Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Annie: Excited and scared

As I've mentioned before, I'm planning to run a 5K race in Ottawa in May.

I haven't run more than a minute, consecutively, since my early twenties (and at that, I wasn't a runner - I was using a treadmill in a gym purely to burn calories). I think the longest I've ever run was 10 minutes.

While it's been kind of a mental thing for a couple of decades ("I could never do what runners do"), in the last couple of years it's been physical too, as my left knee has decided to give up on me. I had problems with that knee in university that led to many different therapies and two surgeries without a real "cure," and then generally took it easy on my knees for years as the problems gradually went away.

Suddenly in the summer of 2009, though, the problem came screaming back. I remember the moment I realized it: I was at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament with the faithful Mo, and started having trouble getting around in Montreal.

Was it caused by the strain of carrying my weight? I'm not an MD, but it would seem logical to me. At any rate, my knee hurts a lot of the time now, when it's been in the same position for too long (whether straightened or bent). It doesn't hurt that much when I'm walking on the treadmill, but it hurts a fair bit afterward. The good news is that both my GP and my rheumatologist tell me that running won't do any further damage to it.

I can only hope it gets less painful as the weight drops. If it doesn't, the road to this 5K is going to be very painful.

So, that's the scared part.

Now, for the excited part. Despite the pain that follows every treadmill session, I keep wanting to do more. I feel so good when I get off it - I can understand where the exercise addicts come from (haha, though I am f-a-r from ever being one of them!). When I get off the treadmill I feel like I could do anything - including that 5K.

This Christmas, I was spoiled with gifts that will help me get there.

1. A book about running by John Stanton, the founder of the Running Room, that gives great tips for beginners as well as information to help more experienced runners train for longer distances.

2. A personalized training log book - the faithful Mo knows how I love to make lists and check off to-do lists to track accomplishments!

3. A new pair of Mondetta Performance Gear running pants.

4. A Garmin Forerunner GPS watch, which will help track my progress and motivate my performance as soon as I am able to get outside to run!

As if that weren't enough, I headed out to the Boxing Day sale at my local Adidas outlet last night and picked up new running shoes, 2 jog bras and another pair of pants (thinner fabric, better-suited to indoor treadmill running).

I am so excited to begin running, and still a bit scared that I won't be able to do it. I was reading testimonials from the Running Room's Learn to Run clinic in Stanton's book last night as I waited for dinner to cook, and heard the voices of women who sounded like they could have been me (never were runners before, at the beginning couldn't even run for a minute straight, were over 40, started running to lose weight), who came to love running and to enter races regularly.

I hope I'll be one of them some day!

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