Posts Tagged ‘Reasons for Not Running’

What is the Point?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

I have been a little down lately. Might be the weather, or hormones (bitches!). I really wanted to go to the lake this weekend and the weather was awful, so we ditched the idea and stayed home. The kids were kind of driving me crazier, and everything and everyone were kind of getting on my nerves, for simply existing. I felt, as my sis and I say, that i was so sick of everything that i was getting on my own nerves.

It didn’t help that i had three days of upset stomach, and I didn’t run all week. The more I put off the long run, the more stressed out I became, the more guilt I felt, and the more worthless I felt; it becomes a vicious cycle. If I exercise consistently, I get the endorphins, which are simply and purely an antidepressant for me, and I don’t drown the kids in the bathtub. If I get sick, or life gets in the way and I can’t exercise, I feel down. I totally have withdrawal, as if from a drug, and the cycle continues. I feel down and depressed and know that if I exercise, I will feel better, but I am too depressed to get off the couch and do it.

Even after my stomach was better, i was putting off the run, feeling depressed, and then cranky and depressed because i wasn’t running. It’s very hard to explain to you if you don’t fight depression, or if you don’t ever exercise. (And yes, I realize that exercise doesn’t cure all depression – I am lucky in that my depression is not completely debilitating. I get blue, but I function. I know some folks are not that lucky.)

Oh, the negative self-talk came out in force. I came up with a million reasons not to go run:

  • It’s too cold.
  • I don’t have time to finish.
  • We will never get the house cleaned before our friends come over for dinner.
  • I can’t finish the laundry if I am not at home.
  • I feel guilty leaving Todd with the kids.
  • Ad nauseum.
  • Luckily, my husband has been told numerous times to remind me how much better I feel when I work out and he finally told me yesterday, as I revealed a litany of reasons i shouldn’t, to “GO. Just GO.

    And so I went. I should have just walked out the door, and ran at home, but i got it into my head that it was cold outside, and i went to the gym instead. Six miles on the dreadmill.

    Yeah, that’ll cheer anyone up. Not.

    A little background – My friend Megan convinced me (bugged and badgered me?) to run a half-marathon with her, even though we only had 8 weeks to train and I had not been running a lot when we started. I told her that I would train with her until I injured myself, which is apt to be any time now, since we are adding a mile to our long runs every week, which is obviously too much, too fast. So, I told her we would finish, but i was not going to be fast. I figure if I am adding that much mileage, I am not going to make it worse by being fast. This attitude may be seen as cautiousness, fear, fat runner negative self-talk, or self-preservation. It is most likely a little bit of each.

    So, there I am, on the treadmill, running my tortuously slow miles. The frustrating part about being a fat, slow runner is that you are, as mentioned before, slow. So, 6 miles? That can take a big chunk of time. And on a treadmill? Dear God, the boredom. The sheer will and number of Girl Talk albums required to stay on the machine and not get right off and go eat a slice of pizza and drink a beer are staggering.

    So, there I am, listening to my Girl Talk, but having alternating thoughts of reasons I should just stop, and thinking about all the negative things I sometimes think about –

    What is the point? I might get hit by a bus or murdered, wouldn’t I rather that happen with a full stomach, and well-rested, rather than exhausted and sweaty? I will never lose all this weight. How could i? It took years to put on. It’s not just pregnancy weight. It’s fat. Why do you drink so much beer? Oh, fun? Drinking beer is fun, but what is fun about being fat? Nothing. Remember when you thought you were fat in college? That’s a fucking laugh now, isn’t it? You couldn’t fit a pinky in those jeans today. Yeah, even your knuckles are fat. Or maybe it’s not fat. Maybe it’s the beginning of psoriatic arthritis or RA. Yeah, you are at a genetic risk for that. So really, what is the fucking point in all this exercise and eating healthy? You might be in debilitating pain and unable to run in ten years anyway. We could just get off the machine now. You have been on it for 30 minutes anyway. Someone else probably needs a turn. No one would think anything of it if you hit stop and went home.

    And so on. For about the first 2 miles of my run. And then i attempted to drag myself out of the depths of the negative self-talk by looking around at people in the gym, hoping their hot bodies would inspire me to finish another mile.

    And that’s when I saw him. The cute young guy in a wheelchair. He was with a friend, who was wearing camo pants, and not in a wheelchair. Wheelchair guy was talking to the friend as the friend lifted weights. They were doing upper body. I will not lie – Full disclosure: These men had very nice arms. I looked. I might have bordered on ogling. Do not judge me, because I know that when you are on the dreadmill, you also look around and admire the hard bodies at the gym. If you say you don’t, you are a liar.

    So, I am watching, and camo pants guy stands up, and then wheelchair guy lifts himself up out of his chair using only his upper body, and lifts himself onto the machine. He pauses, and I realize, shit, that would be a workout for me before I ever even started the weightlifting. He takes a chain from around his neck and puts it in his pocket. Dog tags.

    Dog tags.

    And I realize, with not a small amount of shame, that he’s not just a guy in a wheelchair. He’s probably a vet. He probably lost the use of his legs preserving my right to sit and be depressed on my goddamn couch.

