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Pounding Pavement: Laura’s a Runner…Twice

Posted Jul 28 2010 10:46pm

Today’s guest post is from Laura. She writes the fabulous blog Adventures in TraLaLand and loves fashion. food, and all things girly. Today she’s telling us how she became a runner…twice.

I know it might sound ridiculous, but I actually have “started” running twice in my lifebecause I couldn’t get enough of the horrid, out-of-breath feeling I got the first time around, right?

Running attempt #1 happened while I lived in England.  I  saw a military fitness running program in the UK Guardian newspaper and had a brain wave of the silliest kind.  The thought of me, the girl who avoided every single mile run in high school and could barely trot if she was chased by wild dogs, completing the six-week running program was beyond ridiculous.  I really didn’t think I could do it.  I was not a runner.  ABSOLUTELY not a runner.  I set out to do it, just so I could prove to myself once and for all that running was not for me, thankyouverymuch..

But when I set off, a funny thing happened:   I COULD runjust barely for the thirty seconds that the plan called for, and very painfully with every single inch of my body shaking as I trotted, and very breathlessly as I walked to recover for a minute and a half.  But I could run for thirty seconds!  What a revelation!  I actually had a bit of an identity crisis afterwards (and serious shin splints):  if I could run for thirty seconds, surely I wasn’t an athletic write-off, and (oh goodness) I might possibly be able to run for more seconds (or even minutes, maybe?) at a time. 

So, slowly but surely, I worked up to running for 45 seconds, then a minute, then more, alternating walk breaks.  On My Great Running Breakthrough Day (don’t remember the dayall I remember is that it was raining, as usual), I ran for the entire three minutes and thirty seconds of Kanye West’s Jesus Walksand did I feel like I could walk on water after that!  From then on, I gradually built up to running about two miles every other day, with plenty of walk breaks and tons of enjoyment from the cool British air and constant rainy mist and funky dog sightings that I’d get during those slow but steady runs.

And then I moved to Trinidad and Tobago, land of mosquitoes and 93 F perma-summer, and there went my running.

As I spent every second of my day in my new home sweating like a beast, I kissed my running aspirations goodbye.  If my dog was too hot to trot and bark at the mailman, it was justifiably too hot to run, no matter how many crazy people (read: people who were used to the climate) I saw running.

However, after witnessing the insanity that was Trinidad Carnival my first year here, I realized that I HAD to take part in Carnival, something I never even contemplated doing before.  Taking part in carnival would mean paying a whole lot of money to party for two whole days out in the streets of Port of Spain, in full view for all and sundry, in a VERY skimpy costume (I’m talking teeny bikini, beads, and a couple of feathers to protect the, um, modesty). 

My inner cheapskate came out to reason with me:  no way was I paying ridiculous cash to wear such a crazy outfit and NOT have my picture taken in it. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it all the way.  I was going to look hot and make my future grandchildren gasp at how foxy and daring their grandma was.  There was just too much junk in my trunk for me to feel that way at the moment, but a year was enough time for me to sleeken and tone.

So I started runningagain.

First, all I could manage was a few laps around a very small track, shaking off sweat and wondering whether I needed my head checked for running in the boiling tropical heat.  Then, it was longer laps around a longer track.  Whenever I thought about giving up on a run, I pictured my ideal carnival costume in all its glittered, tail-feathered, ridiculously over-the-top gloryand I pretended to chase after it, and I kept running.

As the summer wore on and I stopped wanting to die after every lap, I got up the courage to sign up for my first 5K, and after that, I was HOOKED.  Eventually, I didn’t need to picture my carnival costume as I ran.  Instead, I pictured race gear and big crowds and how unreal it still was that I could run, and, even more surprisingly, that I LOVED running.  And, aside from the occasional patellofemoral pain syndrome squeak in my left knee, running has loved me right back.

Since then, I’ve done four 5Ks and worked up to the occasional five-miler (heat permittingI might be used to it, but it’s still killer hot and humid here in Trinidad).  Yeah, I’d love to do a half-marathon, but I think that will have to wait until I move somewhere cooleror someone develops an AC air bubble for me to run in (any takers?)  I’d also love to get faster, but I’d rather run slow and steady than fast (and then injured and then not at all). 

So I’ll take my three and four milers and be happy with them.  I know for a fact that I’m a nicer me when I run.  My head is clearer, my music tastes get indulged, and I’ve never felt better (or, dare I say, looked better! I did the Carnival thing and man, did I have a blastand I loved the pictures from those two days of sashaying and grooving in the sun.)  I love how badass I feel when I’m running while other people are sleeping, or when I wear a super girly outfit and realize that I rock my sneakers just as well as my heels.

Just don’t go telling my high school gym teachers that this girl can runthey might make me come back and ace that mile test.

If you’re a runner-I want to hear your story !!

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