My running journey consists of “before” and “after”. Before was before the spring of 2020 (the pandemic year). I’d always run and enjoyed running — a couple of times a week, sometimes more often, sometimes less. Then in 2020, I started to run a lot. It was an amazing journey. I started running more, lost weight, ran even more, lost more weight. I started being aware of my weekly miles and gradually learned about all the different fancy types of running, like intervals. I wrote several stories about interval running and how much of an impact it had on me, so I don’t want to repeat the details here.
There is one other part of running I want to talk about. It’s not that fancy actually. It’s very trivial. Most kids, doing some sport, would have heard of it. In fact, it’s so trivial, it’s kind of mechanical. It’s what your PE teacher tells you to do and you do because you have to. It’s boring. It’s perfunctory. The very term is so self-explanatory, that you almost lose the meaning of it.
These days warming up is like… putting my make-up? Showering? Sorry for these weird analogies. For a second I thought of my wife and even my daughter. Seems to me that women feel they have to dress up at least a little when they go out. Say we step out for a dinner in the evening. I can be all scruffy and sweaty (pardon me) but women, at least my women, aren’t like that!
I don’t remember how and when I discovered the joy of warming up. It was a gradual process, like with many other parts of my running journey. I kept learning — from others, on my own. I do remember one episode that probably played a role in how I developed the habit of warming up. My wife used to run a running boot camp for a small group of tennis kids she coached. She’s less of a runner herself but is big on fitness. Occasionally I’d join her group. Every now then she’d make her kids run a 5K time trial and I decided to join. My oldest son who runs track and cross country at high school provided me with various valuable tips as I started to become serious about my running and he still does today. On that day, knowing that I was going to do a 5K time trial, he told me to run 1–1.5 miles in the morning and another 1–1.5 miles before the race. I followed his advice and he ended up pacing me when we actually ran. I ended up getting something like 18.38, running at 6 min/mile pace or just above. In hindsight, it was a great short run. I’m better now, of course, a little less than 18…