Run like a Penny dog.

14 Sep

 The trials and tribulations of a non-runner deciding to run

I am not a fan of running.  There, I said it.  I have never been a fan of running.  In fact, I can honestly say I loathe it.  And I really try to not overuse the word “loathe”, but, in this case, it is absolutely accurate.

As someone who spent a significant amount of her child and young adult life running around a basketball court, this may come as a surprise to some of you that don’t know me well.  If I had to run to catch someone making a break down the court – I love running!  Let’s go get her!  I don’t want her to beat me!  Basketball makes running a competitive exercise, where the ability to get from Point A to Point B faster doesn’t make you a better basketball player.  It CAN make you better, but if you can’t dribble the ball to save your life then you may want to try a different sport (like track).  Basketball made me feel strong, confident, and I became a full-fledged adrenaline junkie.  I’m not sure anything has matched the excitement I felt before a big game.

For me, the idea of going out and running at the same pace for an extended amount of time makes me crazy.  Throw in four knee surgeries and a doctor’s suggestion that not only I never play basketball again, but that I really shouldn’t use running as my major form of exercise.  Thanks, Doc.  So for the extent of my 20’s I have been searching for a way to get the same exercise and competitive adrenaline that I used to get from playing basketball.  Running? Who needs it?!  Well, apparently, I do.

Choosing to go with the idea of “baby steps”, I asked my friend and marathon survivor, Haleigh, to help me develop a training plan for the Race for the Cure.  I told myself, if my cousin Jennifer can fight breast cancer with a smile then I should be able to run a couple miles in her honor.  So for my first run, I just started out with 1 mile.

So I plugged in my iPod, cranked up the tunes, and started my first run.  As loud Eminem and Pink songs blasted in my ears, I heard myself start to think negative thoughts, like “I must look so stupid running”, “I wonder if anyone watching me now would even know that I used to be a college athlete”, and “I am so bad at this.  I hate that I am bad at this”.   The negative emotions cascaded down telling me I wasn’t good enough and would never be good enough.  I finished the run feeling worse about myself than when I had started.  And I had successfully finished my run!

I came inside feeling self-conscious and depressed.  After talking with Eric, he suggested I try to run outside with no music.  He told me to go out for my next run with the idea that I’m going to go take some time to just be with myself, move my body, and enjoy being outside.  He asked me to not look at it as a competitive practice but as a way to meditate, feel the sun against my skin, and reflect on my day.  This was a new concept for me.

So for my second run (1.25 mi) a day later, I set out with nothing but my running shoes and my thoughts.  As I jogged in my neighborhood, I felt more connected to both my community and Mother Nature.  I found that I talked myself through problems I’d been having.  I gave myself a break when I couldn’t make it all the way up the hill without catching my breath.  I even thought about the look my basset hound, Penny, expresses when she’s running in the park – PURE JOY.  So I smiled.  When my run got hard, I put a big smile on my face and enjoyed the feeling of moving my body.  I had a great run.  I ran like a Penny dog.

Maybe running will never be a competitive outlet for me, like I originally thought it should be.  I’m really okay with that.  Somehow I found a way to enjoy running.  With baby steps, hopefully someday I’ll be running longer than a couple miles, but if not, oh well.  At least I will always have something where I can go out and be quiet for a while.

In Health & Happiness,

Kacy

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2 Responses to “Run like a Penny dog.”

  1. Shelley Lett September 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM #

    Great post Kacy! So inspiring. You can do anything you set your mind too. You are strong, bold, and completely courageous. Keep up the hard work, and just know that this is yet another thing you are going to conquer in your life. So proud of you!

  2. eiualum September 18, 2012 at 10:59 PM #

    Very proud of you, Kacy, for running for Jennifer. Getting your bib and number makes it all real. Good luck and take care of yourself! Love you.

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