Confessions of a Reluctant Runner

Author: Becky Haltermon

I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this before, but running is awful.

I have never been tempted to go running because, well, have you ever seen someone mid-sprint? They never look like they’re having fun, no matter what great results they seem to achieve.

At least, that’s what I used to think.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, as I was contentedly sleeping in and wallowing in sloth, my boyfriend Quincy suggested that maybe, hey, you know, we should go for a run. And I thought, “Hm. It seems possible. Maybe we should go for a run.”

Because I am naturally averse to exertion, I didn’t have any official exercise garb. I put on what can only be described as the World’s Homeliest Sneakers, purchased at a discount outlet some years ago, and the sartorial equivalent of plastic foot alligators. Because I apparently have never bothered to procure white gym socks, they were topped off by pink-lavender knee socks, alluringly scrunched down my ankles à la a Hooter’s waitress. I didn’t want to perspire on my cell phone, so I strapped on a plastic wristwatch. Jane Fonda would have been proud.

Quincy rewarded me with an almost-convincing, “Oh. Wow. Um, you look fine, doll.”

For me, the only thing worse than sore muscles is wounded pride. I was about to have both.

We arrived at a bucolic walking trail and started with some demoralizing warm-up stretches. Because Quincy has an athletic past, he showed me the ropes. My abs got a great workout laughing at ridiculous-looking lunges, teetering hamstring stretches and torso contortions.

Touching my toes in my yoga clothes in public with an enthusiastic man and plethora of 80s accessories, I learned my first and possibly most important lesson about running: You can’t be afraid to look stupid. Running is like singing karaoke: You don’t have to do it well to have a good experience.

After an appropriate amount of sidewalk silliness, Quincy and I walked for maybe a half a mile, finally amping up to a slowish run-jog.

I immediately wanted to die. I had full-on heart-pounding, snot-flowing, head-throbbing misery, down to the horrific gasping sounds and flailing limbs. After what seemed like seven hours (probably closer to two minutes), we decelerated back to a walk. Quincy grinned and said, “Good job!”

That moment was my second epiphany: Running is only possible for me with an enthusiastic cheerleader/taskmaster. For the entire five mile loop, Quincy took me to task with equal measures discipline and adoration, pushing me to run more than I ever thought possible (or desirable) and then following up with lavish praise.

I survived an hour of intermittent running and walking and while I would never characterize it as “fun,” I noticed an unsettling trend: It seemed to get easier and less death-inducing with each sprint. Yes, I was pooped at the end but I was also in a somewhat delirious state. Just moments prior I had assumed that I would have to be buried beside a trail in unbecoming clothing, and I ended up skipping to the car in a haze of achievement.

Epiphany Number Three: Running can be awesome.

So if you see someone slogging along through Union looking like an escapee from Sweatin’ to the Oldies, I may not look like I’m having fun, but I’m on my way to feeling awesome.

Becky Haltermon is a nonprofit communication professional and fashion blogger at