Sunday, June 24, 2012

My first D was in PE

During my freshman year in high school, my PE teacher was also the track coach, and I had been friends with her daughter for at least five years.  Track and field was the one sport that I participated in annually without fail.  This does not mean that I was runner in any real sense of the word.  I threw.  I threw the discus, the shot put, and tantrums whenever I had to run.  If you had predicted that, nearly 20 years in the future, I would run without being forced to, the ensuing laughter would have been overwhelming.

So, when our assignment was to run a mile, I thought maybe Coach would have some compassion.  Coach posted the scoring rubric on her office window a number of days before the big run.  My stomach was in knots over it. My report card always consisted of A's and B's.  The lump grew in size as I gazed at the overwhelming information (this is not exact, but it is the best of my recollection; I definitely remember what earned me a D):
A   Up to 7:59
B   8:00-9:59
C   10:00-11:59
D   12:00-13:59
F   14:00 and above

This rubric was NOT compassionate.  It did not take into consideration fitness level and running experience.  What about effort?
I swore that I would run the mile without stopping, no matter how much my thunder thighs and burning lungs protested it.  Coach would be proud that I didn't give in and stop, and she would reward me merit points. 

I remember the big day so vividly.  Some of the track stars lapped me two, maybe three times!  My life would end before I finished the mile.  A stabbing pain tortured my side, the atmosphere lacked oxygen, and I was on the verge of crying, no sobbing.  My feet moved beneath me, but it felt as if I was going nowhere.  I recall some the girls walking and gossiping the entire mile.  How could they not care that they would fail this assignment?  What seemed like an eternity later, somewhere between 13 and 14 minutes, I completed the mile.  I recall Coach saying something to the effect of "You put in a great effort, you didn't even stop once!"  I'm not sure if I responded, but all I could think is how much I loathed her in that moment.  For the record, during a workout I hate anyone who makes me sweat.  My sister experienced it first-hand last summer as she gave me a personal training session.
In the end, she did not take pity on me and I received a D for the mile run.  My heart shattered.  How could I put so much effort (every last ounce of effort) into something, and still fail so miserably?  She had even acknowledged my hard work! It was at this time that I made up my mind that I would NEVER be a runner.  And I wasn’t.

Not until this year.  Eighteen years later, I decided to give running a chance.  I am NOT a GOOD runner, yet, but I am a runner (or a jogger if you want to be specific).  I have completed not just one, but two miles without stopping.  I would still earn a D, but not an incomplete. 
My current goal is to run 5K without stopping.  It has taken more time than the c25k program prescribes for several reasons.  First, life and death has gotten in the way.  Second, if I attempt a day, such as a 28 minute run, and only am able to run it partially while walking the rest, I repeat the day until I can complete it.   Of course, there are also some days where I am lazy and just don’t make it to the gym. 

To be straight forward, when I started the program, I did not believe that I would be even minimally successful.  I did not believe that I could complete the third week, much less the eighth.  Two minutes of running alternating with 90 seconds of walking felt like I would be falling directly into my coffin.  I never actually expected to ever be able to run a mile again (especially over and over again).  Now, I have one more 28 minute run left and then I will complete the training with 30 minutes nonstop. 
One day, I will complete 5K in 30 minutes, because: I AM A RUNNER. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts