A year ago right now, I started running. I did it on my own. I didn't talk to anyone about it; I didn't ask anyone's opinion. I just . . . decided to do it. I put the Couch-to-5K app on my phone -- and ran.
Most people we know assume that Tom "finally convinced me." Or they figure we were looking to "spend more time together."
Both of these things are FALSE.
Yes. Tom is a Runner. (With a capital R.) He's been running for nearly all of his life (since he was 13).
He ran cross country and track in junior high . . . and in high school. . . and even in college.
He encouraged me to give running a try -- way back in our first years together. But it wasn't my thing, and he didn't push it.
He ran. I did other things. End of story.
And as far as our running "together"???? Ha! It doesn't quite work that way! Let's put it in perspective, here. When we line up at the beginning of a 5K (which we may run . . . "together" . . . as in both of us are running), one of us lines up at the 10:00 minute/mile marker. And the other of us lines up at the 6:00 minute/mile marker.
Which means . . . One of us is crossing the finish line . . . as the other of us is just heading into Mile 3!
So. Running "together" is out!
When I decided to start running last August, Tom was supportive and encouraging. Not in a "rah-rah-you-can-do-it" way, and not in a bossy, coach-like way. He just let me go at it on my own, without any interference or pressure.
And, because I've been watching him run for nearly 35 years, I've picked up a lot of tips and pointers about running along the way. Some things, I learned from just watching Tom train and work out over the years, and some things, he's explained more recently.
I call them . . . Lessons from the Master.
Here's what I've learned about running from Tom:
- Do it. Or Don't. (Just don't whine about it.)
- Stretch. (Always.)
- Drink a lot of water. (Before and after.)
- Wear the right shoes. (Proper fit; replace often.)
- Just get out there and run. (Of course it hurts. That's how it is.)
- Recognize that some days you'll just feel like crap. (Run anyway.)
- Hills are good for you. Run them. (Shorten your stride and don't look at how far you have to go.)
- Don't overdress. (You're going to be hot, even when it's cold.)
- Face oncoming traffic. (Make sure drivers can see you -- and you can see them.)
- Take advantage of shade and sprinklers when it's hot. (And know where the bathrooms are along your route.)
- Running on consecutive days is Not Fun. (Build in some rest.)
- Sometimes you get injured. (Take time to heal.)
- Mix it up. (Different courses, different distances, workouts that are Not Running.)
- Don't shower until you stop sweating. (Pointless otherwise.)
- The trend to running longer distances without regard to time is completely overrated. (Just run. Try your best. Nothing wrong with a 5K.)
- Fartleks. (Fun to say. Good to do.)
I'm still amazed that I'm running. And probably even more amazed that . . . I kind of like it!
(I think Tom is pretty surprised, too!)