Monday, October 13, 2008

Runner wannabe


I'm not a runner, but I love to read Runner's World magazine. Ironically, I started reading it back in the Fall of 2000 while recovering from an injury sustained while trying to . . . run. I became a subscriber not long after that, and have maintained my subscription for eight years. That makes it the magazine that I've subscribed to the longest.

I look forward to getting Runner's World every month. The cover layouts are always appealing, and the articles always seem to be so timely. In the most recent issue (November 2008) to arrive in my mailbox, there is a focus on environmentally-friendly running, with insightful articles on how running shoes are made, the ecological "footprint" of running, a list of the 10 "Greenest" races, "Green" clothing and gear, and tips for being a "Greener" runner.

Every month, there's an inspirational article that makes me want to get out there and start running. For example, earlier this year there was an article about a man who didn't start running until he was in his fifties. Now he's in his nineties and has run over 100 marathons. I've also seen articles about runners with disabilities who run 5Ks, half marathons, marathons, even ultra races of 50 miles or more. 

I read Runner's World from cover to cover. I've used the magazine's tips to start walking programs and to get me through several 5Ks and the Indianapolis 500 half marathon (as a walker) as well as to improve my time. I've followed tips for getting good shoe fits, good sports bras, and other clothing items. I've consulted the race calendar to look for walks/runs in my area (and am very sad that the calendar is now online only). I've entered - and once, won - one of RW's online contests. I've even purchased items advertised in RW - such as the Road ID. But so far, I'm still just a runner wannabe. 

For the past several years, my favorite columns have been the nutrition column by Liz Applegate and the "No Need for Speed" column by John "The Penguin" Bingham. (Bingham also wrote one of my favorite sports-related books, The Courage to Start - a semi-autobiographical piece describing how he went from 43 year-old overweight smoker to marathon runner.) Bingham, a self-described non-athlete, inspires millions of people with his books, articles, and presentations about the joy of participation in running: you don't have to win; it doesn't matter if you're last; what matters is that you're out there doing it.

Oh, I so want to be a runner! I so want to have a long, lean runner body. To be able to burn calories quickly. To be able to exercise practically anywhere. To wear those cute little running clothes. To be able to say things like: "Yeah, I did 18 miles yesterday" or even "I did fartleks today." (Don't know what a fartlek is? Read RW!)

Recently a new column for new runners - The Newbie Chronicles by Marc Parent - has started appearing in RW. I'm all over it like white on rice. Today I read (in the September 2008 issue) his article about his first run, and I'm more motivated than ever. 

Now if I can only just get my running shoes - the ones I purchased from a local running store where the people know how to fit you with the perfect shoe - and get out there and do it.