June 9, 2008

on a runner's high...

Yesterday at the gym I ran 3.25 miles straight. I know, right? Freaking crazy. For this girl, it's freaking crazy. I think that I've learned so much about myself through this whole I-want-to-be-a-runner escapade. Nothing truly life changing or anything, but I've learned a whole lot about myself and what I'm capable of when I truly challenge myself.

So, really, maybe it is life changing in a way.

I remember a few years ago when I first got my gym membership and decided to try the whole "gym scene", and I ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. I pretty much only used it as a rationalization for purchasing an iPod. (Which I did.) But actually going? Rarely happened. I remember the first time I tried running on the treadmill and I couldn't even keep the pace for two entire minutes without being completely winded and beet red. I wanted to punch the stupid lady next to me who had been running at break-neck speed for, apparently, the last six hours. Granted, I'd never been a work-out type of person and haven't ever been involved in any active activity aside from theatre or dance, and that had even been several years ago at that point in time. So, I sort of figured I was a lost cause, and when I did make it to the gym, I just stuck to using the elliptical or random machines that I didn't actually know how to properly use and made me feel like a goober.

It must have been within the last six months that I decided I wanted to try running. I'm not even exactly sure why, because I don't like sweating and I think running shoes are ugly as hell. (Is it just me? No?) If anything, I figured I would just stick with yoga or Pilate's something. But, no - somehow, the very idea of running seemed an appealing challenge to myself, considering that it's something I never, ever envisioned myself doing.

(When I was in fifth grade, I tried cross country. I remember getting there with my cute B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt and gray leggings and thinking I would own the track. But then I actually got out there and at one point actually wondered if running could, in fact, kill a ten-year-old because my life was, indeed, flashing before my eyes and I was sure my lungs were imploding. Since then, every time you'd mention running to me, I'd be tempted to cry out, "RUNNING IS THE DEVIL!" Or at the very least, give you the stink eye and change the subject.)

I guess that yesterday was a turning point, because as I was running along on that evil treadmill, I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm doing this. I'm actually running for 45 minutes straight. Sure, my knees are beginning to feel detached from my body, but I'M DOING THIS! HECK, YES!" I think that all too often in life I limit myself to doing things that I feel comfortable doing, or know that I will succeed at. Why DON'T I take more risks? Why DON'T I challenge myself and my body and my mind more often?

I know that to some of you this probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal. You're all, "Calm down, Nancy. It's just a treadmill. I was running 3.25 miles in third grade." But to me it truly is a big deal. Last night, as I was running, I felt so in tune with myself. And it made me want to work harder at improving myself and the type of person I want to be. It made me think of all the other things I am quite possibly capable of doing.

I'd never wanted to listen to Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman" so much in my entire life. It was that empowering.

21 comments :

  1. so, i love you. "i'm every woman"? definitely made me smile. i remember the first time i could run three miles without feeling like my lungs were going to give out, strangely enough... it wasn't that long ago. keep it up! xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. I absolutely LOVE that feeling, of just letting go and running off all the bad energy and feelings... I'm headed to the gym today after work to do just that. And 3.25 miles is a lot in my mind, too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. yay! You have got me beat, I haven't gotten to the 3 miles straight without stopping to walk yet. I recently started going a mile hard, then stopped to stretch or do weights for about ten minutes and then going back to do another mile, and continue like that for three miles. I need to go back to going straight though. Hoping to start back up on Wednesday after the anniversary

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rock on! I can't run for 15 minutes straight, much less 45. That is so awesome! Yay!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are sooooooooo amazing! Thanks for writing about the backstory to your running craziness -- this whole time, whenever you wrote about working out/running/etc i always thought you were one of those peeps that LOVED working out and such-- and I thought there was no hope for me, the girl that loathes the gym and tells people that I just wasn't meant to run/ I can't run/ I'm just bad at running, etc. You give me hope!! Maybe one day I could be a runner?? hmm... Congrats for running 3.25 miles!!! YAY for you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are the sh*t.

