One day in the 1980's, I woke up realizing I was over 30, overweight, and probably going crazy. I signed up for a twice-a-week aerobics class and that was fun. It was the first real exercise I'd done in probably 12 years, since I'd been riding my bike everywhere in college. One day class was cancelled and I wondered.... what to do? I needed my fix. Hey, maybe I could try running! Couldn't hurt to try....
So I went out in my Keds and started. I made it from our driveway to the first telephone pole before I had to stop and walk. Out of breath and whupped, despite the aerobics class. I hadn't run since eighth grade, when we had a yearly (yeah, YEARLY) track meet in the spring.
So I walked to the next telephone pole, then turned around and ran back to the first one, then walked from that one to the driveway and I was done in.
But I had enjoyed that run. I decided to run on the days that aerobics didn't meet.
My first goal was to run to that next telephone pole before walking.
It took about a week. And I was pleased as punch when I made it. Then I set a new goal: THREE telephone poles. That one only took a few days.
I was running about 4 times a week and doing aerobics twice. I put my toddler on the back of my clunky, rusty, one-speed bike and added biking.
I'd go out running and pass those telephone poles and decide to run to that mailbox up there, or that barn, or that driveway, before walking.
I bought running shoes. Nike's. Don't ask what model. They were Nike's and they cost me $35 and I thought they were Cadillacs.
I ran a mile without walking. Then I set me sights on making it all the way back home, for a total of 2 miles. That took another couple weeks. Yo!! I was a runner! Even though I had never heard of Runner's World or read anything about running, only knew that some of our friends did it for 5 or even 8 miles and some people even ran marathons... can you imagine, a marathon??? Like, 26 miles??? No way. Not humanly possible.
I will never, ever forget my first 4 miler. After I got solid with my 2-milers, my next goal was 3. I measured the distance with the car and figured on going half a mile past my 1-mile turnaround. But I got high on my out-trip, what with sailing past the mailboxes, barns, and road signs that had formerly been signals permitting me to walk, and although I planned on turning around after that extra half-mile, I felt good and went out 2 mile, heck, I can run 2 miles, I've been doing it for a week. Ran out 2 miles, ran it all. Ran all the way home.
I went down stairs backwards for a week. Totally trashed quads. Running was out of the question that week. So was aerobics.
I went from 0 to 30 miles a week, 0 to 6 miles per run, in 3 months, and with aerobics, pedalling that old bike with my toddler on the back, and eating a lot of vegetables, I lost 18 pounds. I was hooked on running.
I have the profoundest respect for people who run 3 or 4 miles. Three would have been plenty for me that day. Four was way too much of a stretch. Three or 4 miles.... those are good, solid distances and don't ever let me hear anyone diss people who run those distances.
Or 2 miles, or 1. Because I struggled to achieve those distances, one telephone pole, one mailbox, one driveway at a time.
Twenty years and 24 marathons ago.