I saw them in the movies, and read about them in books. They were out on the streets in the morning and around campus as I made my way to class. And every time I saw them, I’d think to myself “wow, that would be cool.”
But never, not once, did I attempt to emulate them. In high school, at my absolute thinnest, I had trouble walking around the block without being winded and it physically hurt to exercise. I couldn’t stand the feeling of not being able to breathe, and although my weight yo-yo’d in high school and in college, I rarely took to exercise as a form of weight management, and even then I did so inconsistently.
But there were times – so many times – when I would watch the main character of a movie lacing up her shoelaces, putting her hair in a messy ponytail and going out for a run and long for the ability to do just that.
I never actually thought that I would though.
When I started my weight loss journey, my only goal in adding exercise to my plan was to lose weight as fast as I possibly could. It’s amazing to look back at what I was doing then, and compare it to now. Check out the book The Core Program and take a look at the simple leg lifts, slow bicycle kicks, and knee raises and imagine a 15 minute slow, methodical workout that left my 240lb self gasping for air and unable to finish (just in case these numbers are confusing… I weighed 260 at my heaviest, and 240 when I started my weight loss journey. I mark my weight loss from the 260 mark, though… mostly because it sounds much more awesome to say I’ve lost 80lbs than it does to say I’ve lost 60.) :) Anyway, THOSE were the kinds of workouts I started out with. Later, I built myself up to simple exercise videos I found on Netflix, and then tried the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (I’ve never yet gotten through level two, and never even tried level three.) Eventually, I did P90x when a friend bought a copy for me (I did my best, and “forgot the rest”) and on my “light” days (read: on the days when I was too sore to do anything else!) I’d walk with Leslie Sansone. I think it was during one of these walks that I first decided to try jogging. At the end of one of her workout tapes, she has her viewers do a quick jog in place, and rather than jog in place, I started jogging around my house, keeping pace with the music. I did this for her recommended 2 minutes, and then let the DVD flip over to the next walking exercise and kept jogging to the beat. I can’t remember how long I jogged that first day, but I do remember my feeling of elation… I didn’t know my body could MOVE that way – I really didn’t! I started jogging on the treadmill every now and then, but never consistently… I still struggled to breathe and I really didn’t like it much. But then one day, I decided to try running a 5k. I started running a little more frequently, and then one day Manuela ran the distance with me in her neighborhood. After that, I was happy with the fact that I could say I’d “done it,” and it was a while before I ran again.
After I finished my 90 days of p90x, I found myself struggling to get back into it – or any other exercise program – again. I wanted some kind of outside accountability – something that would FORCE me to exercise. So, I signed up for a 10k (a 10k and not a 5k because I wanted it to be something I’d have to train hard for in order to accomplish.)
I didn’t set out to become a runner. And yet, I feel I’m being molded by a force greater than myself (three guesses as to Who!) :) Tonight, I went for a 3 mile jog. My legs were hurting badly from doing a p90x leg strengthening video yesterday and there were several points during the run when I didn’t think I’d be able to finish. I was on the treadmill for almost an hour and was 1/2 mile from being finished, when the thing stopped working. Although a huge part of me wanted to thank God for divine intervention and pass out in the floor, I got in my car, drove to town, and ran the rest of my 3 miles. It felt AMAZING.
Not just the running, but the knowledge that I CAN run – and that I WILL run – even though it hurts, even though I don’t want to. I came home, wrapped my arms around my husband, buried my face in his chest and whispered “I’m a runner!” He answered, “Yes, you are” and I felt like I was going to cry.
I’m one of those people.
Those people who run.
Today, I read an awesome quote on a blog tonight that made me smile:
I’m a runner!
(On a side note, I really like this quote, too…)
How about a 20 minute mile? Does that count?