Last night was my first night “running.” At its best, my pace was a clunky, awkward jog. At its most comfortable, it was a very brisk walk. At its worst, it was me fumbling with my gadgets to mask the embarrassment of catching my breath. I went 1.15 miles before I gave in to quitting.

Sunshine + good tunes + sneakers = AJ's first run

sunshine + good tunes + sneakers

My first run taught me a few things:

  1. I really need to find a way to “batten down the hatches” when engaging in high impact sports. Curvy women will know what I mean. Everything that gives me my feminine shape hurt last night. I knew the impact would be killer, but I was not fully prepared. I blame the elliptical and stationary bike for spoiling me over the winter. Time to get some compression wear! Some toning exercises probably wouldn’t hurt either.
  2. Just as I had to figure out a good pace on the bike, I need to find a groove for running. It will take time, but it’s there somewhere. My heart rate monitor coupled with some beginner runner training programs will likely help.
  3. I need to get over my own vanity. Honestly, who looks sexy when they’re running? My paranoia that everyone was watching me did nothing to help my first foray into the sport. My messy, sweaty running > lazy couch potato-ing.
  4. Training on my indoor equipment still has a relevant place in all of this. I had thought once the weather broke I could just transition straight to jogging outside. This first run laughed in my face with a, “Oh, you think you’re a hot shot just because you can do 13 miles on your bike in an hour? PFFFT! Think again, lady!” Endurance on an elliptical or stationary bike is completely different from endurance running outside. That said, my indoor equipment can still help me improve my endurance on days when I can’t get outside to run.

As I’ve said before, I am not a runner. I never have been. My body just doesn’t seem to be built for the sport. But that’s not going to stop me.

Even without pushing myself, I wasn’t too far off from my mile times in high school. That alone is encouraging to me, especially given all the sedentary years in between now and then. And the trails behind our house don’t know it yet, but I’m one stubborn woman. What my body lacks my tenacity will more than make up for. That’s right, trails: I’m gonna whoop your butt! It may not be the fastest ass kicking you’ve ever received, but it will be an ass kicking nonetheless.


  1. Good luck with all of it. Running outside is a whole different animal than indoors. I, personally, can’t do treadmills. I get too bored. Unfortunately, with my bum knee and now the surgery recooperation, I probably won’t be hitting trails or anything else for a few months.

    But if I can run at all, anyone can. I started back in college and lost about 100 pounds over about a year,,,,mostly from running. I started by walking and then moved up. I was just like you…completely embarrassed because my asthma made me breathe heavy. No one really cares, and if anything, they’re there too–so they’ve probably felt the same way. It’s funny how we create obstacles for ourselves.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your journey. I want to get back to it this summer, and it’s inspiring to see someone else tackling their goals. <3

    • “It’s funny how we create obstacles for ourselves.” This. 100x this. As I was lacing up, I had second thoughts. A negative voice kept nagging with thoughts of quitting before I had even started. “You’ll look like an idiot.” “Everyone will think you’re lame/crazy/fat/clumsy/slow.” “If you don’t start, you won’t feel guilty about a lack of improvement later.” I think that last one was the big motivator. If I didn’t start last night, it would be ok to NEVER start, to take the easy road out and just complacently give in to my dumb fear. Knowing that there are other people who have experienced this exact thing, like you pointed out, quiets that nag in my head.

      If you pick running back up, I hope you blog about it. Amber (below) is blogging about her training, and it’s been really helpful–even if she’s MILES ahead of me.

  2. You just gotta start, as you know, and then keep going, which I know you will. Great job on taking the next step. Keep it up! I’ll be cheering you on.

  3. Great post. I’m glad it’s not just me. I felt very much the same way when I first started but it does get easier pretty quickly as you keep challenging yourself. Someone once wrote, “It’s more rewarding to have written, than to write.” I think the same can be said about running. Times one million. Because running IS HARD.

    • I like a similar quote about writing: “I hate writing but love having written.” You make a great correlation between writing and running (or any exercise, really). I’m going to keep that in mind the next time I’m out there thinking, “Ugh, WHY did I think this was a good idea again? Hey, bonehead, remember what Tessa said! You’ll be basking in the glory of this run when it’s done.”

    • It’s not about a lack of exercise. I had a pretty good stretch of working out 6 days a week on gym equipment there for a while. The goal has always been running in my first 5k in August. I agree, though, that hooping is a fun aerobic exercise that often is forgotten by folks (or they think only kids do it). You’re doing a phenomenal job of getting the word out!

  4. Did you consider a running group? I started from scratch last year by running with a group (Towpath Turtles–the name tells you how slowly I needed to run), and I was able to run many races, including a half marathon. This is a goal that I NEVER imagined I would achieve, and I really owe it to the group.

    • That’s a great idea, Stephani. A few friends of mine picked up the running bug through exactly that type of group, which also had a turtle theme to it. I’ve kicked the idea around a couple of times, but I tend to work out at odd hours (sometimes even as late as 1am) due to a crazy, unpredictable schedule. So for now, it’s probably best as a solo labor–at least most of the time. I’ve nudged friends about sporadic jogs together, which I’d still like to do when time allows.

  5. Pingback: MY FIRST DISAPPOINTMENT AS A RUNNER | The Pensive Pilcrow

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