I have been athletic most of my life. As a child, my sisters and I were always running around outside or riding our bikes around the neighborhood, even organizing and participating in regular “Bike Rodeos” with the other kids. As a young girl, I was in gymnastics and Mary Lou Retton was my idol. (I miss that innocence. Imagine my utter disappointment and the intensity of my broken heart to discover she had grown up to become – a Republican. Gah! Also: what a cheesy website! But still an awesome athlete.) Instead of gossiping with the girls at recess, I could be found on the football field with the boys. I had the best spiral of the bunch.
Later, in junior high, I discovered volleyball and have been hooked ever since. I still join the city league to play. I tried playing basketball but quickly discovered I couldn’t breathe and dribble at the same time. To this day, I vehemently dislike the game. (Especially men’s pro basketball. Too. Many. Egos. Also: Kobe Bryant should be in jail. Also, also: Except women’s college ball. That is still good, fundamental basketball.)
However, running has never come naturally to me, and it isn’t something I’ve ever done regularly. I tried running track in junior and high school. My time in the 100 meter dash was always a couple of seconds too slow to secure a spot in the event. The coaches always had me run the 400 meter dash and I always wanted TO DIE. Is there any worse race? Geez.
So, after three seasons I learned to hate running.
My best friend, JelBel, started running and training in earnest a couple of years ago. She completed her first half-marathon about a year ago. The determination, dedication and commitment she showed while training was so very inspirational. She beamed with self-confidence and was so strong. She looked good, inside and out. Truly, running had helped her connect with and care for her well being. I was—and still am—so very proud of her. I saw her taking care of herself and realized that I, too, deserve such good care.
A few months ago I finally had enough. Enough with the gaining weight. Enough with feeling uncomfortable in my own body. Enough with treating myself like I wasn’t worth taking care of.
I started running. It was very slow going, at first. (At first! Ha! It is still slow going.) Inspired and guided by many female bloggers, including Jonniker, Swistle, Tessie, and Erin (and others – sorry if I forgot to link to you!), I started my own modified Couch-to-5K program. It took me a month to build up to the actual starting point of the program, I was (am) so out of shape.
Finally, I go to the point where I could run a mile (while intermittently walking, of course)! I was so proud! I felt so much better. Just that little amount of exercise improved my spirits and made my body feel stronger, more able. Even if my progress was humble, it was thrilling nonetheless.
Then I was hit with shin splints, and all progress has been derailed.
I was really proud of myself, though. Instead of freaking out, or getting all melodramatic and shit and proclaiming I would never be able to run, I purposefully decided to just start over. Just let go and start over. Start running one lap, walking one lap, for ten minutes for one week. And increase from there.
It would be okay. It was all so very Zen-like.
Rarely do I exercise such presence of mind.
Since then, my knees keep hinting that they are going to organize and stage a noisy, rowdy protest without a permit if I don’t stop forcing them to work. I completely rolled both ankles while vacuuming (one narrow hallway, one pair of Dansko clogs, one very tangled cord, and one ridiculously terrified, running Buster equaled disaster) and they are still achy and swollen at night, and now a muscle on the outside of my right calf is really, really sore for reasons I cannot explain. WTF?!?!
Needless to say, last night’s “run” did not go well. I didn’t even make it 10 minutes before my entire right leg burned from being tensed the entire run. (Stupid calf muscle.)
I am starting to feel melodramatic and think I may not ever be able to run.
Not only that, I am wondering what I can do to get fit, dammit. Two nights of 45 minutes of volleyball for two months a year is not going to cut it. I need to improve my fitness. I am not healthy right now and I need to commit to getting into and staying in shape. So much research simply confirms, no matter what way you slice it, that physical activity is the single best thing you can for your health. I need to quit sitting on my ass, people.
Swim? I can swim my little, liberal, bleeding heart out and not advance three inches in the water. No lie. This example is not being exaggerated due to my melodramatic state. Really. I swear. I hate the stupid cardio machines. I feel so … hamster-like.
I wonder if running on the treadmill (SCARY!) would be better than running on the track? The sloped corners always feel awkward and kind of hurt me.
I am starting to feel all tragic and defeated. Melodrama, don’t resist my warm, strong embrace.