How did this happen? After years of obnoxiously informing anyone who would listen that I have never, do not, won’t consider participating in a regular workout program I’ve made a huge liar out of myself.
Z was home for the summer. T was in school in the morning. There is a local park we were frequenting with C that has a lake with a two mile loop around it. Suddenly I was fast walking two miles five days a week. Within a couple of weeks I was running part of the two miles. I ran a mile without stopping for the first time in my entire life. Eventually I ran two miles. Then two and a quarter.
It all sounds so simple when I type it out. It hasn’t been. I’ve learned when I’m tired I jog much slower. I’ve learned when I have my period I walk a lot more. I’ve forced myself to get out of bed while hating every moment. I’ve walked out the front door planning to jog the whole time yet barely making it a mile before needed to walk, hating myself for not sucking it up. There have been weeks at a time with zero progress. As I mysteriously continue to get heavier there has been terrible frustration and body image issues. I don’t think of myself as a strong person, but I can be stubborn. I’ve hated a lot of this exercising deal, but I’m in competition with myself. I get angry and somehow the anger keeps me going.
A week ago I took a spill while on my morning jog. Our neighborhood is old and the sidewalks buckle from winters of snow and ice as well the roots of huge trees that worm their way underneath. I caught my toe on a square of concrete two inches higher than the rest of the walk. The whole time I was falling in slow motion I was sure I would right myself. Then I was sliding along the ground, tears of embarrassment welling in my eyes. Thankfully it happened at the tail end of the workout. I was a block from home. Made it all the way inside before a tear fell.
I was pissed and discouraged and done. But somehow I forced myself to go out again.
On Saturday Z and his parents, who were visiting, took the boys to the farmers market in the morning. I was able to have a cup of coffee before heading out which always helps my stamina. I jogged two and a quarter miles without walking by the time I got home and was feeling proud of myself. The car wasn’t back yet and on a whim I kept going.
One of the students in my class this semester has been a long distance runner her whole life. She was giving me tips earlier in the week and she told me that a 5K was 3.1 miles. I was less than a mile from that distance. What if I ran 5K? Could I actually do it? Turns out I could do it with an overall pace of 11:44. I shocked the hell out of myself. In about two and a half months I went from being unable to jog at all to completing a 5K. The whole runners high thing still hasn’t kicked in for me, but man the excitement and pride I felt at that accompaniment stuck with me for the rest of the day.
If I could run a 5K on my own what about actually doing a race? On October 6th there is a 5K in my neighborhood. The path includes part of the route I take every day. If a gal with an anxiety disorder is going to do a 5K really there isn’t a more comfortable scenario possible.
The snag is that weeks ago Z told me he had an obligation that morning. So childcare would have to be arranged for the boys. I wouldn’t have a cheering section at the end, I’d be going solo. But going solo is kind of perfect for me. My social anxiety is pretty crippling. I prefer to go to restaurants and movies alone over with groups of people. Being able to fly under the radar, to slip into the race and just quietly walk home after sounds appealing.
I just signed up. Paid the fee. Included my shirt size, because I’ll get a long sleeved tech shirt, whatever that is.
I’m doing this. I’m participating in life. Even if it scares the shit out of me.
About a week after the fall. It’s one of the best bruises I’ve gotten in a long time.
I’ve even gotten a rather unattractive moisture wicking hat for winter with a clever little hole for a ponytail. We had our first frost yesterday. For the last two mornings it has kept my ears toasty warm.
This girl just ran 5K and was enormously proud of herself.