I’m trying to be all healthy and active and whatnot

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about that running resolution

Oh my god, this post. I wrote it about two weeks ago in Notepad because reasons. Notepad crashed. I whined about my stupidity on Facebook and got a lot of smug suggestions that maybe I should try being less stupid. (“Have you considered saving your work? Are you aware of things like Gmail and Google Docs?”) Related: I hate everyone. (Kidding.)

This is long and rambling and not interesting. Now that I’ve sold the hell out of it, read on.

Anyway, I mentioned in my last post that one of the main items on my MUST DO list was re-establishing an exercise routine/schedule. In my previous position, I was able to go to the gym pretty much everyday during my lunch break. This was perfect for me. I didn’t have to scramble to work out in the morning in the midst of getting the kid ready for school or in the evening which is prime Do Nothing time. When I started in my new position, my new boss was perfectly fine with me working out during the day, but it quickly became evident that I wouldn’t always have time to do so. I still made an effort, but five days a week quickly dropped to three and then two and then here and there and for long stretches not at all.

The results of this are what you would expect. I’ve had less energy. I’ve had more, uh, ME. But perhaps worst of all is that my anxiety has gone through the roof. I am this odd mixture of lazy and high-strung. When I really let those two behaviors loose, I end up doing nothing while panicking about it. Without going into too much detail, I have to say that the last eight months or so without regular activity have been pretty tough for me. I feel kind of crazy is the thing and I feel less so when I take an hour a day and kick my own ass.

But without a regular chunk of the middle of the day for ass-kicking, I didn’t know what to do. I could maybe exercise some evenings, but really I’d just rather hang out with the dudes and make dinner and relax. The other obvious candidate was the morning. That was a far from perfect option because:

1a) I’m terrible at getting up early. I love sleeping. I love being in bed. It’s comfortable and warm and there’s usually a husband and maybe a cat or two to snuggle with. Who in their right mind would leave such an awesome environment? Besides that, during the school year, I’m the one in charge of getting the kid up and out the door. Before you chime in with, “Why don’t you make the husband do that sometimes?” let me tell you that HAHAHAHA. He’s even worse at getting out of bed than I am and has way less patience for the kid’s morning antics, which are plentiful. So until the kid is capable of handling himself in the morning, it’s on me to keep him from becoming truant.

1b) I’m terrible at going to bed early. Part of the reason that I’m terrible at getting out of bed early is because most mornings I haven’t spent enough time there. I like being up late and goofing off. Plus this is usually when the husband and I do the bulk of our hanging out. And that’s important, you know? We’re both busy and have a kid and we need to have a good chunk of awake time just for us.

2) I’m kind of a wuss. For a good portion of the year, Pittsburgh is freezing. I hate running in the cold. HATE. IT. I’ve done it multiple times thinking I just need to get used to it. But no. It sucks. I know there are plenty of people who don’t mind it or even like it and I think they’re on rocks. I have a very basic treadmill that I got off of someone during their move, but I don’t really know if our old house can withstand me running on a treadmill anywhere but the basement. Our basement is kind of terrifying. Oh, look, here’s some footage of my last trip down there:

3) I’m kind of insane. I get “all or nothing” about things to a stupid degree and especially during the school year would say to myself, “I don’t have time/energy to get up and run three miles in the morning so I guess it’s just not happening.”

I lay all this out not as a list of excuses but because I think it’s important to be honest about what I will realistically do and what I will realistically make an effort to change. I can maybe tackle most of those things but I’m pretty sure running in the cold is not happening ever. So I’ll have to figure something out for the cold days but let’s table that part for now.

Keeping the above in mind, I decided to wait until the kid was out of school to attempt a new routine. And I decided that I would set a low bar: 25 – 30 minutes, leaving at 6:30ish on Tuesday and Thursday. No distance or speed goal, especially since I knew that those would not be where they once were some months back. Just sheer “getting it done.” So that’s my advice: figure out the easiest possible way to start something and go with it. There are no rewards for conquering some arbitrarily difficult task that matters to no one but you.

