Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I know its clean week, and I'm supposed to be blogging about all of the dirt and grime that I've been scrubbing off of my refrigerator shelves, but- this is important.
For the past 8 or 9 weeks, while I've completely lost track of time, I've been training to run a 5k.
Its not something that I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I didn't want to document my every move in the same way that I did with my 30 day shred. I didn't want to crack under the heavy pressure that my computer screen has the power to put on me. After I did my shred, I decided that I needed to get healthy and lose weight for me. Not that I was doing it for anybody else before, I just felt that if I kept it to myself, the details and struggles, I could keep my goal more personal, just me and the track, and I would commit to it for no reason other than I wanted to. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes we lose ourselves in the efforts of not wanting to let somebody else down. And I needed to overcome that. Which I have.
2 1/2 months ago, I dedicated myself to becoming a runner. This isn't something that I took lightly. I've always, always, wanted to be a runner. Back in elementary/middle/high school, I couldn't even do one lap around the track. I was so overweight, that I couldn't even jog a quarter of a mile. Hidden under my embarrassment for my lack of physical fitness and less than beautiful exterior, was jealousy. Severe, anger filled, envy. I wanted to be better.
When I was 19 years old, I battled with a rush of anorexia, combined with a diet pill drug addiction, topped off with an unhealthy lust for my StairMaster. I locked myself up for days, and emerged 40 pounds thinner. I was thin. My skin was yellow, I was always exhausted and dizzy, but I was thin. Shortly after meeting my husband, but long before we were married, tragedy struck (something I don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself to write about), and just as quickly as I had lost the weight, I put it all back on... and then some. My weight sky rocketed to an out of control 238 pounds (256 while pregnant with Eleanore). Part of that was food allergies (gluten, dairy, fructose), but most of it was depression, both postpartum and non. I needed help.
Over the next couple of years I was diagnosed with IBS, Barrett's Esophagus, and Endometriosis (not to mention, I had two kids!). A real party in the out patient surgery department. All of those things combined tore my obese body apart, cell by cell. I had to change my diet drastically, and slowly, very slowly, I started building my depression and sickness, into strength and brilliance.
After things got on track with my diet, which I thought would never happen, I decided to take on the physical. I started out with walking. Then hit the rowing machine a couple of times. And then, The 30 Day Shred. I was thinning out, I was feeling great. Everybody that had watched my transformation asked me, "What are you going to do next, what are you going to do next?", and I froze. I stopped working out altogether. I took a break.
That brings me back to 2 1/2 months ago, when I decided that I can be a runner. One day while browsing blogs and such, I came across the "couch to 5k" program. Basically, a program for folks like me, who want to get off their lazy asses, put on some running shoes and a sports bra (or if you're me, three sports bras), and hit the track. I didn't even stop to think about it for a second, I was dedicated right then and there. I said out loud to Christopher, who was sitting on the couch next to me (see, literally, couch, to 5k, hah) "I'm doing this running program, I'm starting tomorrow". And that's exactly what I did.
I was scared to death, my first run. I had never run before in my life. Wait, I take that back. I tried to run, back in May, I got maybe 50 feet- and then I sprained my knee. Yeah, that's how awesome I am. I messed my knee UP (did you read that in the ghetto voice that I was using in my head when I typed it? I did my best with the fonts, but- ). I knew nothing about running. I didn't understand how to breath properly (really though, it takes a lot of concentration and rhythm, it took me awhile to get the hang of it). I thought everybody was staring at me (and lets face it, I kind of stand out). My first run, was rough. Even though I was only running 60 seconds at a time, it was extremely difficult, and my body sure let me know it.
My second run, not quite as bad, but I was still positive that everybody was staring at me. Running on a military base, where everyone is clearly in excellent physical condition, SUCKS.
From there on, things got harder, and easier, both at the same time. I knew I wouldn't give up, I couldn't give up. The running sets got longer. I struggled with chest pains, ear aches, pulled muscles- everything. I wondered if maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a runner, but, until I snapped a bone mid jog, I wasn't quitting.
The most memorable night in my dedication, was somewhere around the 6th or 7th week. I had to go run. I had been planning on doing it all day, I knew that my body needed it, my brain needed it too, I had to go. It was late at night, freezing cold outside, and pouring rain. I'm not the type to workout inside on a treadmill. That's the kind of exercise that you do to lose weight, not to feel good. I like to feel good. I can only run outside. I put on my workout clothes, plugged my ipod earpieces into my head, and took off. I, got, soaked. I was the only person out on the track that night (the same as most nights, since I have to go after Christopher gets home, which doesn't really give me the option to pick and choose when my workouts are), the water was coming down so hard from the sky I couldn't see where I was going, my clothes had gained an additional 20 pounds in water weight alone- and I wasn't stopping. I ran my heart out. I ran until my tears mixed with the rain, similar to something from a movie scene. And when I finished my 2 miles that night, I realized that I was doing it. Could I officially call myself, a runner?
Tonight my neighbor came over to our house and watched the kids for us (I'm not good leaving the babies with anybody else, even if they're a good friend, I'm that kind of mom), and Christopher and I went down to the track together. We forgot bug spray, so that was awesome, and we forgot the camera, even more awesome, but- this was it.
Tonight, I ran a 5k with my husband.
I didn't do this for anybody other than myself. I didn't do it for the jerks in middle school that called me fat, which, I was. I didn't do it for my husband, who will love me no matter what. I really, truly, did this for me.
When I crossed the finish line tonight, I burst into tears. I was crying so hard that Christopher thought I had hurt myself. I had run so fast that last quarter of a mile, faster than I've ever let myself go, that I had no breath to tell him otherwise, (not that I would have, even if I could have, because emotional moments like that aren't the kind of moments that you want to interrupt with an explanation of "no dear, I'm alright, nothing is broken or sprained or pulled, I just ran a freakin' 5k for Gods sake!"). I walked around the track with my hands on my hips, slowly catching my breath, my chest pounding, thinking about how my life has changed. With every burning exhale, I thought about how 5 years ago, I would have never pictured my life ending up like this.
I saved myself.
Since starting my training, I've lost 4 pounds. Nothing spectacular in the way of numbers, but, damn, I feel good. I'm stronger. I'm in better shape than I've ever been in before. I'm down to 185. And... did I mention I can run a 5k?
The face of accomplishment.