Hi, my name is Seal and I’m currently in a Complicated Relationship with Running.
Running and I have this weird on-again/off-again thing going on. Currently, we’re on-again but I’m not entirely sure how long it’ll last for.
Running and I have the same interactions every time we meet up. It usually involves me struggling to get out bed and hitting snooze for twenty minutes. When I get dressed I’m feeling better and although I hate wearing sneakers I like the satisfying sound they make on my hardwood floors.
I’m usually driving to the river with my windows down and blasting music. I put on my running playlist and I start warming up with a brisk walk. I like the way my ponytail swishes against my neck and I’m grateful that I live within spitting distance of the Hudson River. The river water smell wafts through the air and it’s always a little cooler.
For the first ten minutes, I’m feeling really good. I try to keep my breathing steady and even, exhaling and inhaling for the same amount of time. Sometimes I run in tune with the tempo of the song if I can.
I usually alternate between running/jogging and walking. I use the Couch to 5K free app; it tells you when to walk or when to start running. After the first ten minutes, I’m tempted to check the time and see how far I’ve gone, but I hold myself back because I know it’ll make me discouraged.
I get to fifteen minutes in, and I start to tire. My legs hurt, I’m running slower, I’m walking slower, I’m breathing harder and shorter. The pool of sweat has started to gather against my shirt and now the end of my ponytail swishes against my neck wiping up the sweat. The sun is in my eyes and my side is starting to cramp. I want water but I left my bottle in the car.
I’m more than tempted to quit, telling myself that fifteen minutes is more than enough time and I should thank myself for the effort. Besides, I still need to make it back to my car.
The deceiving happy voice on the app (clearly she’s not running while narrating) tells me it’s time to start running again and I give myself one more pace before my feet drag a little quicker. I’m doing the math in my head to see how many rotations of walking/running I need to do. I’m going slower now and I don’t feel as strong.
I get to the familiar part of the trail I run on along the river, and I know I only have two more rotations of running left. I’m on the second to last one, and it goes by slowly and I’m telling myself I’ll stop when I get to the tree, when I get to the puddle, when I get to that woman walking her dog. But I keep going until the minutes are up and I’m allowed to walk again.
It’s the last time to run and I’m feeling a little better knowing it’s almost over. I try to push through it and sprint a little, but I’m too exhausted so I just aim to keep a steady tempo. When it’s time to walk, I put my hands on my waist in defeat but also relief; it’s time for my cool down.
My car is farther away than I’d like, so by the time the five minute walking cool down is over, I still have an extra five minutes to walk. In the extra five minutes I’m feeling better about my run, about myself, and I’m feeling less tired. The sweat is still climbing down my back, down my forehead. My phone is starting to slip down my arm and I can feel my face flush with warmth. The river breeze feels nice.
Back in my car I’m sitting up straight so my sweaty back doesn’t touch the seat and the windows are back down with the music still blaring and I’m feeling accomplished and refreshed.
The weather’s nice now, but sooner it’ll be getting colder, and I’m dreading the days I have to force myself out of my warm bed and into the cool air. I’m not a fan of the cold and I can’t imagine running in it.
Do you have any tips for new runners? Or running in cold weather? I’m drinking up all the advice I can get.