It’s a beautiful day outside and I’m all ready to go for a long walk with friend and Trainer Andy Salatnay. He says that I need to kick up our workouts a bit. Faint echoes of why why why start to ring in my brain. When Andy says “kick it up” I know exactly what is about to be kicked. I soon find out how.
We start up a hill. OK, I can walk up hills. He starts moving a bit faster, OK, I can do that too. The acceleration continues and then he says, “Let’s get you moving.” What the hell does he think we are we doing I’m wondering, we are moving! What he really meant was run. RUN?! Now I know he’s out of his mind. I would rather he said do some PLANKS! I don’t even run when it’s raining outside and I have a buggy full of groceries. I think the last time I actually ran was when I was being chased by a dog in 2nd grade .
The physical exercise of running wasn’t the problem. I am getting in shape after all. It was the bouncing that was a problem. Imagine what it feels like when various parts of your body disagree on which direction to move and thus move in different directions all at once. It is like being ripped apart. If that wasn’t bad enough there is also the mental pain, the kind of pain you get when you’re being forced to do something you fear. Why why why is no longer faint.
I was resisting with every ounce of strength I had. I begged, I pleaded I even tried to reason with him. OK, truth be told, I was being a big baby but running was never in MY exercise plan! I was the victim of a massive bait and switch and I was pissed! The more I complained however, the more Andy made me do it. I yelled, he made me start over, I moaned, he added additional seconds to my time, I mumbled and he made me go faster. The vicious circle was becoming clear, the torture would not end unless I just shut my mouth and did what he said!
Inside my brain I continued to scream. Lucifer! It dawned on me, that’s who Andy really is. “I am running with the freaking Devil.” Thoughts of why why why crescendo at volumes I have never experienced before.
When our run was over, I found I couldn’t stop myself and kept going towards my car. This time driven by fear. I felt like a character in a “B” horror film. I needed to get away from him fast, even though I knew running would do no good. As I entered my car I could hear his voice from behind me, “Deb, before dinner on Sunday, we’re going to go for another run.” I halfway expected to see his devilish face in my rear view mirror as I threw the car in reverse. Then the real horror hits me. My friend plans on coming over for Sunday dinner and wants to torture me again. How’s that a fair deal? I feed him and he hurts me. He really is the Devil.
I went home upset, I may have been a drama queen and although I did survive my first jog, I had been tricked and I didn’t like it. I immediately called my friends Cody and Amber Thompson (they’re big time north coast runners) I wanted them to share their running secrets and also needed some help with certain body parts if I was going to survive my next encounter. Amber suggested that I talk to Mike at the Jogg N Shoppe. Mike was fantastic, it turns out that I am not the only one with this problem. Who knew running involved more equipment than sturdy shoes.
I was now better prepared, guarded against the Devil’s assault, but still dreading Sunday dinner. Briar (my husband) told me to just “suck it up and do it” and “quit being such a baby.” Sure, what the hell does he know? Other than Bat N’ Rouge, the last time he ran was at Arcata High School in 1974 (and no, playing racquetball doesn’t count)! I asked him if he wanted to come and he politely declined. Wimp! Afraid of another little tumble?
Sunday morning comes and my anxiety is at an all time high. OK, I’m going to spin with my new shoes because spinning makes me HAPPY! By later that afternoon my anxiety is rising again. I’m trying to think positive and I’m not going to complain. I want this session to be as painless and short as possible. “Just breathe,” I tell myself, inhale deeply, now blow it out...ARGH- it’s not working, I’m trying to push the thoughts of why why why deep in my head but they seem to be yelling at the top of their lungs.
Lucifer comes bouncing over. I wonder to myself if you have to invite him in, or if garlic fends him off (I am serving spaghetti). He looks at me with a devilish grin, like he can already taste my soul before he devours it. I try to distract him (maybe he’ll forget that we’re supposed to run and just wanna eat dinner) I say, “Here Andy, have a beer.” He ignores me and says “LETS GOOOOOO.” Oh no, the fear rises, are my neighbors going to see me acting like a baby? I tie my shoes and try to think good thoughts that instead resemble the rantings of a crazed schizophrenic lunatic. “This sucks...” “oh this is going to be fun...” “damn you Lucifer!...” “it’s beautiful outside...” “I can’t do this...” “suck it up...” “light feet OK, I can do that...” “work through your obstacles...” but why why why?!
Off we go, I’m moving my feet, I’m trying to breathe, I’m resisting the urge to complain, I am doing everything that Lucifer asks. I hate this. This is awful. Are we done yet? It seems like we’re going so much farther than last time but at least my new “armor” that Mike sold me is working! I see my house, we’re almost there. One last push and I survive (at least physically). Now I’ve gotta cook dinner, talk about poor planning, what the hell has Briar been doing?
Jogging is not and will never be one of my favorite things, though if I complain about it, I have no doubt that Lucifer and I will be running every chance we get. Andy says we’re going to be running at least once a week and that I need to do it on my own as my “homework” from now on. I think I haven’t had homework since I don’t know when but I say YES...I CAN’T WAIT ...BRING IT ON so as not to invite his wrath.
The beauty about writing these articles is that it takes me a few days to complete them and sometimes I can actually see progress in myself. Today, Andy came over early early in the morning. I think that we actually woke up the birds. I had no doubt that we’d be running. I was ready, hooked into my special “armor”, shoes on, water bottle filled and raring to go. We ran a while and then we ran some more. When I didn’t complain I got to have some “active rest” which means a sip of water while you jog in place. Before long it was over.
I can’t believe that I’m actually typing this but the running thing, it’s getting a little easier. Andy’s horns are a little less visible too. I’m not sure if running is for me... but I’m at a cross-roads where I want and need to challenge myself to move outside of my comfort zone. Andy knows me well and has been more than patient with me and that’s why I respect the hell out of him and his training style, he tortures with a smile... for my part, I have to just “suck it up.” Hmm, that should be a Nike slogan. I wonder if Tiger thought of it. And although I’ll never be on the Wheeties box, someday, maybe those familiar thoughts of why why why do I have to run today will change to when, when when.
Next up... The Gym?
Debi Farber Bush is an inspiration to hundreds.