Samantha had suggested a few weeks ago, when asked for her opinion on what topic I should write about, that I write about exercise, because I like running. While most of her suggestions of this sort are usually completely random and just a little nonsensical (I think playing doctor was another of her suggestions at the time), she hit the mark pretty well on this one.
I love running.
It's something that, for years, I had been completely, totally, insanely jealous of others who ran, because I was pretty sure I couldn't do it. From childhood, I'd always had pretty awful stamina, but, more importantly, I think, I just hated sports, hated sweating, and just convinced myself that that's why I couldn't do it.
As I got older, hit a few magical decade markers (you know, the ones that begin to show you just how quickly you're fading, how much the perfect body that could eat anything and exercise none that you'd lived with your whole life and took so completely for granted, could rebel so cruelly against you and everything you've mistakenly believed for so long) and began recognizing some harsh realities, I knew I had to do something. And, with these ridiculously long legs of mine (do you have any idea how annoying it is to have strangers ask you constantly throughout your life if you play basketball, run track, etc.?), I wanted to run, wanted to feel that freedom, wanted to get back into shape, but worried I couldn't.
About 3 years ago, I decided to take advantage of the local gym, the membership dues of which are included in my HOA fees every month. Knowing I had to be home in time for my husband to get up and leave for work so I could be with Samantha and get her off to school, I woke 3 days a week, reluctantly, at the crack of dawn (a brutal 4:45, to be exact), dressed in the dark, and dragged my sorry, half-asleep backside into my car to drive the half mile to the sportsplex for 30 minutes of something that might resemble exercise. I attempted time on the treadmill, spending the majority of the 30 minute allotment (time on the machine was limited to 30 minutes to allow others to get a turn) walking briskly. Eventually I allowed myself a slow trot/jog/run...call it what you will...that further convinced me I just didn't have what it took to be a full-fledged runner.
After a short time, my husband's job changed, and I no longer had those early-morning opportunities.
Ennui, complacency, laziness, filled with the tediousness of even thinking about exercising, busy with my day-to-day, watching my body change in unspeakable ways...left me feeling...defeated.
Defeated by my inability to control my changing metabolism. There are always solutions within my reach...
Defeated by my lack of self control. Maintaining control is within my own power...
Defeated by my inherent laziness. If I want this I can do this...
Defeated by my own defeatist attitude (can't...won't...couldn't...). There's always a way...
That little voice in my head nagged and nagged at me, telling me that I should still be able to do this...that I needed to be able to control my destiny...?
So I bought a treadmill, started out slowly, and built up to where I am now, a year and a half later...ready to take on a 10k race this spring.
And needing a whole new wardrobe of clothing...
Yep! How exciting is that!?!
I had to punch another notch in my leather belt, and am actually able to pull most of my pants on and off without even undoing the button. Actually, all those pants I've loved for the last few years now look pretty awful on me.
Somehow I managed to melt somewhere along the way.
I've re-found some of the shape that I used to have, lost most of the muffin top that has plagued me for years, slimmed out my formerly colossal thighs, and built up some pretty rad muscles in my calves (is it weird that I keep flexing them under my open palm to feel how they harden and release? that I'm obsessively absorbed in watching them as I do? I've never had muscles anywhere before...).
I'm sooooo close to being exactly where I want to be, re-finding the glory of my pre-baby years...it's all within reach now. And, most exciting, I need to buy a new bathing suit this summer!
But I can't stop here...next up...melting the flab in my upper arms. Tomorrow I'm off to buy a set of hand weights to help me hit that goal.
Inspired by friends and, most importantly, by my disgust at the image that met me in the mirror every time I stepped out of the shower, I made it happen. I joke to people that I run to eat, meaning, I haven't actually done anything with my diet, maintaining relatively healthy meals, but not paying too much attention to it, and I don't check the scale very often. I do have to remember that injury and old age will eventually make me stop, so I should build some other good habits into this for that likelihood, but for the time being, I just continue to pursue the melting I've enjoyed so much.