Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Running

I have reached a point in my life where I am not happy with my physical shape and size so I have decided to do something about it. This is not the first time this has happened to me and I have been lucky enough to shed pounds and "return" to the person I have always intended to be with relative ease. (Indeed, the last time this happened--11 years ago--I had a bad break-up and responded by simply biking around the chain of lakes in Minneapolis every night after work as a way to hide from life. Turns out, I was actually giving myself my life back. I also dropped 30 pounds in the process.)

But having kids has changed more than just my body. My free time is already constantly on the chopping block as a stay at home mom, and to add to that, I'm also a student again which means that I am always studying.

After Jackson, I was able to drop the pregnancy weight in the "normal" amount of time (they say nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off,) and even bypassed that by five pounds the other direction. Then Amelia came and, well, it didn't come off very easily (at all?) after the second time.

Not. Acceptable.

I have dresses in my closet that I love! I have the perfect jeans just sitting there waiting for me! (Hello, size 8, it will be awhile, but we'll be together again.) I'm tired of never being able to find suitable NEW clothing that I like and that fits!

In short, I'm tired of my skin. So it's time to shed it.

I signed up for the Minneapolis Duathlon for this summer as a major fitness goal to get me moving again and so far, so good. I have always wanted to do a triathlon but I hate swimming, so this one seems like a good fit for me. It's a 5K run, followed by an 18-mile bike ride, then another 5K run. I LOVE biking. Love it with all of my being. I can't wait to be so prepped and trained and ready for that portion that I can just hop on the saddle and fly without even thinking about the effort.

The running is another story for me. I have done a few 5K races before and was never the last finisher, but I was definitely mediocre all the way. I did one 10K trail race once which I basically trained for by NOT running (super smart, right? I think I thought that my summer of backpacking would equate to being ready for it, but it didn't...big surprise) and we shall never discuss that one again. Running has never been my first choice and there are a number of reasons why. But, I am also a person who doesn't like excuses--especially from myself--so I've trashed all of my reasons:

1. "I'm too large-chested to enjoy running." --> Solution: Get a better sports bra. (It's on its way and I'll link to it if I turn out to love it. Highly recommended by friends, so I'm hopeful.)

2. "My knees are getting old and couldn't handle it." --> Solution: Really? Try running. Turns out, the knees were actually creaky BECAUSE of the lack of activity. They haven't creaked or cracked or complained once yet.

3. "It's boring." --> Solution: Put running in the same meditative place where biking and knitting go in my head. I am capable of doing incredibly "boring" work for long stretches and have proven it again and again with biking and knitting. (Case in point: I'm knitting a size 4T dress for Amelia from sock yarn on size 2 needles at the moment. See?)

4. "I don't have the right gear." --> Solution: So...get the gear, dummy.

Done, done, done, and done. No more excuses. I'm taking it very slow for starters (it's only March and the race isn't until August) and am still in the "walk one block, run one block" phase. But it's not bad. I have learned that it's easier to run farther if I look up (straight ahead) instead of at my feet and if I concentrate on finding my "numb zone" where I just keep going because my legs are a machine and they just need to run. I can do this with biking with relative ease, but it's harder for me to find this zone with running this time around. I know I will though. I have before. And I really want to do well in this race. ("Do well" = personal goals only, no competitive agenda for the first big race)

I will always be a biker first though. Tonight, when I was dragging a little and not wanting to run the next block, "Bicycle Race" by Queen came on my new iPod. The lyrics made me sprint! I was pretending that I was actually on a bicycle instead of just running. I am in no way ready for sprinting yet, but it was fun and maybe that's a huge clue right there too. Whatever I can do to make it fun, the more likely I am to want to do it!


Lynda Bay said...

I've been into that stage also. Haha.

Joe said...

I saw that you finished the Twin Cities marathon! (and haven't updated this in a year and a half)

I ran it again like I've done the past several years, and finished right around 6 hours like I've done the past several years, and was looking at who I beat (an 80 year old man, awesome!) and who beat me (about 8700 people) when I saw your name around 5:59.

Congratulations! It's a fantastic accomplishment. I didn't see you out on the course but I admit on the way up Summit Ave I wasn't paying much attention to anything other than staying ahead of the sweep bus.

Catherine said...

Ha! Yes, FB ate my blog. Find me there! I know who you are but I can't remember your last name to friend you, Joe. Yesterday was amazing and awful. So glad I did it. Congrats on your run!!