I was 50 years old and a new vegan last year when I ran my first 5k. I trained myself and crossed the finish line in 35:47 minutes – ugh, not the 30 minutes or under I’d hoped for but, ok. I’m officially a runner I thought, so I need to upgrade my knowlege of running lingo.
I asked a couple of questions, did a bit of online research with Runner’s World or just Googled terms like tempo runs, tapering, over-pronation and negative splits. Then something funny happened: my brain shut completely down. I stopped asking questions, ended Internet searches and closed my mind. I completely stopped caring about learning all the terms.
Guilt hit me hard. I mean, hell, I was already struggling to call myself a runner. I’m not out there pounding that pavement at 6 a.m., nor will I run in the rain or the snow and if I get out there in the freezing cold it’s because I’m having a particularly so-what-it’s-cold-I’m-running-anyway day. (They come few and far between) At least if I took the time to know the terms, I would sound like a runner.
I thought about my writing. Writing is my craft. I grab every book, magazine, conversation or tutorial I can get my hands on to learn my craft. Should I be thinking of running as my craft too? Should I cram every bit of running lingo that will fit into my now 51-year-old brain?
I didn’t have to wait long for the answer: NO. Not doing it. It’s way to organized for me.
Now don’t get this twisted. There are certain aspects to running that I make a point to know about:
- Safety – in running locations and in clothing if I’m running in dusk or dawn hours;
- Nutrition – so that I don’t pass out from not eating enough, or vomit from eating too much;
- Pain Signals – I am 51, and I don’t want to ruin my knees so that I can’t run anymore. Those aspects of running, I pay careful attention to, but that’s it.
The rest – calculating when I should run fast, or when I should run slow, figuring out what the heck a fartlek is (actually that word itself peaked my interest), or pushing myself to run at a certain pace because that’s what a training schedule dictates – all that was just too organized for me. I stepped back and remembered why I started running in the first place: for the freedom of running.
I love how my body feels when I get out there to run. Whether I’m running fast – well fast for me – or at a talking pace, I just love the fact that I’m 51 – a grandmother of six, and my body is capable of a level of physical activity that I didn’t even attempt well when I was in high school! I’m practicing good nutrition, I have energy and my body is getting stronger with every workout. I’m in physical and mental heaven! Why would I want to ruin that peace by weighting myself down with a lot of lingo that I truly have no use for in my individual level of running?
Running is my freedom; it gives me the peace that helps me stay organized in everything else I do.
So for now, don’t look for me to “talk” like a runner. Just let me run please.