Growing up, I had three Olympic idols: Dorothy Hamill (I even got her famous haircut when I was in first grade), Nadia Comaneci (I had the album with “her” song on it, once tried to do “her” flips in my bedroom to “her” music, hit my head on my canopy bed rail and there went my gymnastics career), and Bruce Jenner (he just looked superb in a pair of shorts.)
Since March, as many of you know, I’ve been running. Well, jogging with the hopes of it someday becoming running.
It’s really comical on paper, but in life, not at all.
At the end of March, I decided I wanted to run to help me maintain my weight but also try to push myself. Walking doesn’t really cut it for me, I needed a quicker way to exercise as my time is limited with kids and my husband’s hours. Plus, I kind of hate the gym and I am not motivated enough to do exercise tapes at home. I tried that, and I almost strangled Leslie Sansone through the television. Long story.
So I researched the Couch to 5k method. Basically, going from a couch potato to a marathon runner in 9 weeks. Then I went to my doctor because I’d been diagnosed as a teen with exercise-induced asthma and also had a knee condition known as Osgood Schlatter’s disease since 8th grade, so I wanted to make sure it was safe for me to even run. Basically, I was/is/am a hot steaming mess.
Because of the two above diagnoses, I was almost terrified to ever run…..even for my life.
But the doctor gave me the go-ahead and off I went. I should first state that I started running with my friends Rebecca and Christine. This will become important to the story I am trying to tell.
During week one I felt great about it because, in the beginning, you are only running for 1 minute, walking for 1 minute, and so on for 20 minutes. For someone who never ran, it was quite exciting to be running at all.
First obstacle blisters. Badass blisters. I did everything from putting blister wax on them to packing them with bandages so thick you would have thought I had just had heel surgery. Then after about a week and a half, my feet stopped hating my new running shoes, and I thought, YES! the first hurdle accomplished! Look at me running like Bruce Jenner!!
Or Betty White.
More like Betty White than Bruce Jenner.
Then somewhere between weeks one and two, my knee started hurting. Really bad. Like my knee cap had fallen off.
Off to the doctor again.
I got some anti-inflammatory drugs and was told to ice it after I run, then do these special knee exercises before I run. They told me I am “training my knees” now and that if they don’t get better after a few weeks, to stop running altogether. But I was told I could still run in finding out if I can run or not.
Are you keeping up so far?
I took the anti-inflammatory drugs for a week, got the worst migraine of my life, and couldn’t take my typical Advil/migraine meds mix because of said anti-inflammatory. So I stopped taking the anti-inflammatory.
But my knee got better with the mix of running exercises and icing them before and after.
Amid this, my friend Christine and I had a fight and I blame running. Running and friendship don’t mix.
It makes you angry, hungry, and hormonal. If you plan to run with a friend, rethink it altogether.
Run with an enemy.
My neighbor recently asked to run with me and I leveled with her:
I really like you and so I am going to just say no.
So I kept on going, heading into week five without Christine but still with Rebecca. That is when my chest started hurting. First thought? I am having a heart attack/stroke. So I went to the doctor yet again.
By the way, I usually go to the doctor probably three times a year. So setting you straight, this is my third doctor visit in five weeks.
They listened to my heart, my chest, gave me a breathalyzer test of some sort.
My exercise-induced asthma is back.
2020 note- an allergist informed me in 2014 that I don’t actually have asthma and that exercise-induced asthma isn’t really asthma. They did tests etc.. and found that it was most likely allergies that were making me breathe in that manner and since I was running outside in spring, that is why I was struggling. Also, anxiety. I had anxiety about asthma they diagnosed me with (that I didn’t have) which mimicked asthma symptoms. I need to write a book. Oh wait, I guess I already kind of am.
They gave me an inhaler, told me I can’t run when it is really hot or really cold and that since at this point we were in the middle of spring allergy season, that I should run really early in the morning and maybe take some Claritin.
But I could still run.
How many signs was God gonna give me to tell me to stop running?
Even Christine had said (prior to our argument or during it, I can’t remember), “it’s like the Universe is telling you something“.
At this point, I was still running with Rebecca but I was feeling like I was holding her back a little because there were some sessions when I only wanted to power walk and not run at all because I was a little spooked by the asthma thing.
That’s also when I took an entire week off.
I later found out that Rebecca had been running with her husband and was up to two miles and for some reason, this really hurt my feelings.
WHY ON EARTH WOULD THIS HURT MY FEELINGS?
Maybe because I felt like it was such a huge hurdle for me to even get to one mile and I think I was jealous that she was having no problem running and I was falling apart limb by limb.
I felt inadequate and frankly, like a loser.
Do you see the animosity that running with friends creates? For me?
RUN WITH YOUR ENEMIES.
I held in my feelings when she told me about running with her husband one night at a dinner at her house.
She was absolutely wonderful about it and still wanted to run with me, but I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up with her.
I literally cried the entire car ride home and spent most of that night awake and feeling sorry for myself.
I had a meltdown. About running. I know, I’m ashamed of myself too.
Now to be fair, there were other things going on in my life that would make me overreact and I am a total overreactor by nature, but this was the thing that put me over the proverbial edge.
It was in the middle of the night, I decided all alone, amid sobs, in the dark that I was quitting altogether.
Stupid, dumb, poopy head running.
That morning, I woke up with pain in my tummy. I thought that this was indeed my body telling me something and felt like I had made the right decision.
2020 note- Oh 2012 Kari, just wait for the days when you can longingly wish for troubles as inconsequential as this.
Until I realized, despite my obstacles, that I kind of loved running. I loved how it made me feel. I loved how it made my body look. And I loved how much of a release it was for me. And then I decided I was gonna run again. Alone.
And start from the beginning again.
I went to the doctor yet again when the tummy pain didn’t go away after two weeks.
I CAN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP.
But the nurse (who is also a runner) told me, ” most people would have quit weeks ago but you must love it because you are still doing it after all these little obstacles“.
Then she said, “you look great, I can tell you are running“.
And THAT my friends, is what motivated me to keep doing it.
Because when your nurse, who is a marathon runner, tells YOU that YOU look good?
Sign.Me. Up. I will run ’til I fall to the ground.
So, 11 weeks after I started the program, to begin with, I started all over again from the beginning.
It’s hard and I have to push myself to get out of bed early to do it.
But I am doing it.
And I plan to run/jog/walk/ gasp my way through a 5k race in September.
On a side note, I am still friends with Rebecca but take my word for it and exercise with your enemies.
Oh, and I really don’t hate on Bruce Jenner. It was just a better title than, ” I Can’t Run More Than A Mile Or I Will Pass Out”.