Run for Your Life

It's a nice feeling to be asked if I am running again and to answer in the affirmative.

It’s a nice feeling to be asked if I am running again and to answer in the affirmative.

I have gone from alternating between walking and running every 5 minutes to running for a full hour in a little over a month. There is something to be said for muscle memory.

During these winter months, I have been frequenting short indoor tracks that allow me to run for a decent amount of time without encountering anything resembling a cool temperature or steep hill. With the short laps, I also feel a lot faster than I actually am.

I am not exactly concerned with my pace per mile, but I know that my speed has all but disappeared.

I am slower than I used to be for 2 reasons: I am heavier and I am older than I was when I was taking home hardware in my age group and the Clydesdale (male runners >200 pounds) divisions. I know that as I get closer to my goal weight, I will get faster, but by how much?

I really shouldn’t care. I should just be happy to be running again, which I am, but there is still a competitor in me who wants to be the best runner he can be.

Recently, I was running on a YMCA short track above the basketball court in an old brick building. It evoked a picture of the clean-cut high schoolers of the 1950s in racing whites practicing for spring track.

It takes 27 laps to run a mile, but for some reason, it is not monotonous to me. The time just disappears when I am up there.

A gentleman my size came onto the track. He was walking at a brisk pace, and I was making sure that I wasn’t going to run into him as I passed by.

I got past him for what I thought was the last time, but then, all of a sudden, the track started shaking. The guy was in a full sprint.

My stranger danger kicked in and I felt like the slow sheep with the wolf on its tail. Given that I had already been pushing myself hard for 30 minutes, I knew that I had to hold off his attack.

I didn’t have to outrun him; I just had to outlast him.

Every time I snuck a look over my shoulder, I would see him in the same spot. I was holding him off, but he wasn’t gaining.

I gave it everything I had, and suddenly, the track stopped shaking. After a quick peek, I saw my competition heading for the exit. I had won the day.

Given how great I felt, you would have thought that I had won the Olympic marathon. It was a confidence booster that I certainly needed.

It’s things like that get me out there again.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, isn’t the slowest sheep.