet — Brandon thinks I might actually be cold-blooded — and temperatures that make normal people slightly uncomfortable leave me thisclose to raging hypothermia. I hope I’m never stranded in a snowstorm, because I’ll die in under 10 minutes.
Knowing this, I especially hate windy and cold weather. In addition to being partially frozen, my knees hurt, my asthma kicks up, and I’m generally miserable. Cold, windy weather has consistently made me refuse to run outside and instead flee into the loving, climate-controlled embrace of the gym.
Third fact: I had a date to go on a buddy run with my dear friend Holly this morning. And oy gevault, it was breezy and cold out. And oy gevault, we were planning to go 4 miles (or a bit more), which was above and beyond my 3.2 mile max.
And, and, and…I began totally freaking out when I was on my way to meet up with her.
My knees! My lungs! I can’t! I just want a warm beverage! I’m sitting in a heated bus, for Godsakes, and I’m frickin’ freezing! I should’ve just gone to the gym! I’m never going to make it though this run! Aaaaaaaagh!
I continued internally fretting as we got ready to head out. And yet, three blocks in to our run, I found that I felt fine. Five blocks in, I felt good. Two miles in, I felt great.
The cold wind blew, but I didn’t mind. We chatted away through block after block of historic Georgetown neighborhoods, and despite all my angst on my way over, it was absolutely lovely. Before long, 4 miles had passed, and all was well. More than that, in fact — all was awesome.
I strongly suspect that the fantastic company contributed to this (thanks, Holly!), but still: I ran for longer than I thought myself capable of running. I didn’t suddenly fall over after exactly 3.2 miles. I also ran in the cold, windy weather that normally leaves me convinced that there’s no way I’ll be able to run outside. Contrary to my concerns earlier in the morning, I didn’t die of hypothermia. In fact, once I got running I warmed up quickly.
And with that, I’ll say: November Challenge, day 3: success!