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A couple of months ago, I embarked on a new exercise regime called “running.” I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it; frankly, it was new to me.

It involves moving yourself along, rather like walking, but alternately picking your feet up so that there’s always at least one foot off the ground. (You can probably find better resources on what “running” is; I try to keep things simple.)

I seem to recall doing some “running” back in middle school, around 1974, but that is very hazy to me now. In recent decades, the only “running” I’ve done has been from something.

I’m using a training program called “Couch to 5K.” The idea is that you start out on the couch (I did this part for about 45 years, so I’m pretty good at it) and then, over 9-10 weeks, you slowly build up to running a 5K (3.1 miles, for those of you that are metrically-challenged).

The first day involved a series of 60-second “running” intervals separated by 90 seconds of walking. It turns out that I can actually run for 60 seconds. My heart complained; my heart rate was about 180BPS at its peak, but that steadily improved.

My knees complained a lot for the first couple of weeks until I acquired a pair of actual running shoes (Nike Pegasus Zoom 35, if you care). I discovered that I hate running in the dark: I’m terrified that I’ll step in a hole and drown in the ditch before someone finds me. That can still happen in the daylight, but, for some reason, it’s less scary.

This morning, I finished week 9, day 1, which consists of a 20-minute run, 2 minutes of walking, and a 4-minute running interval. Somewhat amazingly, I completed this, and my heart rate never went above 161BPS. I think that the program does two things: first, it builds your confidence by running for periods that are accomplishable, and, second, it strengthens your heart and legs over time.

I’ve had to re-do a couple of the training days. Once, because I stopped halfway through because of rain. Another time was when I got sick and skipped a few days, so I went back and re-did the prior one before proceeding.

The greatest thing about “running,” however, is the sense of personal superiority I feel towards non-runners. This is something that I’ve longed for for years, and it’s great to feel that I’m better that someone else after a reasonable amount of personal effort.

If all goes well, I’ll run a full 5K some time next week and then I can go back to sitting on the couch.

Glen Campbell
Lynnwood, WA (USA)
December 12, 2018