Begin At The Beginning

In trying to become a runner, I’m using The Starting Line as a guide. After a couple of months, I’m still somewhere between steps 1 and 2. And that’s okay.

Whether it’s this plan, one you get from a friend, or one from a personal trainer, it’s important to remember that these are guides. Our bodies are all unique, and it’s up to us to know our true limitations, and not what we either want them to be, or what we convince ourselves that they are.

At the beginning of the year, I’d have told you my limitation was pretty much a trip to the grocery store. By the time I walked all the way around the store and then carried the groceries up to the second floor, I was too exhausted to do anything else for the rest of the day. Or, you know, week. I know now that this was a false limitation. I felt tired, therefore that must be all that I can do. I know now that a little bit more each day beyond what I think I can do is what helps me improve. (For what it’s worth, I’ve improved to the point where I admit that I giggled a little when my husband complained about walking “all the way back” to the other side of the store for something, and offered to go get it for him. Before, I had him fetching things for me all the time.)

I’ve also learned that there are limits, and my body will tell me when I hit them. I know, for example, that if I try to do a mile when I have a severe sinus infection, I will pass out. But my mind says, “Skip the workout completely, you’re too sick.” My body knows that’s a false limitation. I can’t do a mile, but I can do a half mile, or lift, or cycle so that I’m already sitting down if I get dizzy. I can work out at home so that if I do feel faint, I can stop and rest without being in anyone’s way (except the cats, but I’m always in their way).

One of the cats, looking reproachfully at me because I'm in his way.

Cheese looking at me reproachfully because I’m in his way.

One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Bach’s Illusions:

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.

There are enough other people arguing for your limitations already, enough people telling you that you can’t or you’re not good enough or you won’t make it. There are enough other people telling you that you’re not doing enough, that you need to push yourself harder. You can ignore all of that. It’s harder to ignore it when you’re saying it to yourself. Just remind yourself that your limitations are exactly that: YOURS. Only you know what you’re truly capable of, and only you can decide what you’re going to be capable of  a month from now, or a year from now, or five years from now. And if your pace is a little slower than some, so what? It’s your pace, and at least you’re going somewhere.

Declaring Independence From Old Habits

Got stuck working on Independence Day. I don’t mind so much, since my family celebrated over the weekend, but I felt bad for my coworkers. So I ordered this for them:IMG_6469_2

While I ate this:

600180_10151749688583767_1738799761_n

I was a bit bummed, but really? Mine looks way more appetizing. And I didn’t fall asleep after eating it (my usual reaction to pizza). I’ve been told that I eat so much salad, I’m going to “turn into a rabbit”. What? Tiny, adorable, and able to move really fast? I can live with that.

I Actually DO Like Running!

I stayed after work today to walk a few laps around the parking lot. I was maintaining a very (VERY) brisk pace, and realized that if I were moving any faster, I’d be running… so, with no bright lights and no one to see me even if there were, that’s what I did. I only lasted about thirty seconds, and my legs felt like they were burning, and I wanted to just STOP completely… instead, I dropped back down to a walk, and kept going.

When I got to the same spot on the next lap, I ran again. And it hurt again, and I only lasted about forty-five seconds. And then again on the next lap. And the next.

On my final lap, I got to the same spot, and tried again. And it didn’t hurt. In fact, it was kind of awesome. I had to slow back to a walk when I hit the part of the lot where there are no lights (because there might be potholes, or twigs, or raccoons to trip over, and that would suck).

The terror that stalks the night behind our building.

The terror that lurks in the shadows.

I have to admit, after thinking about it and talking about it and investing money in it, I was worried I would still hate running, and that I had certain expectations that weren’t going to be met. Nope. I love this. I didn’t love it the first or second or fifth time, but I love knowing that I can do this.

Next time, I’m trying for full laps.