Start Running. There is No Step Two.

Have you ever seen “How I Met Your Mother”? I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you’re nodding your head in agreement and will completely understand the characters I’m going to refer to and be able to add their little inflections in yourself. If not, my apologies and please consult your On Demand during your next well earned couch ride. You’ll thank me later.

There is an episode in season two where Marshall decides on day in April that he’s going to run the NYCM that year. I’m going to overlook the incredible odds of deciding to take up running in April, register for the NYCM lottery, get in and train without a hitch here. There just isn’t enough time to rant appropriately. Anyways, Marshall trains for the NYCM and the day before the race he breaks his toe. Barney scoffs at the idea that Marshall even trained for this race to begin with and when everyone reminds him that a marathon is a true feat of human endurance, Barney utters these words of sheer genius.

“Um, guys, here is how you run a marathon. Step one: Start running. There is no step two.”

Despite the story ending with Barney running in Marshalls place, finishing the race then being unable to use his legs and getting stuck on the subway for six hours; this has been my personal mantra for every race I’ve ever run. Since my first road race was the Chicago Marathon and a few friends thought I was absolutely insane for going from 0 to 26.2 (I would agree with them in hindsight), I had to remind myself that this was no different than a 5K they had all run. Just start running. That was all I had to do.

I look excited. That's to mask the sheer panic.

I look excited. That’s to mask the sheer panic.

This morning I shared those same words of wisdom on one of my best friends, Ida. Now something you should know about Ida up front is that she is in incredibly good shape and can kick my running butt on a spin bike any day of the week. She’s the girl who screams ‘Woo!” with the instructor from the bike and gets the energy of the whole room up. Yes, she was a college cheerleader. Who would have guessed?

Every time Ida asks me about my runs she does two things. The first is to call me a crazy person, the second is to say she wishes she were a runner. I’ve told her time and time again that she should just come with me for a run. I’d be easy on her. It would be as good for me as it would be for her because it would give me someone to run with and her someone to “coach” her through it. Disclaimer: I am not a coach. I’m not even kind of a coach. But I can read the “Couch to 5K” plan online and do it with someone.

So this morning Ida finally took me up on my offer and met me at my house at 8am. The first 5 minutes of stretching was filled with her repeating the words “I’m going to die”. I assured her she would not die and that we’d keep an easy 11:00/mi pace just to ease her into it. She told me she didn’t know if she could even run a mile at a 13:00 pace, never mind 11:00. That’s when I told her “Just start running. There’s no step two”. And off we went.

Fifteen minutes later we were back in my driveway slightly sweaty and very proud of ourselves. Her for making it through 1.38 miles in the pace I promised, me for actually keeping her at the pace I’d promised. I’ve always been very bad at pacing myself but apparently I have a knack for pacing other people. Not quite sure how that’s possible but I guess it works for me.

She agreed to run again Thursday and join me for 2-3 runs a week during the summer. Not the winter. She said I’m out of my mind if I think she’s running when it’s cold outside. Can’t really blame her for that one. I told her when November rolls around I’ll teach her some treadmill work outs. And I’ll start with the same words. Just start running.

How was everyone’s weekend? Any races or awesome workouts? I want to hear all about them!