Globe Life’s online editor Amberly McAteer writes about her love/hate (but mostly hate) relationship with running and why she’s quit three 10K races. She’ll follow our 10K program and find answers to your running questions. She doesn’t promise it will be pretty, but she does promise to finish this time
The great challenge of my running career has never been the finish line. I couldn’t care less about the journey, the wondrous self-fulfillment or about beating my personal best. For me, the problem is the starting line. I have signed up and paid for three 10K races. I haven’t showed up for a single one. No, I didn’t even get a T-shirt.
Go ahead, call me a quitter. I deserve it.
Here’s the thing: I love running – but I do it at my own pace, on my own time, and if I feel like stopping after 12 minutes on the treadmill, then I will – thank-you-very-much. I’m a relatively fit 27-year-old woman, who has been running – more like jogging – for the past two years. I have completed two 5K races. And by completed, I mean that I’ve walked across the finish line, sweaty and exhausted, with not one stride left in me.
About once or twice a week, I set out with a puffer in hand (I’m asthmatic). At red lights I stand still. After any run that exceeds 30 minutes it feels like I’m nearing certain death.
Yet I continue to sign up for these big, scary 10K races. I can’t exactly explain why – except to say that I want to conquer what seems so very impossible. I want to prove to myself that I am an actual runner. I want to wear the stupid race T-shirt.
Each time I register, I’m honestly convinced I’ll cross the finish line. This time last year, I bought the sweat-wicking pants and the serious running shoes (“Sorry, what’s a Saucony and why do I need one?”) and planned the perfect playlist. But new assignments, new apartments, dog-sitting a week here, visiting family a week there, creep in. And before I even realize I’m a drop-out, bam – it’s race day, and there’s no way I’m showing up for that. I can’t do it, and I won’t do it. Sleeping in is the smarter, kinder option.
What keeps me running is the feeling I get after I’m home and I’ve caught my breath – which, guaranteed, takes me longer than you. After I’ve stretched out my sore legs and had a tall glass of water, I feel physically and mentally refreshed.
I can have the worst day, but no matter how painful my run, it’s the only activity I know that never fails to make me feel great, awesome even.
That’s why I run, and that’s why I’m committed to training (for real this time) for Sporting Life’s 10K on May 1. I hope you’ll follow our 10-week program with me. We can struggle and triumph along the way together.
I won’t be the most skilled runner you read about in our series, and I certainly won’t be the fastest. But I’ll be honest about the hurt, the sweat and the guaranteed tears.