"Foot chases still happened often enough that I had taken up running for practice and exercise. Admittedly, I was usually on the other side of a food chase, mostly due to my personal policies on hand-to-hand combat with anything that weighed more than a small car or could be described with the word chitinous." --Harry Dresden (in Jim Butcher's Blood Rites)
"Now, I'm not as strong as those really big guys. . . . I don't do swordplay as well as [other folks]. I don't yet have the magical experience and know-how to outfinesse the really experienced wizards and sorcerers who have been hanging around for centuries. . . . But I'll take any of those guys in a footrace. Guaranteed. I run -- and not so that I'll be skinny and look good, either. I run so that when something that wants to kill me is chasing me, I'll be good at running." --Harry Dresden (in Jim Butcher's Small Favor)
|James Marsters rocks as the audiobook narrator.|
We all have different preferences when it comes to exercise; one of the reasons it took me so long to become "athletic" is that I disliked traditional sports and loathed running. I had mild asthma as a kid and no grit or mental determination to push things physically. Why should I bother? I thought. There are plenty of good books I could read instead.
One of my favorite book series, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (no, NOT the TV show on Netflix that never happened), is about a wizard living in modern-day Chicago. What starts out as a fun sci-fi/fantasy series featuring a snarky guy who can do some magic evolves into a compelling, dark, and intricately designed storyline featuring a snarky guy who can do a lot of magic. I highly recommend giving the series a try if you haven't read it; book #10 is my favorite and #12 just leaves you on an insane "WHAT?!" moment. (There were only 12 books out when I got into the series; be glad you can now go straight on to 13 and 14.)
Anyway, one of the neat things about the books is the character development: Harry Dresden faces a lot, and you see him make tough choices, experience loss, learn from his mistakes, and really come into his own as a powerful contender in the magical community. He's bold, he's chivalrous, he's sassy, and he's smart enough to realize that sometimes he's outclassed, and running away is the best bet.
|It's got fangs!|
My roommate in college was a cross-country runner, and when we were out in the city together, we always joked that she was "Flight" and I was "Fight" -- we had this glamorous notion that I'd hold off Scary Attacker Guy with my Tiny Girl Kung Fu and she'd run for help. The problem with this is, of course, that I have zero fighting experience whatsoever. I've taken a class here and there and live with 3 martial artists, but I'm no MMA fighter in disguise (yet?), and I wasn't doing CrossFit yet either, so my strength was pretty lacking -- and my running stamina was equally nonexistent.
CrossFit has definitely increased my athletic capacity, and there are running components to a number of the workouts. But Tough Mudder was the first long-distance event I'd ever done, and it was more of a walk/jog/shamble combination than a nice long run. You will frequently find me during running CrossFit workouts gasping "This is what death feels like" in an over-dramatic fashion. And while I don't aspire to be a marathoner, I'd like to have a fair shot of surviving the zombie apocalypse -- which means better running stamina. (I'm also a terribly slow sprinter, so add "speed" to the list of things to work on.)
I finally took a leaf out of Harry Dresden's book and decided that it wouldn't hurt to work on running, just a little bit. So when my coworkers asked me to sign up for a 5k with them, I allowed myself to be talked into it. And when I nervously went for a run with those coworkers a few weeks ago, I had a revelation: you can run as slow as you want. I always think that I need to charge out there and get it done, and I couldn't fathom running 3.1 miles without stopping until my coworkers (with the help of the Nike+ running app) showed me that pacing is key. I suddenly discovered that if we're talking a 13-minute mile, I can shamble along quite nicely without stopping to walk.
|Talk about motivation!|