Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why I Run

When I first started running, it was out of desperation.  I had delivered two darling babies within the span of 15 months, I was terribly out of shape, and I was only 22 years old.  Something had to be done.

At the time, we were living in a small apartment (with no air conditioner) in Oceanside, CA (with lots of drug dealers) and both of us were working full-time outside of the home (with little free time).  So definitely no working out in the apartment, clearly no running down the streets, and obviously it had to occur in the evenings.  Enter the treadmill at the apartment "fitness facility".  And by "fitness facility" I of course mean "three treadmills".

I would put my babies to bed at 7 p.m., kiss my husband, and hustle my apprehensive booty across the parking lot and stomp for 20 minutes on that poor machine.  It was awful.  I was terrible at it.  My poor lungs were so out of shape that my legs couldn't even get sore.  My running shoes were some generic lace-up things probably purchased from Ross Dress for Less and my attire was comprised of a message tee and some old pajama shorts.  You guys: this was before everyone in the world, particularly ME, had an iPod.  Yes, it was in fact painful.  Thanks for asking!

But just like with marriage and parenting and that perfect job you've always dreamed of having, working through that hard stuff in the beginning had to happen in order for something that was merely a necessity at first to become something that I truly enjoyed.  And eventually something I longed for.

I got better and stronger and, oh joy of joys, thinner.  Sooner than I expected, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight.  Probably because it was something just north of "pleasantly squishy", having gotten pregnant right out of beer-swilling college.  When that happened, I knew I was on to something good.  And I kept going.  Now I was running 5 days a week and learning to play tennis on Monday nights.

I felt amazing.

I got down to 120 pounds.

Now, I have no idea how much you weigh or how tall you and neither do I care nor mind.  All I am trying to say is: OHMYGOD I WEIGHED 120 POUNDS!

I had two babies.  I felt great.  Life was good.

Since then, I've thorougly enjoyed my on-again/off-again love affair with running.  Off again with another pregnancy, on again when I finally know I'm ready to feel like myself again.  The weight of my shoes laced tightly around my feet is a comfort rather than the annoyance that it once was.  I no longer have to think about things like faster turnover or relaxed shoulders or unclenched fists or, well, breathing.  It's all just there, waiting for me whenever I'm ready.

This morning I slipped on my sunglasses, tightened my iPod armband snugly around the bicep of my left arm.  Pulled my ponytail through the back of the bright red cap I found on the shelf in the hall closet.  On morning runs, I turn left out of my driveway so that the early sun peeking over the tree line throws my shadow long and dark in front of me.  I know my legs don't really look like that, but I still pretend.

Then the music starts.  Just the opening beat at first, and it comforts me.  Wraps me in the memories of a thousand miles of discipline and accomplishment.  Of the girl I still am beneath the chores and the responsibilities and the blessed drudgery of every day.

"She Was More Like A Beauty Queen From A Movie Scene
I Said Don't Mind, But What Do You Mean I Am The One
Who Will Dance On The Floor In The Round..."

Right foot, left foot.  Inhale. Exhale.  The affair is back on.

I'm back.

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  1. Well hell, now you got me wanting to run and it's like 98 degrees out!

  2. I also hate you a little for weighing 120 lbs.

  3. Have you lost your mind, skinny bones? WEIGHED. *Past tense*.

    A girl's gotta have dreams, though. I can do it again. I believe!

  4. I've been trying to get to 120 but it's just not happening. I think I like food too much and have had too many kids to get there!

  5. I think that is so neat when people can actually run. I do a good waddle. I have wanted to say I was a runner for years. Keep it up!

  6. I don't run, I borrow my 4yo nephew for an evening and play the "CHASE ME" game!

    That boy... wow he can burn the calories...

  7. You go girl!! So glad you're "back"!

  8. It's you and the road. It's always there for you. No games. Just sports.

    Totally stole that line from a movie.

  9. Think of Kermit.

    Think of Kermit waving his arms and yelling, "Yaaaaaaaay!"

    I'm sick, and have no lung capacity, but I can't wait to get back to it.

  10. I love this :) One of my personal goals this year is to start running. I'm already a converted walker, something I wouldn't even believe about myself at the beginning of the year. I love that for that time, things like the house chores and tension with my husband and stress about school don't matter. It's ME time :)Go you for getting back into it!

  11. Yes, Erin...exactly! Unless they wanna run down the road after me, they're just gonna have figure it out by themselves for 36 minutes :)

  12. Good for you! If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! Happy running!

  13. Love those long shadow-legs! So great to hear you're grooving on the running!

  14. Damn, I wish I could feel like that about it! It's such a hateful chore to me. You make me believe it can happen, tho! Not the 120 --- I haven't seen that since 7 babies ago --- just the running!

  15. I need to exercise. I scored a kickass jogging stroller for $3 and then ordered a replacement seat online. Good as new!

    Now I just need to do that J word in front of stroller.

    You're inspiring Dweej!

  16. I can so relate....except it wasn't a pregnancy that got me started, it was my Rome semester. Eesh. I still love to run though!

  17. I wish running and I liked each other more... I still try to do it but my love affair with ben and jerrys always seem sooo much more productive.

  18. Oh to be at 120 pounds again. That's a dream of mine. But alas, I do not love running...nor do I love exercise, nor anything that involves getting up off the couch. I'm not what you'd call and athletic kind of girl. My "sport" is school was horseback-riding, mainly because the horse did most of the work. I've always had a fast metabolism, thank God, but the older I get the more that metabolism slows down. Now I'm all soft and squishy, and I want my high school/college body back but without the work.

    Jeez, how freakin' lazy am I? Give your lover running my best...I won't be seeing him anytime soon, ha!

  19. I second your emotion, and will be setting my alarm for a run in the morning! And, other readers...don't focus on the number the scale says for you or for Dwija 2 babies ago, and just get out there and feel your lungs expand and your body get stronger!

  20. Yes! Listen to her^^^^!

    Please remember that I have had two additional babies and don't know if I'll ever see that number again...and I don't care! It was just the magical thing that boosted my love for running into a passion. Now we're back at love, and I'm okay with that. Love is good :)

    "No matter how slow you go, you'll always be lapping everyone on the couch." You know das right!

  21. I love this post! I am a runner too and I started for the same reason as you, wanting to get back into some semblance of my old body after having children.
    I never would have thought that I would crave a run, but that is exactly what happened over time. It's an acquired taste, like beer or coffee.
    120 pounds though! I don't think I've weighed that since fifth grade. That's incredible.

  22. Oh...you know I LOVE this post!! Running is becoming a very important part of my life and my being!! This is a great running song too! I'll have to add it to my playlist. Lately, since I've been training for my half marathon, I've been wearing my running hat a lot around the house. {in other words it seems like I spend a lot of days not getting my shower in after a run!} So my daughter asked me the other day, "mommy, why do you wear that hat all the time?" to which I replied, "because sweetheart, it keeps the hair and sun out of my eyes when I'm running." Silence. Not sure how I feel about that silence. Someday soon I'll take her for a run with me and let her experience the thrill herself. :)

    So glad you were able to get a run in this morning!



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