On the Joys of Running Short Distances Slowly

Updated: Mar 8, 2019



The other day I bought a new pair of running shoes to replace the ones I’d worn holes through during my senior year. My new shoes are adorable; they’re grey with fuchsia and green accents, and their soles are so springy—they almost run for you.  Almost. 

Once I procured said shoes, I knew I ought to use them. But you must understand this about me—I have a little insecurity about people thinking I’m a “runner” only to discover the unfortunate truth: I run short distances slowly, with intermittent breaks to stretch or dance to a good part in the song I’m listening to.

When the guy at the running store asked if I was training for something special, I said “Nope, not really.” And when he asked me what kind of mileage I did per week, I fixed him with a look of sheepish guilt.

“Less than 8 or 10 miles a week?” He asked with a non-judgmental smile.

“Something like that…” I replied.

Tonight I took my shoes and went for a short run down and back my comically long driveway with the dog. It was remarkably relaxing. I went at my own pace and Daisy sprinted ahead, occasionally turning to look at me with eyes that said “Are you ok?  Why do you two-legs go so slow?”

As I bounded up and down hills with the grace of a particularly uncoordinated gazelle, I thought about my two year middle school foray into the world of competitive cross-country running. The people were nice, but the activity itself was decidedly unpleasant.  If I ignore the side cramps and hill repeats though, I can appreciate that I came away reasonably fit, with a few medals and t-shirts, and a healthy respect for dedicated runners everywhere. Also, I had my Runner’s World magazine subscription.

I have fond memories of reading all about miracle shin splint cures, and how to train for a marathon in three months or less. I learned about all the newest shoes and shorts. And what did I do with this knowledge when I was no longer going to obligatory team practices? Very little. I sat on the couch and read fascinating articles encouraging me to get out and run. Then I kept on sitting.

These days, the magazines are long gone, but still I read blogs written by runners, watch inspirational speeches in which running is recommended as the ideal pastime, and laugh at comics written by a very funny man who runs as penance for eating copious amounts of junk food.  

Am I destined to run across the country in the name of all things painful and difficult? Ehh… probably not. I will however, continue running short distances slowly, enjoy my new shoes, and smile as I read about people who do. 

These are links to the comic, blog, and speech mentioned above. They are brilliant, often funny, and definitely worth a few minutes of your time. 

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