    I had slowed to a walk at that point, had given into the negative self-talk, and convinced myself that I needed to walk, that I wasn’t able to finish that mile without a breather. And my heart swelled at the thought of this young man, pulling himself around by sheer willpower, who has every reason to be angry and bitter, and yet, he is at the gym on a Monday, on the holiday. And he is smiling and laughing.

    And here I am, thinking of all the things that I can’t do, all the reasons I can’t do them, all the obstacles I have preventing me from doing them.


    What do I know about obstacles?

    Yes, the unexamined life isn’t worth living and all that jazz. But why am I worrying myself sick over questions like “What is the point?”

    This cute boy in the wheelchair, with the killer arms. . . he isn’t worried about what he can’t do. He’s doing what he can. And he’s doing it with a fucking smile on his face.

    And I knew then, that I would finish those six miles and that every other mile I ever run, I will probably remember this young man, and what he lost, and what his loss gave to me. It gave me, among a million other things, the freedom to relish in 6 miles on the treadmill, sucking air, and knees aching. For no other reason than that, today, i can do it.

    What is the point?

    The point is not what I can’t do. The point is what I can do.

    This is Your Chance

    Sunday, December 28th, 2008

    Okay, so since i have started running, a number of people who don’t run have asked me about how I got started, how hard it is, and a few have even expressed interest in trying it. More often, though, people seem interested, but when i tell them “you could totally do this!” they say,
    “No, i could never run 13 miles, or 6 miles, or 3 miles.” Some of them say they could never run a mile.

    I understand this. For me, running is 10 percent actual effort, and about 30 percent sticking to a training plan, and 60 percent mental. The mental part consists of coaxing myself off the couch, and saying, “Okay, I just have to do three miles. I know I can at least WALK three miles, so i might as well do that. That counts.” And that is, seriously, how I get myself out there. And sometimes, I surprise myself, and it is really easy, and I run the whole distance. Other times, it is not easy, and I walk parts, but i always finish the distance. And even when I walk part of it, I never regret getting out there and doing it.

    People ask me how i ever got started. I started the way all people i know started. I started small. I started with a Couch-to-5K plan. Those are plans specifically for people who have been sitting on their ass watching too much The Hills, or playing nothing but World of Warcraft for two years straight, while drinking cases of beer, or drinking a bottle of wine a night. I know that’s what they were doing, because that’s what I was doing, too. And I still finished a half-marathon on Thanksgiving day. But i started small, and if you are looking to do something similar, you can too.

    What am i getting at? This.

    My friend Steph is a great runner. She is modest and will deny this, but she is fast and also a triathlete. Even athletes get injuries, though, and she is back at square one after an injury. She is starting a 5k plan at the very beginning; She is in the baby steps, walking stages. And she is trying to sign up recruits to do her plan with her.

    She and Natalie, at The Negative Split, were my inspiration for getting into running. And if you really want to do it, you could follow along with Steph. She has 12 people doing the plan with her, and they come from all different levels. She has injured runners, beginners, and folks who used to run but haven’t for years. They are all joining her in the plan.

    You don’t have to run with them, although i am sure they would love to have you. You could follow along with the plan and check in with her weekely. Steph is positive, inspiring, and a great coach. You could do worse than having her for a trainer.

    If you are thinking about starting running, shoot her an email. I bet you would never regret it. This is your chance.

    Update: Not sure what is up with Nat’s site. . .

    Still Chugging Along

    Friday, November 7th, 2008

    So, keeping up with my NaNoWriMo goals is definitely impacting my blogging. (Although it does not seem to have made any impact on my Facebooking.) But i am totally caught up on my word count so far, at day 6 of November. Yay me!

    Even if I weren’t to write another lick the rest of the month, the progress I have made in just six days is astounding to me. I never knew I could crank out the writing like this! It has been very fun, and very inspiring, and I am so glad i took it on.

    My running, on the other hand, is kind of slack this week. I have had the coughing, post-nasal drip thing for three weeks straight, and then last night i puked up dinner out of nowhere. Not sure what was up with that, but felt like doody this morning and have had an upset stomach all afternoon. I am not sure what the deal is with kids, but they are little Typhoid Marys, and you should not allow one in your house. Ever. Think zombies. It is horrible.

    Anyway, sickness is good for writing, not so good for the mileage. Oh well.

    Oooh, and we are going camping this weekend if all are healthy. I am very excited. I need me some nature.

    Yay Me!

    Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

    I learned how to tie an underwriter’s knot today and rewired an old lamp I found in Pop’s shed. Yay me! It’s a cool Art Deco (I think) lamp with a silver ballet dancer and a black squarish-cornered Empire State Building looking base. It’s a little beat up, but still pretty cool. Gotta get a shade for it, but then I’ll post a pic.

    Okay, it completely interfered with my run that I planned to do while kids were at school, but did I mention that I learned something new today? Best feeling.

    And now I am kinda looking at everything and wondering if I should make a lamp of it. Dog? No. Cat? Um. . . no, i guess not. Off to garage to look for more lamp objects.