Take it from me. I learned the hard way. The hard, painful way. My running career started, and subsequently ended, on Monday. I did not feel like going to the gym at all that day, for reasons I will share in the near future. I was not digging a bike ride or rollerblading, and I did not feel a walk would really get me up to a level that would compare to a good workout at the gym. So my genius brain says, "Hey, why don't you go for a run!" Wow, excellent idea. Except I have not ran in years. And my doc told me I need to lose about 40 more pounds before running to avoid blowing out my kneecaps once I reach my parents' age. Oh, and I hate running. My brother proposed an interesting theory to me about individuals who played team sports hating running as it was used for punishment, and those who enjoy running often were not on team sports. His theory is spot on in regards to my outlook on running.
However, as I tend to do when the logical portion of my brain is operating, I tuned it out and decided I was going to become a runner. I envy runners, I frequently see them out...running. They make it look so easy. I especially admire their legs, as they always seem to be so long and lean with tight, toned muscles. My legs resemble something you would see rotating on a spit at your neighborhood gyro shop. Definitely not vessels of exercise or transportation. But my mind was made up, I was going for a run. I did not want to run by myself; however, the only runner in the neighborhood who was home was The Gunny, and I did not feel like submitting myself to a Marine Corps-style run. I decided that it was paramount that my running partner was in worse shape than I am, therefore making me look like a star cross-country athlete by default.
So I took Boris, my smelly, grossly overweight and out-of-shape hound dog. This dog makes vegetation look active. If he isn't sleeping, rummaging or eating, he is not interested in participating in anything. Clearly I would come off to passer-byers as a fitness queen trying to whip this tubby puppy into shape.
Boris and I set off. The iPod was blaring, "Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne to get me going, convincing myself that I too could run across America like Forrest Gump. It was hard, chugging my hefty little ham hocks at an accelerated pace, but I kept up at a solid pace for a few minutes. However, that bastard Boris must have had a revelation that he needed to get into shape because he started pulling and running like the there was an Ice Cream truck down the street. I started to falter, struggling to keep pace with this hound. Then it happened, what every runner fears...I hit the wall. Sort of.
Actually, it was a stop sign. And I did not hit it as much as I completely checked it with my left shoulder. It was completely not my fault. I was running into traffic, as pedestrians on feet are advised to do per 2nd grade Safety Patrol training, and a Stop Sign happened to be sticking out into the road from the ground at about a 60 degree angle. The back of that stop sign is gray and blended in perfectly with the gray road that was inclining up, making it impossible to notice, until you go barreling into the damn thing! Note: I am now a vocal advocate for making the back of stop signs bright red.
I halted immediately. Boris yanked a little, then stopped as he noticed me grabbing at my shoulder and howling in pain. He was briefly interested, but once he realized food was not involved, he laid down in the road until I got over the immense pain shooting through my left arm and shoulder. However, I have hit a weight loss plateau and was determined to finish our 4-miles if it killed me. And at the rate I was going, death was almost a certainty. Rather than running, we walked briskly. Once the stabbing pain turned to a throbbing ache, I decided it was time to start running again. A few minutes into it, I could not go on with running. My joints hurt, my shoulder started stabbing again, my lungs wanted to burst open. I reiterate, Fat Girls are not designed to run. However, I did not want to settle into walking the rest of the way, so I made a deal with myself. I frequently do this when it comes to my weight loss, IE if I want to eat dessert, I go a little longer on the elliptical; if I am feeling like a lazy bag of bones, I watch my caloric intake. So I compromised that I would run for one song, then walk for another song, regardless of the length of the song, happily alternating and giving my body time to come down from the impending heart attack I was running towards. It is completely irrelevant that my walking songs included "November Rain" and "Free Bird." Honestly, it just worked out that really long songs were the walking tunes. Regardless, I persevered. I completed my 4-miles, and by the end, Boris came through with flying colors on my objective for him, dragging his tongue while my fit self tugged him along. I am quite pleased about the fact that I am in better shape than my hound dog. I am equally as happy that almost all visible bruising is gone from my shoulder and arm.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to write a strongly worded letter to the people of Highland Park about their stop sign placement.