Last Sunday, I was feeling meh about everything, so I went for a run. This may sound like a perfectly natural thing to do to some of you and like an outlandish activity to others. To me, it’s both.
At some point during my teenage years, I have internalised the idea that running is Good For You™ and What Fit People Do™. Naturally, I decided to do it. In fact, I made that decision several times over ten years. Every single time, I acted on it and went for a run. Once. Having exhausted myself and remembered that I bloody hated running, I let it be for another year or two.
In recent years, my attempts had stopped. I was simply not A Person Who Enjoys Running. I read about Horrible Running Injuries. I got into dancing. Several people on my Facebook feed had started running by that point: a couple of friends and acquaintances, a couple of celebrities. I enjoyed reading about their running progress and successes. And then one day, on a Sunday, when I was feeling meh about everything, I downloaded the Zombies, Run! couch-to-5k plan, put on some old trainers and went for a run.
And then, to my own great surprise, I did it again and again and I enjoyed it. I bought a pair of running shoes and started going out regularly. That was last spring. About three weeks later, I started getting pain and tightness in my right Achilles tendon. It quickly got to the point where I couldn’t jump in ballet. My bad habit of spending entirely too much time googling things helpfully provided me with words like «tendonitis», «tendinosis» and «rupture», so I ran straight to the doctor. My doctor, who is a chill guy and accustomed to my hypochondriac’s habit of showing up in his waiting room with the words «BUT WHAT IF IT’S BROKEN?», poked the tendon, moved my leg about and pointed out that I should probably stretch my calves once in a while.
[Insert sad trombone sound effect here]
To be exact, he told me to stretch my calves three times a day, lay off running until the pain was gone and then run slowly. Which was all good advice. After the Achilles pain subsided, I started hip-hop, which in turn gave me knee pain. After that went away, it was summer and frankly too hot to move. I went on a couple of stray runs here and there, still enjoying it, but I never got back to the 5k plan. It requires one to run three times a week to see progress, which wasn’t always feasible.
Last Sunday, I finally solved that problem by abandoning the 5k plan altogether and getting straight into the main Zombies, Run! app. I figure nine months of dancing gives me a higher starting level than «couch». For those of you who haven’t encountered the app yet, it is the ultimate gamification of running. You play a runner in a post-zombie-apocalyptic world. Your job is to complete missions, gather supplies (a disproportionate share of which seem to be trousers for some reason) and listen to a well-written and well-performed story, interspersed with your own music.
Also, you get attacked by zombies and have to run like hell to get away from them sometimes. This feature is optional, but fun.
I guess that means I’m back to running. One or two runs a week are my goal. This way, I can go for a run in daylight, even during the winter. The local forest being a bit short on street lamps. I went for a run yesterday evening, too, because there’s no modern during the school holidays. Whenever this will be the case, I’ll also run on Mondays. In a normal week, it’ll be Friday and/or Saturday and/or Sunday, with dance classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and a mandatory recovery day on Tuesday and one of the week-end days.
My inexplicable change of heart about running remains a mystery for now. Maybe it’s because dancing has improved my form so much that running is no longer so bloody hard?