Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To My Running Teacher

I'm a little sad, a little annoyed that the teacher of the Women's Running Class turns out to be someone who thinks "going slowly" means training to run a 10K race instead of a marathon.

She'd told me the class is for all levels of runners, including beginners.

But I should have known she didn't mean beginners like me, when on the first night I told her that I'm not training to run any race, and she gave me that 404 error message look:

And yesterday she sent an e-mail saying that for tonight's class––our third––we will practice Hill Running.

I keep running into this: 
young athletic women teachers whose imaginations just can't seem to stretch to include not being young and athletic. 

I thought about it overnight:
should I push myself and go? maybe running up and down hills isn't really as hard as it sounds? Maybe that burning feeling in my shins has nothing to do with exercise?

This morning I e-mailed her:
Dear Running Teacher,

I won't be in class tonight---I 
woke up last night with my shins on fire. Seems that following the running schedule you've set up for the class is too much, too soon for my old bones.

See, I really need a class for Old, Out-of-Shape, Overweight Nonrunners.
One that starts with super basic information, like, say... 
how does my leg attach to my body? (Really!) 

You said that tonight's class would start with a nice, easy 1-mile warm-up and progress to Hill Running.

Your "1-mile warm-up" is my entire workout.

I saw this graffiti when I was walking (slowly) across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. 
It reminds me not to push too fast, too far, as I've often done in the past, to my regret.

So, for the time being, I'm going back to WEEK One's schedule:
Jog/Trot 3 minutes + Walk 2 minutes x 5 = 25 minutes

Thanks for your help---the two classes I attended did help get me started, and THAT'S THE MAIN THING!!!

My best, Fresca
When I was younger, I would not have thought of stepping away from the class and going back to what I think will work for me.
I just would have slunk away and given the whole running thing up as a failure.

Now, I do feel a kind of tangled up emotionally (resentment mixed with shame), but I don't want to give up running, which I'm loving, so I'll try another angle to see if that works.

This is an example of what Marz calls rearranging the furniture.
She pointed out to me that wherever I go––to coffee shops, for instance––I feel free to move chairs or tables around to suit myself.

I didn't use to know this was allowed.
Or, rather, it wasn't a matter of "allowed" or "disallowed"; I didn't even question the placement of furniture.

Gradually I figured out that often you can move stuff around.
Or, if not, maybe you can move yourself.

Like this baby rhino in Warsaw:
Sometimes bars (or furniture arrangements) are just ideas, . . . optional ideas.

Sometimes they are real barriers, whether physical or not, and you just have to work with that.

The trick is to figure out which is which.

It's been hard for me to let go of the idea that teachers are all-knowing (in their fields), even though I've discovered many, many times how untrue that usually is. 

I feel lonely and a bit lost, stepping through those bars.
Who will help me?

But, you know, there are a lot of teachers.
I just have to keep looking for the one(s) I need. 

In the meantime, 
shuffle 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes...
trot 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes...
lumber 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes...
jog 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes...
run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes.


Krista said...

Oh, hon. Hugs. And also: 10 years of teaching have taught me that the very best -and usually most successful - learners (note that I didn't say students) do exactly what you just did. Think for themselves, ask questions, ask for help, and do what will help them learn best and at their own pace. You just totally set yourself up for long term success.

momo said...

I'm so glad you have the wisdom to set your own pace and take charge of your experience. I have left more than one class with shame rather than awareness that I needed to do something different than what was being offered ("beginning" ballet at Zenon, Iyengar yoga at that place on Lyndale). One foot in front of the other is the way we make progress, and we don't have to run up hills right away to do that.
I love love love this baby rhino picture.8507 ieweeTo

Fresca said...

Thanks, Krista and Momo!

So ... happy development:
my Running Teacher e-mailed back saying I should feel totally welcome to come workout at my own pace with the class--and that I add a lot to the class-- so that's lovely

Maybe I misjudged her---I'm pretty defensive after too many bad experiences with exercise and PE classes.
We shall see...

I'm glad I didn't just slink away, as has been my pattern.

MOMO: I know that yoga place on Lyndale! My sister went there for years, but when I tried a class, I found it waaay too cut and dried for me, even grim.