A few weekends ago, I had a great ladies’ night out. Food, drinks, dancing; it was long overdue. A particularly fun song came on – you know, the kind that makes you jump up and down. And I did. A lot. It didn’t take long for me to realize, oh piss, I really should have done those kegels. I managed to finish my night without actually springing a leak (I think) but the next day, it occurred to me how little I have been caring for myself since Ruby was born.
P.J. and I have been saying it for months: “We really should start exercising again.” I’ve looked into gyms, but none are practically located and as it is, I only have a good hour and a half with Ruby before she goes to bed in the evenings. Gym workouts would pretty much eliminate our time so that isn’t an option. Then a few days ago, a friend posted an article to her Facebook page in advance of the Pittsburgh Marathon. The gist of the article is that being a slow runner is a state of mind. It resonated with me.
There have been two different periods in my life during which I tried running. The first was in high school. I joined cross country and track because a crush told me that I should try running and that I had a runner’s body. I’m not sure if that meant I looked fit or lanky, but as embarrassing as it is to admit, I joined the team to impress that guy. Impress might be the wrong word. If never actually training outside of team practices and always coming in last in every event are impressive, then call me Usain Bolt.
The second time I tried running was a couple years before Ruby was born. P.J and I had been pretty good about getting to the gym, but I decided I wanted to start a Couch to 5k program. I made it two weeks and quit.
I’ve never been a good runner, nor have I ever TRIED to be a good runner. So when I read that article last week, I realized that I was the only thing holding me back. And when P.J., Rubz, and I went to our neighborhood’s marathon street party this morning and I saw that even elite marathon runners take walking breaks, I no longer felt as though I was too terrible to even try.
Guess what? I went for a run tonight. I had a few minutes before dinner and took advantage of the opportunity. In 20 minutes, I ran just over a mile and a half at a pace of 12 minutes, 44 seconds. There is definitely some work ahead of me to get to the point I could run a 5k, but it’s a start. Some things that were different than last time:
- Running outside rather than on an indoor track is SO much better.
- Not having an app telling me when to walk and run was actually beneficial. The app let me off the hook when I could have kept going.
- There was a lot more jiggling (I blame Ruby).
Running is only one piece of the health puzzle. Some sort of strength training needs to happen and I really need to do some ab work to repair the diastasis recti that developed in my pregnancy. P.J. and I already eat pretty healthfully and we are eagerly awaiting the start of our new CSA. Though as Ruby and I scale back on breastfeeding, I also need to scale back on that extra 500 calories per day.
The only question mark is whether or not I can sustain this motivation. Past attempts have been foiled by negative self-talk and laziness. But now, it isn’t as simple as letting myself down. There is a whole lot more at stake. A sweet little monkey is counting on me to be around for the next fifty years. It’s time to make sure that happens.