A little while back, I was inspired to attempt running thanks to a Just Margaret video I’d seen. In it, she’d talked about how she didn’t exercise much, but worked herself up to running more and more by using a Couch to 5K program, specifically this one in which a British lady cheers me on. I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga regularly (sort of) for a couple of years now, but I wanted to add something that I could alternate with and maybe add on to, without costing me more money. Since we’re already giving money to the gym, teaching myself to run on the already paid for treadmills seemed like a good next step. And I’m learning or reaffirming things about myself.
- I take things slow. The program asks for three runs a week, but thanks to scheduling and still taking yoga classes I generally run once or twice a week. (That trip to Disney World followed by a wedding slowed things down quite a bit, too.) So I tend to give two to two and a half weeks to every week of the program. But I have been getting better, and I look forward to beating the new challenges. And really, how different is that from taking four years to find a job I like, or half a decade to finish a children’s novel? That’s how I roll — like a snail.
- I’m stubborn. The last run I did requires two 8-minute runs separated by a 5-minute walk. The first run, fine, I do great, no problem. The second run, 4 minutes in and I feel like I could fall down. It’s hard to breathe as deep as I think they probably should. I don’t think I can keep doing this, I want to quit, but there’s only 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2, 1…and then I can smack the cool down button and amble on the moving ground, panting and sweating and looking in general like a hot mess. But I did it.
- I can use my guilt in my favor. I’m an exceptionally guilt-ridden person. It doesn’t take much for me to feel like I’ve upset or disappointed someone and am thus a horrid human being who should bury herself in a hole. But I can use this to help myself. Guilt helps me feel compelled to write every day that I’m able, obligation keeps me from quitting yoga. Guilt and obligation is keeping me at the gym, making me finish this program however long it takes me.
- I’m proud. I like accomplishing things. Who doesn’t? But I like this feeling, that I’m getting something done, that I can be proud of what I’m doing. I want to keep it going.
- Running makes me hungry. Not really a revelation about my personality, I just understand how my cousin can devour an entire meat pie as an adult.
Maybe I’ll get healthier, maybe I’ll be a happier person because I’m exercising more. Maybe I’ll be able to fit into those dresses I buried in the back of my closet. Right now I’m happy that I’m doing this, and kind of, in a way, enjoying it, when the cramps go away.
For further running inspiration, read this comic/essay by The Oatmeal.