In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Running: ten weeks later

So here I am. The Running Room clinic I signed up for, Learn to Run, is complete. Last night was the tenth and final weekly run. The first week started with seven repetitions of running for one minute and walking for two minutes. The second week changed to ten repetitions of running for one minute and walking for one minute. Over the subsequent weeks, the running time gradually increased while the walking time remained the same. The repetitions also decreased to keep the total time at about twenty minutes. The last two weeks involved two repetitions of running for ten minutes and walking for one minute.

As I told the clinic leader last week, the smartest thing they did was not tell us the entire plan in advance. The advancement was gradual when viewed one week at a time, but it would have seemed overwhelming had I known it all in advance. She then told me that the plan was in the course book they gave us on the first day. Oooops. Guess who didn’t read the course book.

So look at me now. I can run for ten minutes, and then another ten minutes after a minute of walking. It’s still not easy, but many people I’ve talked to had hit a barrier at which further progress was more difficult. Invariably, once they broke through that barrier, things got easier again. It seems that the 10 and 1 point is that barrier for me.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started, and I wasn’t even sure where the clinic was taking me, but I’m really surprised that I can run for twenty minutes with a one minute walk-break in the middle. I didn’t think I’d be able to do this. Frankly, I didn’t think too much about  the end of the clinic at all, which is probably a good thing. I just went each week and ran, then I did the same run two more times before the next clinic.

I learned that running is far more a mind game than I ever expected. I’ve talked to others who know this, but only after I largely figured it out on my own. In retrospect, the Nike plan that I tried and failed to complete earlier this year wasn’t the insurmountable and ridiculous task I thought it was. And that’s the key…I thought it was. The clinic was very good for me because it got me into a diverse group of people. There were a few young people, but most were in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, I’d guess. When I felt like I was nearing my limit, I’d realize that I was running with people ten years older and I am, and how could I possibly claim that I couldn’t continue if they could? I found that I could continue, and without exception, I finished the routine.

In retrospect, I think that’s the biggest reason I failed at the Nike plan. I didn’t know how to play the game with myself and win.

Sure there’s the issue of the pain I had. You know what? I had it during this clinic too. I should have gone to my doctor about it, but I didn’t. I asked around and it didn’t fit the symptoms of what people thought it might be. Then it went away and it hasn’t returned since. It may have been yet another difficulty I had to surmount. I will talk to my doctor about it when I next see her, but in the meantime, I’m still running.

During the clinic, I ran 24 times for a total of 59 kilometres over 8½ hours, burning 4600 calories.

The attraction that first got me running still holds. It’s a good workout that doesn’t take very long. The twenty-minute runs pushed me hard and left me with no doubt that I needed a shower afterward. I want to be healthier, and running feels like a very good way to achieve this goal.

So what’s in my future? I don’t see any marathons. I like running just fine, but more for the result than the process itself. I might eventually be able to run 10 kilometres, but if I only ever get as far as 5 km distances, I’ll be very pleased. I’m not so terribly interested in organized races, either. They offer nothing I can’t get on my own, but I’m not closing the door on participation in organized races.

Looking ahead, I’d like to run 5 km, three times a week. That’s my goal. I’m not in any big rush to get there. Also, when I do get there, I may find myself with bigger goals. Who knows? But for now, it’s 5 km.


VW diesel refuel #84


Half-way is no way to go


  1. Ryan

    Way to go, Rick. Impressive… most impressive.

    You’ll have to jog over and meet me for a movie soon?

    • Rick

      Thanks Ryan. And yes to the movie…but the movie can not immediately follow the jog. Didn’t you see the part about needing a shower afterward? I wouldn’t do that to you!

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