You all will be happy to know I've achieved a new milestone in my sporadic running career: logging miles in the dark.
This accomplishment was made possible by several factors:
- Renewed commitment to improving my post-partum physique; tires belong on cars, not around your waist, amiright?
- Lack of funds for a gym membership/access to a treadmill.
- Lack of funds for surgical reapirs, aka tummy tuck, and intense fear of additional work to my abdomen. Four surgeries in four years is quite enough, AM I RIGHT.
Pair those factors with the knowledge that the sun doesn't rise and set at my command, and there you go. Time to try something new.
Boy, was I in a slump this winter. After coming back from gallbladder surgery, I had little to no ambition for keeping up on my PT exercises or following my training program for the Mini, and it wasn't long before I was avoiding the stairs and wincing in pain during my 40-minute commutes to and from work. Meanwhile, I saw Facebook updates about the race and realized there was no way on God's green earth I was going to be in good enough shape to cover 13 miles in May - not without compromising the little progress I'd made thus far. I was pretty upset by everything and questioned whether running was a good fit for me after all.
Maybe my body's trying to tell me something, I thought. Maybe I've done all that I can do.
Then I picked up an issue of Runner's World and read about a formerly 800-pound man with one leg who qualified for Boston or similar beat-the-odds narrative. I slapped my palm to my forehead. Perspective, Frema. Point taken.
Shockingly, loving running, talking about running, and reading about running are fine and worthy activities, but if you want to actually make progress in your running, you have to run. You heard it here first!
And that has always been my issue. With everything on my plate - career, husband, young children, budgeting, housekeeping, obsessive planning for the future - I have a terrible time ranking fitness and other "hobbies" a priority (see also: this blog). But as I remind myself time and time again, if I want my kids to grow up believing that exercise is a non-negotiable part of life, and FUN to boot, I have to adopt that same attitude. I also have to remember that I control my day and not vice versa.
I have plenty of time for the things that are important to me. Thank you, Gretchen Rubin, once again, for your simple yet powerful insights.
I am not the only wife, mother, and worker bee on the planet who is pressed for time. Plenty of others in my situation find a way to make running stick. Part of the problem is my tendency to impose arbitrary limits on myself. As in, no running during the kids' bedtime; if there are dishes in the sink; on days I work late; on days I'm late for work; when there's a phone call to return; without adequate daylight. Running is a treat, a reward, too enjoyable to be taken seriously when measured against other to-dos and therefore the first thing to be scratched off the list when it starts becoming unmanagable.
As long as my fitness routine is dependent on a perfect marriage of ifs, I will never get anywhere. I have to be willing to bend some the rules some of the time.
I also have to start over, without pressure to reach what I know is an unreachable goal.
Two Saturdays ago, I e-mailed the wellness director at work asking her to transfer my race registration.
Last Monday night, I set my alarm for 5 a.m., laid out my running gear, and sent what could have been my last few tweets into the universe.
Again shockingly, there were no lust-hungry strangers poised to strike at me from behind the bushes, though I did nearly have a heart attack upon seeing a flash of orange streak by at a dimly lit intersection, with jagged movements not unlike the speedier zombies in Night of the Living Dead.
Fortunately, I also encountered non-zombies on the trail, both of them across the street from me, one carrying a flashlight, and watching that single beam dance along the pavement was oddly comforting. Whatever our stories, whatever our fears, we are all in this together.