Saturday, May 30, 2009

Limitations

Anyone who know me knows I am not an athlete. I'm the girl that covers her head and squeals when a stray volleyball or basketball heads in her direction. I have been known to shower fellow travelers down the main staircase at school with Diet Coke due to a poorly timed misstep. It has also been noted that I am to be put in the back of any step aerobics class in order to avoid confusion for the newbies, and on the end if possible since I have been known to fly up and over my step in my calorie-burning fervor and could take someone down with me. Once, I attended a boot camp class and when we set off for our run I went out the back door with everyone, but headed right back in the front door as we passed it, grabbed my stuff and my 6 week old baby and went home.

I have always wanted to be a runner. I have dreams about running long distances with the wind in my hair and there's not even an axe murderer chasing behind me. In the dream my legs are strong and no part of my body is flopping, jiggling or slapping together. I go for miles and miles and am sad when I have to stop. This dream has been recurring since I was a little kid and every time I have it, I wake up euphorically happy. The fittest people I know run. I envy people who say they're going out for a quick run. But my earliest memories of actual running all include episodes of hyperventilating, feelings of faint, the need to vomit and utter uncontrolled loathing for whoever it was that made me run. So, I've always said, "I'm just not a runner."

There is something about being on the back side of thirty that has every woman I know reevaluating their lives and amping up their workouts to keep up with the downhill slide our butts and boobs are on. I've always walked or practiced yoga two or three times a week, but never took it very seriously. As I was working on the final writing project of the year with my 8th graders we came across some quotations that prompted me to think about how I view myself. The first quote by Gail Sheehy says, "If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow then we aren't really living." Hmmm. I hate to admit it, but it's been a long time since I seriously considered changing much of anything in my life. The second quote by Les Brown says, "Life has no limitations except the ones we make." I realized that I had been limiting myself and that some of my old mindsets needed to change.

So about two weeks ago, I embarked on a training regimen to start running, swimming and cycling. My first goal is to be able to run a 5K. Thank goodness there are some other non-runners like me who have this same goal, so my best friend from high school got me hooked up with a gradually increasing running program complete with gadgets. I'll be honest, financial investment and gadgets are highly motivational to me. I have podcasts to accompany my run and take my mind off the feelings of exhaustion and whatever is going on with the "junk in my trunk" behind me. I have a lima bean shaped sensor in my shoe that records my run distance, pace and calories burned. I actually look forward to my next run.

I'm not going to set the marathon world on fire any time soon (unless that friction created by my running shorts creates a spark and a freak accident ensues), but I'm breaking down mental limitations I've held for a very long time. And the best part is that Brendan, my nine year old, is my training partner. Nothing, I mean nothing, is more motivational than seeing some punk kid bang out two miles, turn around and ask you, "how far have you gone?" I like to say I'm not competitive, but it's on, little man...

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

ha! my brother used to have a pair of shorts with a patch that said "i love running." my excuse is that there's no destination or short term goal. in other sports, you run at something or away from someone to get somewhere or put something somewhere. it has purpose.

anyway, speaking of change: i saw matthew collins on saturday and didn't recognize him. he's lost 143 lbs. since february 2008. talk about motivated to change!