Running Seems Simple… In Theory

You know you suck at running when the people you care about encourage you with phrases like these:

  • “Hey, it’s a really big deal just to finish!”
  • “Think about how far you’ve come. You used to have to stop just to breathe on this hill. Don’t feel bad about walking.”
  • “It’s better to go slow, than to not go.”
  • “Think of it this way, you’ve already lapped everyone on the couch!”
  • “Don’t get so caught up in the numbers that you don’t have fun.”
  • “You finished a half marathon! So what if it took three hours. You enjoyed yourself, didn’t you?”  (Yes. Yes, I did.)
  • And the best one of all: “I’m so proud of you, Norene. Most people would have given up by now.”

I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I love that one the most. Because, truthfully, there were a few times that I have felt like giving up. But I keep hanging in there despite the injuries, the slowness and the nasty little voice inside my head that repeatedly asks “What are you thinking? Running? Are you kidding me?”

I’ve been running the same 12-minute mile almost since I started. I still breath like freight train and I almost always feel the need for a little walk break every half mile or so. To be honest, it has crossed my mind that I really should be a walker, not a runner.

But I don’t want to be a walker. I want to be runner. I’m not sure why it’s so important to me. It’s so important to me that more times than I can count, I’ve found myself in tears on my training runs. Joyful tears if the run is going well and bitter tears if I’m struggling. Why does it matter so much to me? I’ve never been athletic – never played organized sports. I’m not all that competitive. So why is running such a big deal to me? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. It just is. Maybe I want to run because it’s so hard for me. If I can run… well, then, I can do pretty much anything.

I began running when I was 49 years old, and to say I didn’t know what I was doing would be a major understatement. And to say I wish I would have started running when I was younger would be an even bigger one.

In theory, running seems simple – lace up your shoes and hit the road. Run until you can’t run any farther and do it again tomorrow. Then the day comes when the little twinge you’ve been feeling for a couple of days explodes into a full-blown injury and even walking is painful, regardless of the ibuprofen you shove down your throat. When that happens, you can’t run for a long, long time. I’ve done this repeatedly in my short wanna-be running life.


So, through the Idiots Running Club, I found Coach Jeff at PRS Fit to walk me through this field of running ignorance. Someone to guide me, to help me get strong so I won’t get injured so much. Someone who knows how to help me build an aerobic base so I won’t sound like freight train wheezing down the track. I’m lifting weights, riding a bike, doing lunges and squats and using the elliptical. I can even do push-ups now. My muscles are sore, and I’ve never sweat so much.

I like having a plan, and I like having a coach to help me learn to run. Because, if I can run… well, then, I can do pretty much anything.

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