Other things that I resolved:

I didn’t disqualify myself based on my lack of skills. Another summer resolution that I might add is taking up yoga again. I used to do it fairly regularly but stopped, mostly because I really liked this one particular class that didn’t fit in my schedule anymore. (Again with this all or nothing nonsense.) But I would always recommend it to people for various reasons and the response that would always piss me off was, “But I’m not flexible.” Like…UGH. Do you only do things that you’re already good at? Really? Wow, life must be awesome for you. Or completely horrible if you’re one of those super rare people who have to work and develop abilities. While I’m not starting from Square One with running and working out (more like Square 12.5 or something…how many Squares are there? I’ve always had a rough time with math) it can kind of feel that way, especially since I can clearly remember how much better I was doing not that long ago. So I had to smack myself out of the, “Well, I’m back at a 12-minute mile so might as well just put my eatin’ dress on and get started on all this canned frosting,” mindset. It’s fine. I’m slow and starting over to some degree. I’ll get back to where I was. Or maybe I won’t. It doesn’t really matter. But sitting her whining certainly isn’t making me any healthier.

I gently kicked my ass. At some point, I have to cut the shit and do what needs to be done. So, one morning, about two weeks ago, I drooped out of bed at the ungodly (to me) time of 6:30 and drooped into running clothes and drooped out the door. The main force behind that momentous achievement being that I knew I had done the bare minimum to make it happen and quitting before I even started would just be stupid.

I have a goal in sight…that I paid cash money for. The kid and I are going to be running the Great Race 10k in September. We’re already signed up and paid. I’m a cheapskate and hate wasting money so we’ll be there no matter what shape we’re in. I just think it would be a nicer experience for everyone if I’m not crying the whole time because ugggghhhhh how did I let this happen?

10k done! Took me about 1:10, ran the whole way! #greatrace
September 2012, when I had things ON LOCK
I’ve come to realize that people are full of shit. A very valid roadblock to this kind of activity is worrying what other people think of you. Real talk: there will be some people who think you have no business being at the gym/at the race/at whatever. They think you’re fat, you’re disgusting, you’re terrible, you probably won’t commit to health and fitness, etc. They only have time to think about what business you have being there because they’re not focusing on themselves. Also, you’re not going to risk bumping into any elite athletes who actively care what you’re doing. So any turd who thinks that about you would look equally foolish mingling with people who are actually good at this stuff. They only get access to judge you up close and personal because they’re down here in the muck with the rest of us. Ignore them. Or antagonize them by, like, eating a doughnut on the elliptical just to make their heads explode.

My next hurdle will be doing this twice a week. I got up early once last week and it was okay. But I gave myself a pass every other morning. The kid and I did get out for a few afternoon/evening runs so that’s good. But this morning, for example, it was NOT happening. It could have, though, which is frustrating. I didn’t suck it up enough. Oh, well. Tomorrow!

6 comments to about that running resolution

  • Ed

    I’m in that same situation. I don’t mind running in the cold but I do mind running on ice and snow, so that kept me down for the winter. Then, right after it melted, I sprained my ankle (by deftly stumbling over a curb), and it’s just now stopped hurting enough that I dare run on it. But man, it’s like I just started C25K for the third time. It’s coming back quicker, and I should be back to the three-milers and shooting for 10K before long, but man, it’s easy to put things of for Just One More Day.

    • Good for you! It’s just especially discouraging to feel that “Uggghhhh I can’t do this” feeling again after you’ve previously overcome it. I can feel mine going away and of course it’s fading much much faster than it did the first time I committed to learning to run. It still sucks big time.

  • Recently I reframed my goal as “I want to be stronger.” I haven’t gotten to the part where I decide HOW I’m going to do that but at least I’ve got a goal that requires working out. Losing weight can be gotten at in different ways. This post came at a really nice time for me, thanks!

    • Yeah, I think I’m getting to a place where I’m actually really okay (or mostly okay) with not being thin. The things that I would have to do to get thin and stay thin are just not things that I want to do. Accepting that can be tough but life is too short.

  • Alaina M.

    I totally feel you on appreciating morning sleep. I have to get up around 6am already for work so any earlier is just…probably not going to happen.

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