This picture popped up in my Facebook memories today. That was me, 3 years ago actually, accepting the award for First Place in my age group at the BV Memorial 5k +1 run. First place and a trophy for running was something I never, ever, not even in a million years, would have imagined my self capable of 4 years prior to that. Before I started, I never could have imagined myself running around the block, much less winning a category at a race!
I was firmly in the “I don’t run unless chased by something big and scary” camp for so many years I can’t count them. I never played sports in school and when I did I ended up hurt. I was incredibly uncoordinated as a child and I had asthma to boot so I was always more interested in the library than any sports field. Unfortunately, I also liked to eat, a lot. I’ve mentioned my love affair with cupcakes on here before. That’s a lifelong obsession, as are cheeseburgers. Right before I turned 37, I decided I need to do something different because I sure as heck wasn’t going to give up eating!
A lot has happened since that first run (and I use the term VERY loosely) I took so many years ago. I’ve had a lot of ups and a lot of accomplishments and yes, there have been downs. As with most things, you can’t be on top of your game forever. I’ve had moments of injuries and illness and periods of “I just don’t wanna” that have kept me off the roads.
I found myself deep in one of those over the past few months. We’ve got a lot going on with the move and life in general and it was easy to tell myself I didn’t have time. It was easy to think about things that were more important that needed to get done. It was easy to just crash on the couch during any free time I did have. It’s always easier not to do something. Especially when you know it’s going to hurt.
I remember how hard it was the first time. I remember how much I wheezed and struggled just to run short intervals after a lifetime of being unathletic. I remember thinking I would probably drop dead after somehow making it to a mile. I remember the days of every muscle in my body aching and looking at the stairs to my bedroom and shower like they might as well have been the Empire State Building.
I also remember the amazement I felt the first time I ran that mile without stopping. I remember getting to the point where I felt excitement instead of trepidation at the thought of a run. I remember the exhilaration of completing the Couch to 5k program and deciding to push myself to the 10k, just to see if I could. I remember the amazement at realizing my unathletic body was capable of so much more than I gave it credit for.
I remember all of those things and that’s why I started the Couch to 5k program again last week. I’ve been sedentary for too long now and I know if left to my own devices, I’ll hurt myself trying to jump back into what I remember being able to do once upon a time. So, now I’ve got the structure of the program that got me started initially to get me back on the road. It’s not as hard as it was the first time, but it’s not easy either.
I know I’ll get back to where I was eventually; although, I doubt I’ll ever run an ultra again. Hopefully along the way I’ll get rid of some stress. I haven’t been the happiest of individuals lately and I have been taking it out on my family. I hope that by exhausting myself a little I can take some of the pressure off them. I’m much nicer when I tired from exercise than when I’m just tired.
What about you? Do you feel better after physical activity? Do you do anything now that your younger self avoided like the plague? I think taking time for yourself is really important, but sometimes we lose sight of that. I hope you have the opportunity to do something just for you today.