Cue thoughtful, borderline self-important post.
Well, it is a lot of things. Sure, it’s exercise, and it is a “thing” to do, but it’s more than that too.
It’s all about the schwag.
The surest way to get me involved in something is to let me buy a whole bunch of things for it. Shopping and getting new stuff = I get excited. I hate to let perfectly good, new, matching running clothes go to waste in my dresser. So, remember when I said that I was probably going to like running because it demanded very little? That is probably true. But, see, I’ve met me. And a new hobby for me required buying all the things. All the possibly required things. Like what?, you ask. Well, I can answer that (Steve don’t read this part. It involves me spending a lot of money).
Most of my running clothes come from Target. That’s because most of my life comes from Target, but also because I’ve always been a fan of their workout wear. It is well made and very functional, inexpensive, and looks good. So, to date, I’ve probably acquired: 3 pairs of running tights, 6 tanks, 3 sleeved tops/pullovers, and 6 sports bras. My other favorite store for everything/this is TJ Maxx, where I’ve managed to pick up a great pair of Nike running shoes (…the ones actually recommended for my feet!), excellent Saucony running socks, and a tights/pullover “set” (they just happen to match, they are not Garanimals) of Nike microfleece-lined cold weather gear. I bought some armband thing for my iPhone and head phones that cover the ear and go behind my head. I even bought little clip-on flashing red lights for running at night (I run on the road in a well-traveled area where people just happen to be awful drivers).
What’s still on my list? A vest of some sort, and a very lightweight rain jacket. And as a gift to myself when I finally do finish this program, a new pair of running shoes. I’ll even go to a fancy running store and get fitted. What. <—big deal over here.
If I keep things all pre-outfitted in my workout clothes drawer, I have even less of an excuse to not run. The outfit is there, I have to run. Sometimes, I wear my “diamond” tennis bracelet when I run (…I’ve been wearing it all day, most likely) so I can feel like a rich don’t-have-to-work-yet-I-went-to-an-Ivy mom who gets to work out during the day, between pilates and tennis.
It’s all in my head.
I keep asking myself why I haven’t quit yet. Defeatist and pessimistic, sure, but that’s me. I’m amazed that I haven’t quit yet. I mean, hell, I stopped for two weeks and I had myself convinced that I would end up quitting then. I should be clear—I didn’t want to quit, and I had no intention of quitting, but I was sure I would quit. I’m my own worst enemy, for real. I’m the only jerk boo-ing herself on.
But it’s not always like that. When I’m out there, I am a huge dork and I cheer myself on. Sometimes, it’s out loud. Sometimes it’s just a little fist pump or it’s the song doing the cheering. And I am all pumped up when I’m done. Is this that “runner’s high” you always hear about? Or is it just, ya know, the natural side effect of the opposite of sitting on my ass? I do not know. Hell, sometimes, I hit that 2:30pm point in my workday when I realize I only have an hour and half left…and I get excited to run? What the hell? That’s so not me. Well, I should say, I guess that is not who I am anymore. I don’t know. That seems awfully philosophical for something that I haven’t finished yet.
It actually dawned on me that half the battle here is mental. Um, duh. Steve and I took the dogs to the park one day, and I ran while they made dog friends. It was an excellent run. I revisited my last pretty unsuccessful run that I ran right before we left for our trip (…right before I took two weeks off). I kicked that run’s ass, and I was proud of myself. While we were driving out of the park, I parted the dogs’ heads so I could see Steve and I said something like “it’s all mental, huh?” He looked puzzled, so I continued. “Running. It’s, like, all mental, right? That’s not weird, right?” And he sort of chuckled and agreed, as if I had just revealed to him a recent discovery that the sky is blue, grass is green, and everybody poops (NB: I do not, that is gross). I explained to him that my block—my wall—comes when I get bored, or when I stop thinking that I can do it, not when my calves ache or my breath is short, or sweat is stinging my eyes. He said “….yeah.” Like, duh. That’s apparently the allure of this running thing, I guess. It’s a big fricken Sudoku puzzle that burns calories.
So what gets me through one of the [right now, embarrassingly short] runs? Honestly, I zone out. I’m apparently not one of these deep thinking runners, solving world hunger and writing poetry. My brain is basically given permission to change channels near constantly, flitting from Jennifer Aniston’s engagement to rehashing other peoples’ bad driving moves on my commute. I would be lying to you if I said that I didn’t occasionally imagine a skinnier Kelly in some excellent outfit that simply does not dream of coming in a size 14 … you know, just to keep myself motivated. Also, I’ve noticed that my evening runs—always before I eat—occasionally end with me thinking about what I would like to eat. The other day, it was a big ole’ platter of oysters. Yes.
It’s not over.
Let’s be clear. I am running like 8 minutes at a time at the most right now. A runner, I am not. I have a long way to go (…3.1mi to be precise). But I’ll get there. I’ll look fabulous in my running outfits/jewelry and I’ll have a puzzled look on my face, but I’ll get there.