I have become THAT GIRL. And I kind of love it. I have gone from chuckling to myself about all of THOSE GIRLS I knew who ran. For fun. I would shake my head, reading status update after status update about running, run times, distances, shoes, shorts, etc and etc, ad nauseum. And I would laugh. I will never, ever run for fun, I vowed. Who has time to run for fun? Not me. I was too busy sitting. I liked sitting. It is comfy. And warm. And Lord knows I like to be warm. Running was not for me. No sir.
Until I realized something. That baby weight? It was gone. But the baby body? I still had that somehow. I still looked a bit like I had either just given birth in the last 72 hours, or I had had a large lunch consisting of carbs and lard. I wasn’t happy. I had zero energy. And then it hit me; I had to get moving!! Now. But how? Due to schedules, I had no way to plan gym time into my everyday life. I needed something I could do myself, without a class. And my friends who ran all looked…amazing. Maybe there was something to this running thing. I wasn’t comfortable heading outside and looking like a moron flailing about the neighborhood, as I was sure I would flail. A lot. Then, I remembered that I could run. At home. Flail-free!!
We had an elliptical in our basement that was had gotten from my husband’s cousin right before the Great Basement Flood of 2013. It’s not the best elliptical. It’s not the top of the line, but it was a gift that we had received and I had wanted with the best of intentions. And it had been sitting there, too. And it didn’t look like it was having any fun either. I walked by it everyday when I did laundry. I’d glance over, shamefully averting my eyes because I didn’t want it to feel ignored. Neglected. Unwanted. Until one day. I decided enough was enough. I walked over to it, unsure of what to expect, with absolutely no goal in mind except “don’t die”. I took a big breath and plugged it in. And I got on it. And…
It hurt. My knees, already bad from foot and ankle issues, hurt like no one’s business. But, it didn’t hurt the whole time. And the more I got into it, the easier it got. And I cleared 15 minutes in one night, a goal I surely wouldn’t have imagined I’d ever hit. I know it’s not some large distance, it’s not a 5k for goodness sakes, but it was something. My knees didn’t hurt after, and the cracking and popping had lessened. Is it possible running can be good for my knees?? I didn’t care, I just loved the feeling and wanted more of it. More, More. More!
My body felt renewed after a few days of running regularly, and I felt so good. Blood pumped through my veins, my muscles cried out, and my brain exploded with happy energy. Immediately, I understood. I got it. My friends ran because it was freeing. It was…fun! And when I would run, I cleared my mind, left it all on the elliptical, and I was hooked. It’s true what they say, “running is better and cheaper than therapy.” I bought a fitbit a few days later and started tracking my steps, distances, calories. I bought some real running shoes. And a resistance band. I started changing my thoughts, my diet, and my motivations. After just a few days, pounds starting falling off. Real weight loss. Where had that been all my life? I wanted to keep at it, because duh, weight loss and more energy! Sign me up! And I needed a plan. I have set goals, activity goals, weight loss goals, but more importantly, health goals. I want to be able to run a 5k. Not tomorrow. Not next month. But sometime. And then? 10k. Half marathon? Who knows.
Because for me, the hardest thing was starting. But now that I have, I can’t see myself stopping. My clothes fit better. I have super energy. And focus. And I wear myself out in a good way. But, it’s not all fun and games. I have an addictive personality when it comes to a lot of things, and working out is no exception, and I have to mind my own mind when it comes to overdoing it. Once I get started, I can go for a long, long time without stopping, so I have to keep myself in check. I took a few weeks off when my husband was working mega overtime and I had to be there for the girls all the time, but I realized that they were only sleeping while I got back into the sitting thing. I had to shake out of it, and get back on the proverbial horse. I knew I would get started again, and I am so glad that I did. My whole body feels better when I run; I feel myself getting stronger, and my knees don’t hurt as much now that I am more active and getting into better shape. I think it may be true! Running may actually help my crazy knees after all!
Sure, I am concerned about my knees and feet, and I plan to make an appointment to talk to my doctor about possible physical therapy if running does start to make them hurt. I want to get some braces for my knees for basic support and possibly some custom running shoes for my Barney Rubble feet. I find myself talking about running, making playlists for running, reading running tips, discussing how good it feels to do it, and thinking of myself as a runner. Sure, I haven’t tried running outside, aside from around the yard and on the road with my kids. But it’s also a mental game, and I have to see it before I can be it. And I may never be able to run like I want to because of my knees and feet, but again, I just might. Who knows? I know I have a runner inside of me. I just need to let her do her thing, no matter where she does it.
So, I have become THAT GIRL. But let me tell you, I will take being that girl who runs and feels good about her body over that girl who sits any single day of the week. That girl who runs has a healthier outlook, a clearer mind, a stronger body, and a greater impact on her daughters to make healthy and active choices. Everything I do, I have to take them into consideration. And I have to admit, running alongside them, or even them waiting for me at the end of some finish line, are part of my goals and motivations. I want them to see a mommy who can truly do anything she sets her mind to because then, they will know that the same is true for them.
Now, it is my turn to be THAT GIRL. Because I may be raising THOSE GIRLS.
And, boy, what adventures we can all have together. All we have to do is start…
What will you have the courage to start?