Working on Rule #1: Cardio

I may have gone a little insane because I’m a runner now. Let me ‘splain.

I’m a fat kid. (It’s okay–I’m totally fine with it.) I’ve been a chubby kid since late elementary school, so for me, gym was something you endured, not something you sought out. But I’ve changed a lot of things in my life like how I eat and how I manage stress, so I decided I needed to add some sort of fitness regime into my schedule. A couple of years ago I did Zumba. I liked Zumba when I started doing it, but I never clicked with my instructor. It was weird. At first I could look past it and keep going to classes, but it got to a point where I just couldn’t hang with some of the things she did in class. (It was held in a church gym, and she did things like pray before each class and sprinkle in contemporary Christian songs during our workouts. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing–sweating for Jesus just wasn’t for me.) And yes, I could have found another class, but I just didn’t. It’s very easy not to go work out.

So right before Thanksgiving last year we got a dog. Melody is my furry BFF, and she and I go on walks every day. This really helps with the whole not being lazy thing–having a dog forces me to take at least a 30-minute walk every day (unless the weather is really bad, and then it’s a sprint around the corner as fast as possible to get things done). One day, though, it just wasn’t enough.

I see these ladies running in my little  neighborhood, and it used to just make me think, “I really admire them.” But a few weeks ago, I thought, “Wow, that looks like fun.” After I considered checking myself into a mental institution because I feared I’d turned into someone else, I decided I’d check out Couch to 5K. And as I’m wont to do with any new thing that piques my interest, I researched the hell out of it. I Googled things like, “running while fat” or “will my body reject the notion that it can run to the point that my feet learn to talk and scream at me?” (I seriously did Google “running while fat” and found some interesting articles.)

Luckily, one of my pals was starting C25K, and he encouraged me to start the same day he did so we could encourage each other. (He and I live in different states, but it’s nice to have a virtual running buddy.) So one evening after work, I changed clothes, downloaded a C25K app, and headed to the track that’s a block or so from my house. Much to my chagrin, there was a football scrimmage going on, so I settled for a stretch of concrete behind the middle school by my house. I followed the prompts on the app, but I was so self-conscious, I never made it the full time running. It was awful. My legs hurt, I was sweaty and flushed, and I had huge blisters on my heels. I hated it.

Thank goodness for day 2. This time I was able to go to the track, and it went much better. I was tired, but I felt amazing. It was on a Saturday morning, so there were only a few elderly people walking around the track. I still felt a little self-conscious, since I kinda look like a tube of Go-Gurt trying to grow legs and run. But I did my best to keep pace and pass people when I needed to. One older gent even yelled, “Go, Road Runner!” as I passed him. When I got home, I had a crazy burst of energy but was also super emotional. When I got in the shower, I cried, not because I was in pain, but because I ran. I did something I didn’t think I could do.

Something interesting happened when I started running. I wanted everything else in my life to be better. I spoke up for myself more at work, I had more confidence, I walked a little taller. I drastically changed what I wanted to eat. I started wanting to rid myself of toxic people in my life. At the precipice of 35, I feel younger than I did when I was in my 20s and much more confident about who I am. I’m not saying running did all of that, but it was definitely a catalyst.

Fast forward to now. I’m on my third time around on week 2. I think I’m ready to move on, but I know week 3 is a big jump. I have good days and bad days. One particularly bad day really got me down, and I tearfully told Mr. Geeky V that I didn’t see how I was ever going to get to the point where I can run for minutes at a time. I know it’s a process, but if you know me at all, you know I’m not good at not being 100% the best at something right away. I’m working on it. The greatest reward is seeing the sun rise as I run, since I’ve started running in the morning.

So don’t worry–this isn’t going to become a blog about my running. I probably won’t post any more about it until I sign up for a 5K. (I have my eye on next year’s Color Me Rad since I won’t be ready this year, and trust me, if when I complete a 5K, I may buy some sort of banner ad on every website ever to let people know.)


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