Turning All Runs Into Fun Runs, or How I Learned to Embrace the Running Suck, Week 2

  • Published
  • By Christopher Parr
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Turning All Runs Into Fun Runs, or How I Learned to Embrace the Running Suck

A weekly commentary about the Scott Air Force Base Running Clinic

by Christopher Parr, 932nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

If you tuned in last week you already know a little about my secret love of running.  A deep dark secret that haunts me.  You also know a little about my fitness background.  I played sports, to sum it all up. 

So as I continue on the this path of running for fun….hahaha.. I will say this, I didn’t die.  I might have felt death at the door a few times during the “run until you fall over nearly dead” portion of the clinic, but I didn’t die.   As you might also recall, I now hate Wednesdays. 

Let’s just get to the recap and then I can try and put some horrible memories behind me. 

Week 2:  Monday.  The first official Monday, not the pre-test that sealed my fate, but the actual regularly scheduled Monday.  We ran.  I guess that is the point of this clinic.  We ran a nice, not too leisurely, warm-up mile.  I was ready to be done after that.  Did have some mild heel pain and my knee was all warm and snug in a brace.  We rested a short few minutes and then the plan was to run a fast mile.  Fast mile, what does that mean?  I was shocked. I did a 7:24 mile.  I’ll go with that as being fast, for me. Finished with a cool down mile.  Now I know what to expect on Mondays.  Would it count as an legitimate excuse to stop mid run if a cute dogs is in your path?  This happened, but I didn’t stop.  I wanted to. 

Week 2: Wednesday.  Yep, still hating Wednesdays.  Sprints and more sprints.  We, by “we” I mean the sadistic leaders of Group 1, added an additional 400m sprint.  Oh!  They also took away some of the goal time to complete each sprint.  Surprisingly I did rather well with the “run hard but don’t puke and keep moving” portion.  Still isn’t changing my feelings for the despicable day.  I kept all of my 400m sprints under the goal time and within a few seconds each lap.  Building some consistency.  I guess that might appear to be a positive comment, don’t let that fool you.  

Week 2: Thursday. Each week this will be a new personal record for distance for me.  We run for a set amount of time, it was 34 minutes.  Goal is to run for 17 minutes and make it back to the finish in less than 17 minutes.  Like I mentioned in last week’s commentary, I’ve done some 5K’s, but that is only 3.1 miles.  Thursday, I ran 3.73 miles.  I earned a smiley face… :)  Granted, it did take me 34:16.  I was a tad slower on the return trip.  But I’ll keep my smiley face, thank you.

Bonus: or homework: or self motivated torture….  all the same.  During the week, I tossed in some Crossfit, some walking around the building, fairly good choice eating habits, a movie with light refreshments, but didn’t get in any additional running.  Was an Air Force Reserve weekend for me, and my motivation just wasn't there after some long days.

Week 2 Summary:  I need a moment.  Just had a relapse of when I believed Death was about to tap me on the shoulder and take me out of the game.  Lucky for me, he was just there to laugh at me.  Jerk.  As I am still putting words to keyboard….. words to screen… I don’t know.  I’m still alive.  I still don’t magically love running, but I guess I don’t suck it as bad. 

Let’s meet another member of the inquisition.

I asked Senior Airman Jason Stonehocker, information assurance technician with the 375th Communication Support Squadron, a few questions about why he hates us.

CP:  How long have you been a group leader with the clinic and enjoyed watching people suffer?

JS:  I started off as a participant in the running clinic two or so years ago. I really enjoyed it and found success in the program. When I was asked to lead a group I jumped at the opportunity. I took a break for a while and focused on work/education. Now that I have some free time I asked if I could come back to the clinic and lead another group. In the past I also participated in the sessions as an outsider, whenever my own personal PT sessions coincided with the clinics. On and off for 2-3 years. As both group leader and participate.

CP:  What is your running experience?

JS:  I have been a runner for most my life. In my middle school years I would participate in the running events we had at our school. Throughout high school I pushed myself in Football, Wrestling and Track. But my main experience comes from my own personal running time. This is where I would run outside of any organizations or coaches yelling at me. I would push myself and most importantly relieve a lot of built up stress.

CP:  What joys do you get from the clinic, other than watching people suffer?

JS:  The lasting friendships and networking are a big joy. I love when I see someone push passed their limits and achieve success.

CP:  Any success stories that really stand out?  Have you seen a mass improvement from the fist clinic to the last completed clinic?  Meaning is the success rate higher across all groups and have you had to adjust the standards as the clinic as progressed?

JS:  I have been able to push people out of their comfort zone and have them complete some of our sprints or mile times much faster than they have in the past sessions. The standards vary person to person. Being separated into groups is just so the individuals in the groups will finish sessions around the same time.

CP:  Do you have a personal success story about your running?

JS:  I was considered a fast runner even before the clinic but when I initially joined the clinic my mile and half time was 9:13. After watching the videos on form and listening to the leader’s advice, I was able to cut my time to 8:36 only after one session.  I think that this shows the effectiveness of the program, not just for beginners or someone getting back into running, but also for those who are considered “fast”.

CP:  Any advice for new runners or those that are struggling?

JS:  Show up, and ask questions. Take the time to warm up properly. Making a pre run “ritual” that gets your mind and body ready for the workout session will help. Stretch! And always… Hydrate or die!

CP:  Any other thoughts that would like to add?  

JS:  I am happy to see the program still going strong and that people find success with it.

 Thank you Jason for sharing and not snickering when I lumber through the finish line each lap on Wednesdays.  Much appreciated.

The week was not entirely awful, I did watch a movie.  But this is not about my movie watching but about me learning to love running.  Maybe I need to start watching running movies.  Feel free to leave comments about the blog and any good running movies you might recommend.  I could use some extra motivation. 

Thanks for joining me on this, sometimes questionable, adventure.