I Am Badass (for 2/10ths of a mile)

Sleeping Lessons by the Shins was playing through the earbuds loud enough that I felt it in my chest. At about 2/10ths of a mile into my run the guitar started building followed by the drums. Epic songs. I am a sucker for epic songs. As the music swelled I thought, “I am badass. I. Am. Badass. I AM BADASS.”

I started to cry.

Um, yeah. Those tears were a quick reminder that I’m not, in fact, a badass. A realization that made me laugh really hard.

Today is the one year anniversary of my little running deal. A year ago today I fast walked two miles in Green Lakes Park. I didn’t own running shoes, or a running bra, or running anything.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep with it. I am embarrassingly slow. I hate 99% of the time. The farthest I’ve ever gone is a measly 6 miles. I’ve lost a whopping 3 pounds.

But. BUT! At 36 I made a lifestyle change and became a regular exerciser for the first time in my life. I feel more at ease in my body. I feel strong. My endurance has improved dramatically. And now, at 37, I feel better than I have in my entire life.

I might not quite be a badass, but I can do hard things. I can do hard things. For real. Scaredy cat Karen, the gal with the anxiety disorder, agoraphobic tendencies, IBS, and chronic self hatred. I can do hard things.

So I’m slow and I can’t go very far. So what? I can do hard things. I am a different person than I was a year ago. And I like this person way more.

A year ago I fast walked two miles and couldn’t imagine running for one. Today I did my first workout of a 16 week training program for a half marathon. Three miles slogging through high humidity and a heat index of 90 degrees. It sucked big time. At 2.5 miles I was quite sure I wasn’t going to make it. But I can do hard things. And I forced my slow body that was dripping with sweat to keep on moving.

A year ago I had no idea a half was 13.1 miles. Today I tell myself I am getting through those 13.1 miles on October 19th come hell or high water. Even if I have to crawl. Because stand back motherfucker. I can do hard things.

And now: A self-indulgent year of running selfies!

But seriously, I don’t instagram these because I think I’m hot shit. Um, the pictures clearly show a middle aged lady who is still has an “overweight” BMI. But you don’t have to be a hot young thing to be a runner. I’d venture to say most runners aren’t hot young things. The only thing that matters is lacing up those shoes and getting out there. Have you thought about doing this? Please, give it a try. I promise it will be a gift to yourself. I also promise it will hurt like hell and frustrate the living shit out of you. But it is worth it. If you were sitting in my living room with me I’d force you to feel the front of my thighs. They are like solid rock! I have muscles! You can have them, too!

first running selfie

First running selfie. July 9, 2013. Still fast walking the whole time. The front of this girl’s thighs did not feel like solid rock.

anti vanity shot

September. The anti-vanity selfie. Seriously, if i can do this with my big hips and post-two-child belly  anyone can! Also, my head looks like a penis.

first 5k

October. First and only 5K. What a disaster. At least I can laugh at it now. So this running thing isn’t smooth all the time. That doesn’t matter. What matters is you still go out and try again the next day.


November. First hungover run.

Christmas run

December. Christmas Day!

8 35 mile 3 in under 30 fastest ever

January in Florida. Fastest mile ever at 8:35. See? Told you I was slow.

12 degree day

February. Twelve degrees. My chin was frozen.

one year of running

July 1, 2014. Post run today.



9 thoughts on “I Am Badass (for 2/10ths of a mile)

  1. Ha! You are so inspiring and SO funny! I have always HATED running (because it has always lead me to hate MYSELF during the process) but I bet I could take myself from my classic fast walk into a run with some practice. Bravo for the post work out selfies; my face gets so red it has historically made me reconsider the workout in the first place! Keep it up, you are great 🙂

  2. Stop downplaying your achievements. 8:35 is NOT a slow mile. I did a marathon once a long time ago with an average of a 15 minute mile. Then I got a relationship and kids and have no time for anything. Now I am slower. I tried to run a block and back while my kids were jumping around in their gymnastics class. I am pathetically out of shape. An 8:35 mile rocks. Running a mile rocks. You rock!

    (Also, my face gets so red when I run, people ask me if I’m okay.)

    • The 8:35 was the fastest mile I’ve ever run. By far. And it was once. Usually I’m in the 10+ or 11+ range. For someone who has been doing it for a year I really am very slow. But all that doesn’t even matter. What matters is I’m doing it.

  3. Karen! This is so impressive! And I so appreciate your message that taking on one hard thing and doing it makes other pieces of one’s life easier. You will do the half, yes you will! And everyone will cheer you on!

    The other part of this that I appreciate is that it is okay to take on a challenge and perform at less than at a rock-star level. Just having a running routine at all is rock star. And the training effect does kick in, eh?

    At age 54 I trained all spring with Richard and 15-year-old Colin to cycle from Seattle to Portland with the annual group ride. They were going to do this for the second time and for some reason I invited myself along and Colin said okay. The training was boring and hard and I often wanted to avoid it but persisted (didn’t want to wimp out in front of Colin). We rode 200 miles, 4:30 am to 9:30 pm, making it in one day rather than the usual two. I will never forget the taste of that end-of-ride beer in the Portland hotel bar.

    Haven’t done such a long ride since but feel confident on my bike and can still do 40-50 miles a day, even with hills.

    Good on ya! Your boys are proud of you! And you will run a marathon with them some day!

    Betsy (Anna’s aunt)

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