2006.08.23 Running makes you feel so good?

Written by David Green.

Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now

I feel good, I knew that I would, now

So good, so good...


By COLLEEN LEDDY

James Brown was belting it out when I finished running (jogging, inching along, “shuffling,” my daughter Maddie might say) at the track Sunday night. I could hear it loud and clear in my head after walking one lap, running (see disclaimer above) ONE MILE, walking one lap, running two laps, and walking two laps including a spurt of actual running for 100 meters.

I was not hearing James Brown inside my head while traversing the track, however. I was hearing, “I feel like stopping. I don’t really want to do this anymore. This doesn’t feel good. Why do people enjoy running anyway?” My conclusion? It’s like banging your head against the wall: it feels good when you stop.

Outside my head I was hearing my daughter Rozee saying, “You’ve made it two laps, you can do three.” “You’re almost done now, only one more lap.” “You just have to go around the curve and you’ve got it.”

Since she graciously tore herself away from the computer to accompany me, I knew I had to keep going. I couldn’t be a wimp. Besides, I had to prove to myself that I really could run a mile. I had set my sights three weeks ago on running a mile by last Friday, the first leg of my journey to complete the 3.1 miles of the Neal Singles Memorial 5K Run on Sept. 24.

But we were in Berea, Ohio, Friday night, checking out Baldwin-Wallace College in case Maddie might be interested in attending school in a town named Berea. Well, Rozee, who attends school in Berea, Ky., thought it would be fun. Maddie had not a lick of interest. We spent the night there anyway and because we couldn’t find Baldwin-Wallace’s track in the dark, I had to attempt my mile on a treadmill in the hotel’s fitness center.

“Was there a pool?” David asked.

“Yeah, but it was little and Rozee didn’t bring a suit,” I said.

“You don’t need a suit when you guys go swimming,” he said.

“We should swim naked?!” I asked, slightly shocked at his suggestion.

“Underpants,” he said, referring to last summer’s mother-daughter trip to Puerto Rico when I wore my underpants to the pool by mistake.

But I was appropriately dressed for the treadmill and I was really cruising on that machine. Accompanied by “Will and Grace” on the TV, I hit three laps and didn’t feel all that tired. I felt confident I’d make it to a mile, but was mystified why I didn’t feel ready to quit—usually the steady huffing and puffing and noise of breathing through my mouth scares me into thinking I’m going to collapse, especially compared to Rozee and Maddie who barely make a sound when they run alongside me. Then I realized that the TV and treadmill were so loud, I couldn’t hear myself breathe. And as long as I couldn’t hear myself, I didn’t know I was going to collapse.

So, on Sunday night, I had to test whether I could truly run a mile even though I can’t breathe right. I really can’t do things like inhale through my nose when my right foot hits the ground or inhale through my nose, period. I couldn’t do Lamaze breathing either, but I birthed all three of my kids without drugs or hyper-ventilating. Ignoring my breathing, and the fear that it’s telling me to WALK, DON’T RUN, I just kept on running with Rozee’s encouragement.

When we got back home, Rozee, reliving her cross country team days, was talking about how painful it is to run when your lungs burn.

“My lungs never burn,” I made the mistake of saying.

“What?! Then you should be running a lot farther!” she declared.

Not what I want to hear. I’ve mentioned before that I am a perfect example of that law of physics: objects in motion remain in motion, objects at rest, remain at rest. It’s Newton’s First Law of Motion, and for the most part, it describes my life. In the morning, when I am in bed, I hate getting up. I just want to stay there. And when I am up, I just keep moving about. I hate going to bed; I don’t want to stop what I am doing.

But when it comes to running, I am an unwilling object in motion, I am not following Newton’s laws. I want to stop almost as soon as I start. And I am keeping first-most in my mind...there’s always the Neal V. Singles Memorial 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk.

– Aug. 23, 2006
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