the double-digit club

Two mornings ago I woke up, had a small bowl of Aldi-brand Cheerios, a quick cup of coffee, and then went for a little jog. For ten miles. It was about 16,000 steps. It took me one hour and thirty-nine minutes and felt like it took approximately six days.

See, in this crazy-for-me experiment I’m calling, “Training for a Half-Marathon”, running is still a chore. I keep waiting for the love to overtake me, I keep waiting for a high or thrill or something resembling joy in regards to running, but it’s yet to happen.

I like running, I guess. It’s a great workout. I’ve learned a lot about my own ability to keep going, put one foot in front of the other, to run through the aches and pains, and I do like that I’m slowly building up to a race that not a lot of people can do. But am I in love with running? Do I crave it on my off days, look forward to it?

I have to admit, it’s a big resounding “NO”.

Being able to run ten miles at an average pace of about ten minutes per mile is a huge accomplishment from where I started from back in August when I started training. And three weeks ago I ran eight miles on a busy trail clogged with bikers and other fellow runners and it was almost fun, but, once my goal is finished, I can’t imagine missing it much.

I miss my group fitness classes and the routine of going to the gym every morning and sweating it out with a mix of cardio, jumping, and weights. Running is by far a better overall workout, but it’s boring.

My husband adores running. He comes in from a run, soaked in sweat, with a big grin on his face. I feel like I come in missing half my limbs and somehow more depressed than when I started. Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but like I said above, the “love” isn’t there. Running isn’t something I discovered on my own, we don’t have a romantic love story built up over time … it’s an arranged marriage that is dependable and good for me but that’s about it. I run because I have to run because I chose to do a half, and that’s about as sentimental as I can get for it.

In a little more than a month the race is here. I’ll stand with about 1,100 fellow runners and trudge it out. My secret silly goal is to run it in under 2 hours, which is probably a stretch. I ran those eight miles two weeks ago at a 9 minute-15-second pace, but this week’s ten miles was 9:58, and to get 13.1 miles done in under 120 minutes I’d need to do about a 9:09 pace.  I also just discovered my times (so far) look like I could possibly place in the “Athena 160+” Category, which means I’d run among the fastest of women who are comfortable admitting to the public they weigh more than 160 pounds. So, yay for a higher than average body mass?

When this is all said and done I will be glad I worked hard and made it to the goal. It’s also pretty cool to find something recreational to do with my husband, although we haven’t been able to train much together (remember, we have three kids). I would like to keep going to fun 5k runs and maybe a few 10k’s, but so far that running bug that so many other people Instagram and Tweet and Blog about is meeting me with a bunch of resistance.

And that’s ok.

Maybe once I’m done training I’ll realize what a good fit running is for me and, like the above comparison to arranged marriage I made, I’ll realize I actually have loved it, all along. Maybe. No fingers crossed here but I can admit my feelings can always change.