How to Start Running: Step 1

Get off the couch

Illustration by Jason Schneider

I Don’t Run.That’s what I told my friend, Val, when she exhorted me to sign up for a 10K just before Christmas. It’s for charity, she said. It’ll be fun, she said. We’ll be fit and fabulous, she said. To which I responded, I. Don’t. Run. Next thing I knew, I was running. Six minutes on, one minute off. That was the trick, Val told me. Run for six, walk for one. Anyone can do it. Which is how I found myself at 7 a.m. one Sunday, crossing the starting line on Universal’s back lot, running. I ran six, walked one, and kept on going despite the achiness that had set in long before the halfway mark. The momentum of the people around me was like fuel. We were all going in the same direction, and that gave me a psychic lift. Progress came one footfall at a time. By the end—I won’t lie—I was ready for it to be over, and later that day I could barely climb stairs. But somewhere between the start and the finish, I’d been proved wrong. To be fit and fabulous, you have to show up, and I did. A week later I was at another starting line, this one in Venice. Apparently, I do run.