Well, actually, half-marathon training.
You would think that running would be a natural sort of progression from, you know, walking. It turns out that running is in a completely different world. And having gotten it into my head that I am running a half-marathon in January, that little tidbit took me by surprise.
The first time I went running (if you can even call it that) I was clutching my heart at the stop sign at the end of my block and thanking the powers that be that it was 5:00AM and no one could see me die in clearly the most embarrassing way possible. Realizing that I needed some guidance, I bought some books with titles like The Non-Runners Handbook and The Beginner's Guide to Running and Get Started Running! all of which started with the harrowing story of people who could only run 3 miles.
Three miles?? I was still working on getting to the stop sign without calling 911. I had committed to running in the January race so I needed to figure out how to proceed, because at that point, the idea of running even one mile was so laughable that I seriously considered quietly removing myself from the marathon page and hiding out for a year under my covers. Eating chocolate. And cake.
Needless to say, getting myself to that first mile was a steep learning curve.
It's only been a few weeks since I've started this insanity and I've made my share of ridiculous rookie mistakes. But I have also learned from them.
So here is a list of the top lessons I've learned from my first few weeks that I wish I had known before those tragic first days. I am sure there will be more as I progress, but I figured there has to be others like me who were not blessed with the gazelle DNA that seems to grace itself on the runners who post cheerfully on my newsfeed, glowing from their morning runs.
This is my paying-it-forward moment. For the rest of us. You're welcome.
- The spiders dangling from the trees are not as dangerous as the cars on the busy street. Flinch with caution.
- Runderwear is a thing and it is glorious.
- No matter how many favorite songs are on your running playlist, there will always be one that you will want to skip anyway.
- You will develop a new understanding of measurement as it relates to driving. I actually know what Waze means when they say "Turn in a half a mile."
- Runners are the friendliest group of people you will ever meet. That runner's high thing clearly keeps them all happy. Which leads me to...
- That runner's high thing is actually a thing. The first time I actually ran that mile? I was a golden goddess. No joke.
- Bluetooth headphones. That's all.
- Running socks are the best things to happen to socks since, well, socks.
- Target is probably not where you want to go to get your running shoes. This was a shock to me, but when I bought legit running shoes from a running store I understood the difference. Target has some nice apparel. And hats. Use those. Get real shoes.
- People run in the rain. And the snow. And finishing a run with rain on your face? Have you seen Shawshank Redemption? Do you remember that scene? That.
- Running in temperatures above 90 degrees is equivalent to being in one of those dreams where you are trying to run but can't get anywhere. Unless no one else has those dreams. I'm sure that can't just be me.
- Running at the same pace as walking is still harder than walking at the same pace as running. Take a minute to ponder that.
- Cardiac arrest is not nearly as imminent as you might think it is when you first start running. After all, I seemed to have survived the daily stop-sign heart attack.
- Nothing is more soul crushing than the Facebook friends who post their workouts and 10 mile runs on a daily basis with self-serving hashtags (#IAMAWESOME!). Or the 20 year old who posts her first day of training (#FIRSTDAY15MILES! #IROCK). Remember that you are only competing with yourself. No one else. Feel free to borrow some of my hashtags (#SCREWYOU #MADEITTOTHESTOPSIGN #IBIRTHEDFIVEBABIESBITCH). Definitely makes me feel a lot better.
- Running for a cause you believe in is the single greatest motivator to get up at 5 AM than any fitness goals you might want to attain.
Good luck with your training! Check out my marathon page!
This article originally appeared on writing elves.com.