- I'm still working on my form. I'm not sure, but I could totally imagine I look like a duck while I'm running. I try really hard to keep my feet forward, but they just naturally want to flop out to the side. When I'm really tired, I think I must downgrade to something akin to a penguin waddle. I slow way down, I'm hunched over, and I can barely get my feet up off the ground. You couldn't even call it running really, but my feet are still doing that same floppy thing, and since my center of gravity is way closer to the ground, they're flopping faster. And my gait is much shorter. I'm really trying to avoid wearing black and white running gear.
- I haven't really progressed to the open road yet. Partly it's because I'm trying to get strong enough to overcome my floppy duck feet/ penguin gait syndrome. But also I inevitably have to pee somewhere around mile two . . . and sometimes I even need to . . . get a drink of water. I don't remember everything feeling so heavy in my lower mid-section a few years back when I was in my thirties. I'm hoping some of that pressure will be alleviated after I lose a few more pounds. In the meantime, I do laps around the outermost perimeter of a church parking lot. Years ago I drove around in my car gauging the mileage and discovered one lap is .4 miles. Did I mention I did ten laps today?
- One section of the church perimeter involves a stretch of sidewalk on a moderately busy road, and no matter how far I've declined into my waddle, I still pretend to be a real runner if cars are passing by. I run tall, chin up, and force my feet forward. I suck in my stomach muscles and widen my gait. I even bob my head a little to my I-Phone music like I'm not choking on my lungs and like my calf muscles aren't stretched so tight that they're about to snap me into oblivion . . . then I turn the corner, desperately sucking for air, and stumble blindly into a tree or a parked car . . .
- Parked cars in the parking lot really annoy me, especially when they're parked directly in the path of my run.Why someone wouldn't have the foresight to predict that someone might come running along and be inconvenienced by having to move a few feet to the left or right is beyond me. Trust me . . . this can make all the difference in a run when every muscle in your body is screaming, "Stop! You're tool old! You missed the window!" . . . And while we're on the subject, people annoy me when I'm trying to run . . . dogwalkers, kids on bikes, families arriving for church . . . couldn't they just wait til I'm done sweating and heaving and suffering? Is there no mercy left in the world? . . .
- Several people -- actually three, and someone else who stared hard at me like something might be different, but second guessed commenting -- have noticed I'm losing a little weight. I wouldn't know because scales frighten me. I do know that my sports bras are getting looser. That wasn't really part of the plan. It took me over forty years to grow a pair, and at this stage in life, I'm trying hard to hang on to any assets I've acquired up to this point. It's a conundrum, but in consulting with a friend who happens to be nicely racked and also over forty, the elliptical seems to be a viable solution. We've reasoned that the arm work involved keeps muscle tone good that supports the breasts. So between hellish runs around the church, I also manage to work in hellish elliptical sessions in my living room. I know what you're thinking . . . I'm just not ready to give up yet . . .
- I wasn't kidding about the twelve hour recovery time. . . at 40+ it's ridiculously long. My four mile run was yesterday afternoon, and as I was lying in bed at 8:30 this morning, contemplating my aching legs and dreading my walk to the coffee pot, I got a text. It was from a friend who wanted to meet for coffee. You'd of thought she was asking me to push a grocery cart full of bricks to Starbuck's on an uphill incline. My inner dialogue went something like this: What? Now? When? Today? Like, wouldn't I actually have to leave the house for that? And be dressed? Stop yelling at me! Stop PUSHING! It was totally irrational and disproportionate and all too much for me. I rolled over (slowly) and went back to sleep.
- A few final confessions: 40+ running for me involves chafing and wheezing . . . and that photograph of the lovely silhouetted woman who can lift her knees to her chin is not really me . . . I'm sure you knew that. Oh, and I don't have an I love Michigan coffee cup. I just loved the irony of the visual. Finally, I didn't really run the four miles straight through . . . I actually did take a three minute break to pee after mile three. But then, I swear I ran the last mile with an uncharacteristically un-duck like strong finish.
So there may be hope for me after all. I'll be back out there tomorrow pushing for five and perfecting the four. . . . and ultimately working towards 13.1 . . . because as I tell my girls all the time, I'm only half crazy.