Last year, I fancied myself a runner. I ran 4-5 days a week, 3-5 miles a day. I was “in training” for my first half-marathon. I tracked my progress on runkeeper, tracked my weight on my phone, got support from friends on Facebook and Twitter through my runkeeper posts and my post-run pictures. I cycled, and I played softball. I lost about fifteen pounds. I then let life get the better of me. One excruciatingly hot day cut my 6 mile run into a 2 mile run because of what I assumed to be impending death. I promised myself I’d make up the four miles I missed over the next couple of run days. To my credit, I did do my next run, a 3-miler, but I didn’t tack on any extra to make up any of what I’d lost. And then the next run day, I had to work, or I had too many errands to do, or someone wanted to hang out with me, or something happened otherwise, I have no idea. But I didn’t go. And once you don’t go for your run ONCE, it can set a tone. A very bad tone. A very bad tone where you keep making excuses not to go.
“It’s too hot to go for a run.” (that’s why whatever natural force exists made it cooler in the night and early morning)
“I have too much to do.” (suck it up, that’s not going away)
“I have to work.” (unless you’re a doctor or a nurse, you probably only have to work 8 hours)
“I don’t want to.” (too bad)
The ones in quotes are what I said to myself last year. The ones in parentheses are what I should have said in response to them.
After a few months of not working out, I gained back the 15 I’d lost. I joined a gym, and got back on the wagon. I lost about 10 pounds again. I am the very definition of yo-yo weight loss. Fifteen pounds here, ten pounds there, ten pounds here, fifteen pounds there. Money problems (the bane of my existence, and yet one of the few constants in my life) forced me to fall behind on my gym membership dues, and new love led me to make poor choices about time management, gym-going, and food.
I sold my bike yesterday. I needed the money, and I didn’t *NEED* the bike. I miss the bike already, but it’s not absolutely essential to my life and livelihood. Paying my bills is. My horse is. And I’ll give some of that bike-sale money to the gym to be current on dues so I can start using their stationary bikes and ellipticals and treadmills and weight machines for when it’s “too hot” to do anything outside. Last night I convinced myself I was going to go for a run, weather be damned, Rebecca be damned. I implored Kirk to make sure I was up and at ‘em by the time he left for work, at the un-Rebecca-ly time of 6am. Being the absolutely amazing boyfriend he is, he did. I did all my “start of day” things like peeing, washing my hands, checking my email, checking twitter, checking Facebook, all the while thinking of ways to get out of the run I’d promised myself I was going to do. My throat felt a little goofy when I woke up, slightly scratchy with some post-nasal drip action, so that was going to be my cornerstone for getting out of it.
Then I saw on Twitter, via Sus, that it was National Running Day. And if there’s ONE thing I can’t do, it’s ignore a National Fill In The Blank Day. What kind of asshole would I be if I refused to run on National Running Day? That’s like not eating a hot dog on National Hot Dog Day or not riding a go-kart on National Go-Kart Day. It’s un-American. It’s Communist.
So I laced up. Did a five-minute active warmup. Filled my water bottle, earbudded my iPhone, freed my key from my keyring, pondered what to do with the key given that I had no pockets and no hidey-place for it (solution: hair elastic attached to the key ring and then attached to my tank top strap), did a pre-pee, and got the hell out there.
It wasn’t pretty. According to my RunKeeper log, my last workout on anything was April 2, and my last treadmill run was 2 weeks prior to that. My last road run? Girl, don’t even. (It was November. For shame.) So it’s acceptable-ish that my run sucked. In theory. But the point is that I did it. I did it slowly, and with a fair amount of “holy shit it’s hot. Holy shit ouch. Holy shit muscles.” but it got done. I got back and thought “I am not a runner. I was never a runner. I will never be a runner.” When I fancied myself a runner last year, I was a hobbyist. I did it, and then I stopped. Real runners don’t stop. They don’t quit. Even when they probably should, due to muscle or tendon or bone injuries. But I WANT to be a runner. I have felt runner’s high, and I have felt ecstatic after a run, and I have felt like I can carry the world after a run. My history with running shows that I don’t typically hit that high until after mile 2, so it’s understandable that I felt like shit today after my measly 1-miler.
The trick is to keep going.
I don’t like the weight where I am now. Not just the number, but the shape and the heft. I don’t want to focus on a number at all this time, and if I can, I will stay far away from the scale, except to check in maybe once or twice a month. I just want to feel fitter, more toned, tighter, more taut, hotter, more beautiful. I have been on the precipice of that before. I will go again, but this time I will keep going, and I will be all that, and more.