About two months ago I realized that I had completely quit running. It was a gradual thing, which is why it took so long to notice. First it dropped to only running a few days a week. Then it dropped to only walking a few days a week. Slowly it became easier and easier to find excuses to not get on the treadmill at all. I twisted my knee back in September, so that became my ready-made excuse and as legit as that is, there were other, sillier excuses. The dumber the excuses, the dustier the treadmill, the higher my weight. Then came Thanksgiving week, when I gained four pounds in as many days.
That was it. That was my limit. I weighed as much in late November as I had in late April. All of the progress I made this summer – gone. I was furious with myself, so mad that I finally got up and did something about it.
I went to Pinterest – home of great workout tips, crazy decorating ideas, and delicious gooey dessert recipes, all on the same page – and found a new, easier running routine. Rather than trying to go from “Couch to 5K” in nine weeks, this one (from Paul Kohler at Healthy Living) goes for twelve weeks. It’s also way more laid back than the routine that I was using earlier this year. It doesn’t focus on how fast or how far you run, just how long. It’s much easier to go at my own pace and focus on minutes, not miles per hour.
I’ve just finished Week 5, and I have to say I feel fantastic. I don’t have any real results on the scale yet, but I know those will come. I am seeing results in other areas. My calf muscles have definition. I have muscle soreness in all the right areas. My appetite has changed dramatically, moving away from red meat and starches to green veggies. I crave broccoli and avocado, which is weird and kind of neat. I’m doing so well with this program that next week I’m upping the ante. I’m doing all this work on my lower body and basically ignoring my upper body, so next week I’m adding arm exercises and push-ups to the mix.
My goal with all of this is getting healthy and losing weight obviously, but I also have more specific short-term goals. I want to run another 5K, this time running the whole thing instead of walking most of it, and I would like to do it in under 34 minutes. I’m aiming for a race around my birthday again. I will let you know when I have more concrete details.
Most of all, what I want out of this is to feel good about myself. I’m not just talking about “getting skinny” or basing my self-worth on my jean size. I mean the mental clarity and shot of endorphins I get when I run or the happy exhaustion after hitting a new benchmark. What makes this worth it are the little things that make me feel better about me, not the big things that everyone else will notice. And that’s how I know I’ll stick with it – I love running and it’s something that I do just for me.