This Post was originally published on September 12th, 2014
Last year I decided that I wanted to push myself and run a 5k. More important than just setting a goal for myself I vocalized it. I distinctly remember telling the first person that I was going to give it a shot and having her roll her eyes. I understand why, I have a pretty bad record for following through on fitness goals, and I was also pretty hammered when I said it. After procrastinating for 7 or 8 months I finally got on track (running pun) and starting to make strides (another running pun).
I have always hated running, there is no way around it, running sucks. I hated it during the 5 years that I was on the track team. I hated it during the rush bowl practices. I still hate it now. The thing with being fat is that the fatter you get the harder it is to get started with any new workout regimen. But finally if you have enough determination then you can overcome. I committed to using couch to 5k, this fascinating little app that does not include as much couch time as suggested by the title. This app really broke everything down to easy to try segments instead of just plopping the daunting task of running a long distance on you.
I have always been terrified about being judged for running (or doing most anything physical) and overcoming this mental barrier was huge for me. I found myself running at night and hoping that people didn’t see me, but in time I found that when you get going there is no time to worry about what other people think. In fact since this is Vermont the only things that have ever been yelled out of car windows were words of encouragement. I did have one issue where I was hassled by 5 Middlebury College douche bags while running through town. Once I turned around and calmly told them that I would beat all 5 of them so badly that their brains would leak out of their ears and their rich mommies and daddies couldn’t do anything about it I didn’t hear anything else out of them.
After suffering through the first week of barely being able to jog for 60 seconds I was eventually able to pull things together and get up to speed (running pun). I dealt with a lot of soreness and I think that I discovered a bunch of new muscles that I had never felt before. Over the first few weeks I was able to see huge gains and was able to push myself further and further as I got into it. Soon I was not doing the intervals, just running for 20 or 30 minutes at a time for the first time in more than a dozen years. By mid June it looked like this was going to be a cakewalk and I would be able to keep this up forever.
Unfortunately during the end of June I hurt my hip pretty badly. This totally derailed me, especially since I tried to push through it and wound up hurting myself worse. After taking a few weeks off I started feeling better but didn’t have to motivation to get started again. Even when I did get jump started it was hard to keep to the three times weekly routine that I had been on because of travel, work, and just plain feeling like I didn’t want to run. One good thing was that I met a girl who is really into yoga and she inspired me to start doing some yoga stretches after my runs which have really cut down on the soreness. This is one of the serendipitous things where someone comes into your life at just the right time and makes a suggestion that makes a difference in something completely different. I suppose that I have been the beneficiary of some pretty good luck.
I have also been lucky enough to have a huge amount of support from my friends and family members. From offers to run with me, to words of encouragement, to validation of my accomplishments I have been able to draw on a wealth of support. Even though I am a very internally motivated person having this external motivation just fueled the fire and made me want to do better every day. For all of those who have supported me I thank you from the bottom of my heart and ask that you keep it coming.
It is funny to look at how far I have come from the first gasping 60 second jog 4 months ago. I bought special running shoes, and one of those phone holder things that are supposed to fit around your bicep but barely fit my forearm, I even have a post workout ritual. It is strange. I have learned a lot about myself from this journey and hope to keep learning. I have found several things that work for me, and several that don’t so that I can exploit my strengths and focus on my weaknesses. It is pretty cool, not to mention I am down 25 pounds since February and feel stronger and healthier than I have in years.
I don’t think that I am going to be able to run the entire way tomorrow. I have been lagging behind for the past few weeks and haven’t been as motivated to train. But that happens. I am just going to go out and do my best and will finish even if I have to crawl across the finish line. I already registered for another race on October 5th in Albany, so that will keep the cycle of motivation coming. I will probably struggle to transition to going to the gym this winter, but I am confident that I can keep this up. I am not good at following through on fitness goals, but this time I think that it is different. I have seen what I have been able to accomplish and the results that I have been able to achieve in just a short time. While this may not be turning over a whole new leaf maybe it a step in the right direction (one final running pun).
Thanks again for all the motivation, and keep it coming.