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Confessions of Runner Gal: I hate running

Some of you know that I've been bitten by the running bug. It started innocently enough, just a few miles four or five days a week. But this past year, I ran not one but two half marathons. (I'm only half crazy; marathoners are all the way gone.) And now, I've volunteered to write for the monthly newsletter done by the Oklahoma City Landrunners, the metro's biggest running club. (As if I know anything about running!) I'll be sharing what I write from the newsletter here on my blog, so here's my first monthly column for the Landrunners.

I hate running.

I know, I know, this is a running club newsletter. Not exactly the place to profess a hatred for running. Thing is, I’ve always found honesty to be the best policy, and since newsletter head honcho Chuck Mikkelson wanted me to start writing a regular column, I thought it best to start with the truth.

But as we head toward the start of a new year and all the resolutions that come with the turn of the calendar, perhaps my journey can provide a small bit of inspiration for whatever goal you might be reaching for in 2016.

A little over eight years ago, I decided to try to lose some weight.

How many of us have done that?

I know I’d done it about a million times before, but in the fall of 2007, I did it again. I was in a good place professionally, having been a sports columnist at The Oklahoman for eight years. I was in a great place personally, dating the swell fellow who’d eventually become my husband and the father of our daughter. But I didn’t like what I saw when I stepped on the scale.

Frankly, it was so bad that I’d stopped stepping on scales.

There was a Weight Watchers meeting at work, so I figured I’d give it a try. Not sort of, but rather all in. Follow the plan. Do as directed. See what happened.

My first weigh-in was a shocker: 197 pounds.

But in the first week, I lost nearly five pounds. It was awesome. I knew every week wouldn’t be that fantastic, but this was something I could do.

After a month or two of good results, I decided to add exercise. I’d tried lots of things over the years. Biking. Lifting. Walking. Running. But with a busy schedule, finding something that didn’t require a ton of extra time was important. If I found myself spending an hour driving to a gym or a game or a practice, I had a feeling I wasn’t going to keep it up.

So, I decided to try running again. As soon as I was dressed and stepped out the door, I could start. No drive time. No wasted moments.

I started slow, though some might say I’ve continued slow. A couple miles turned to three turned to a first 5K race. I remember how my heart was pounding when I started that Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I felt like an outsider, an interloper. Surely someone like me wasn’t supposed to be there. It was a great feeling to be doing something that had seemed so impossible once upon a time.

Since then, I’ve run 10Ks and 15Ks and even a couple half marathons. Just writing those words seems a bit surreal to me.

But in the years since I started running, I dropped more than 50 pounds and kept it off. I feel stronger. I feel healthier. And best of all, I feel like I’m going to be able to stick around longer with my husband and daughter.

Are there days that I still struggle to lace up the shoes and head out the door on a run?

Of course.

And sometimes, the urge not to run gets the better of me. When I run, I sweat a lot and my hips hurt sometimes and I get bored and I’m pretty sure I look like I’m in pain. In case you were wondering, that’s the short list of why I hate running.

But someone once told me that just because you don’t run for a day or two or eight, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still a runner. You just have to get back out there. You just have to make that first stride. So, that’s what I do.

Keep running.

I hope you will, too.

Want to know more about the Landrunners? Go to where you can learn about training opportunities for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›