    Since I moved away from my gym, I'm starting to run outdoors for the first time ever in life. As if running indoors wasn't hard enough, you know. Particularly since I've not worked out in about half a year and I'm incredibly out of shape. But you're an inspiration and I'm telling you that I'm doing this so that I can feel accountable because I SHOULD be accountable because I want to be as awesome as you are and run for 45 minutes straight! That's amazing! You're The Sh*T!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The main problem that I'm having is that now that you've mentioned "I'm Every Woman" I can't stop singing that song in my head, and then I'm like, "Shit, now I'm totally gay because I know that song." Because there's like 1 (one) Whitney Houston song that is okay for a straight guy to know: "I will always love you", and that is only by default (that damn song was played so often one just couldn't avoide it).

    But then I'm like, "Shit, I know more than 1 (one) Whitney Houston song!" This revelation is followed by a complete state of shock and dissapointment in myself. I begin to doubt not only my sexuality, but my 25 year membership to the male gender club.

    Next thing you know, I'm lying on the floor of the bathroom at work, sobbing while singing "Oh I want to dance with somebody, I want to feel the heat with somebody, oooh I want to dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me."

    Oh, I know your sister.

    ReplyDelete
  8. *please subtract the "e" from the word avoid(e) in the last sentence from the first paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are my inspiration my dear:) I think that I went to the gym for like...3 weeks? I also pretty much just went so I could listen to my ipod and try to be cute and not sweaty. Anyway. You are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A friend of mine simply loves "simply me," and suggested I read some of your ramblings. I started going to the gym about a year ago..running on the evil elyptical beast and swimming(I'm a fish). It wasn't long before I was pushing myself to running 4 miles and swimming 700 yards 4 times a week. I never felt better and my husband thought I was the bionic woman. I love it. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Keep up the good work! I ran my first 5k in May, and was so proud of myself. All my friends were like, "Dude, it's only 5k."

    Maybe you need to make a Whitney running mix for the ipod?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Awesome!
    I hate running, sweating..anything of that nature.
    I do like to swim though, because I don't feel sweaty and I'd much rather be sore and not be able to walk the next day vs. sweating and turning beet red.

    ReplyDelete
  13. for me, 3.25 miles is amazing. when i was on the field hockey team (and actually in shape), i was always the last team member to get back from our two mile run. ouch. (i always liked sprinting, though..)

    ReplyDelete
  14. i feel really inspired. thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my gosh, there's no way you can grasp the effect your post just had on me... but it was the "sign"/kick in the butt I needed.

    I am SO you (well, the old you) -- I HATE HATE HATE running, but for some reason have felt compelled lately to start some kind of running regimen.

    I've been staring at my Couch Potato to 5k workout schedule for almost two weeks now... I've even downloaded the podcasts for it. But it's all just sitting there -- I think I'm secretly terrified that I'm going to completely fail at it. Then I will be pissed because I hate running and now I feel like a failure for being bad at it.

    So, thank you time a MILLION for the inspiration to just start.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You inspired me to go running tonight. Awesome.

    (I run off and on - the longest I've run is 6 miles and now that seems like a million miles away. But I KNOW I CAN DO IT. Girl power, Kerri, girl power.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. There was a time I could run a mile in 6'30". It was freshman year of HIGH SCHOOL. I was a super fit 14 year old.
    Now? I'd rather gouge out my own eyes with a rusty spork than run a mile. I like to walk, though. Maybe I'll go for a walk tonight.
    (I'm very proud/jealous of you!!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. wow - you totally are rockin' - i mean runnin'! :) i think when you are in the zone - all is right with the world for some odd reason! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. You have just completely inspire me. To get back in shape, start running, start challenging myself.. everything. So thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Don't you love the runner's high? I also am so not a runner but am always inspired to give it a try. I do enjoy it and I'm working on sticking with it now. If you haven't entered a 5km or 10km (dunno what thoes are in miles!) fun race before you totally should! The energy you get from running with thousands of people is just amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. seriously, i joined soccer thinking it was a sport i could easily participate in my girly ways. that was until i realized the amount of running you do, and you're not even actually "playing" or "kicking the ball" just awful-i-want-to-vomit-can't-breath-heaving kind of running back and forth for hours. i gave up after the first game. we could so be on the same team, if you know, we wanted a non-running soccer team.

    ReplyDelete

Thoughts? Questions? General musings? Do share!

If you are asking a question, I will respond here within the comments—so, be sure to click that handy little "notify me" box below to know when I've replied!