Thursday, February 23, 2012

That One Time When I Was a Runner.


I had a fitness breakthrough last night.

Something happened that has never, ever happened to me before.

To preface, I will begin by admitting that I have become a bit of a “gym rat” over the last two years (which is, in itself, something I never thought would happen!). I am at the gym at least four days a week, usually more. I am one of those people who feels really guilty if I don’t get my workout in after work. I love endorphins, and I love how I feel when I get done with a really hard workout. It all sounds so cliché and silly, but it really is true. I love the gym. I love exercise. I love fitness.

It is true, what they say about it being imperative to find a workout style that works for you. I am not good at going to the gym and leading myself around the weights, or sitting on a stationary bike. I have to do something that involves interacting with people, and I have to do something that keeps me entertained. Enter fitness classes. They have changed everything for me. I love them. I go to abs classes, weightlifting classes, yoga classes – you name it. I love them. And those classes are what have kept me going to the gym for the last two years. They give me a schedule: for example, Monday from 5:30-6:30 PM is weightlifting. It’s on my calendar. It’s on my to-do list. That way, I don’t get out of it in my head by saying I’ll do it later, or another time. I can’t. Class is at XX time, and so I will be there. At least four days a week, that is true. There I am. Pounding it out and loving it. Call me crazy, but it just makes me happy.

So anyway. The breakthrough!

My sister and I have signed up to run an 8k in DC in March. We’ve done a couple of 5ks, but an 8k is more than either of us have ever done in a race. So we’ve been training for it, working our way around my neighborhood here and there (and by that I mean we’ve gone out running four or five times, for a few miles each time). Each time, I nearly die, and by the end of a couple miles, I’m out of breath and in pain and hating every step. I hate running. My body struggles through every minute of it, even though I hold my arms right and concentrate on my breathing and have good shoes. It doesn’t matter. It’s always hard.

But not last night. And that, right there, is the gigantic “A HA!” moment that I had. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but last night I did it. Nat came over and we headed out down a different street than we usually go, and it didn’t feel horrible. We went for four or five minutes, and I wasn’t dying. Actually, we both felt great – she and I commented at almost the same time that it felt like we could go forever. And so we did. We just ran, and ran, and kept pace with each other, and I never got a cramp. My shins never hurt. (My knee did start to, eventually, but not enough to bother me.) This has literally never, ever happened. But last night it did. Last night I felt like a real runner.

We called it quits around three miles, because it was getting too dark and neither of us had our phones or anything reflective on, so we didn’t feel quite as safe anymore (disclaimer – I live in a great neighborhood, that is very safe and quiet and great. However, I’m also realistic. Shit happens. Everywhere. Especially to young girls at night. So there ya go.) We both felt like we could have gone on much longer though. I wasn’t ready to stop!

I know that three miles doesn’t sound like much. To many people, it’s nothing. But to me, it’s a huge milestone. To me, I did something I’ve never done before. To me, it was a breakthrough.

I put on my running shoes.
I ran three consecutive miles, never stopping.
I never lost my breath.
I didn’t hate every minute.
I may be turning into an amateur runner after all.
There’s an 8k with my name on it in just a few weeks!

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