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. July 9, 2013. Still fast walking the whole time. The front of this girl’s thighs did not feel like solid rock.
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.
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.
December. Christmas Day!
January in Florida. Fastest mile ever at 8:35. See? Told you I was slow.
February. Twelve degrees. My chin was frozen.
July 1, 2014. Post run today.