Quote of the Week

"We Must be Willing to Give Up the Life We Have Planned, So As to Have the Life that is Waiting for Us."
-Joseph Campbell
Week of Aug 12, 2013

Friday, August 20, 2010

Couch to 5Kick My Ass

I'm not a quitter.
I'm not a "can't".
I'm not a cryer.

Yet a few days ago I cried when I completed the first full workout in my "Couch to 5K" program. Happy tears. Tears of disbelief.

Today I cried again at the end of my workout. Because I didn't finish it. Because it's not coming easy. Because there's no instant gratification. No instant pay off. I've been working out pretty consistently for a week now - compared to practically nothing before. And this morning I weighed MORE. And this morning I couldn't finish two runs. And because this is a lonely process.

As I was dejectedly walking the "cool down" - or as I call it "the only way to get home because no one is going to come pick your sorry ass up" - I felt sorry for myself. I groused over that this was just the "way it was going to be." Life had two courses:

Course One: the course I believed I was on: Career, ladder climber, see how far I could go, no kids, and excellent physical shape. I used to run for FUN. I used to TEACH aerobics and gymnastics and constantly be moving. Catch: Lonely. Only a career to show for your life.

Course Two: Meet someone. Settle down. Have kids. Pick one city and call it home. Pick one job and do whatever you have to do to make it work. Have something to show for your life, and a core group around you. Catch: Be overweight/out of shape, sedentary and have non-stop stress that kicks into higher gear just THINKING about work. (And stress is known to cause weight gain.)

Now that my heart is no longer pounding in my ears, and I've caught my breath and wiped my stupid tears ... and feel sweat still dripping off my back, I know those are the thoughts of a pouting baby. An angry pouting baby who was ready to quit.

Let's be clear. I'm still ready to quit. It's easy to find excuses. I counted on my husband for support, and enjoyed when he ran with me. But last night - when I asked him twice about running and he didn't want to, and I suggested I'd run by myself, then his brain kicked into gear and he insisted on running. Screw you. I didn't run. Mostly because I was mad and didn't want to be around he-who-is-so-stupid-he-doesn't-know-the-answer-is-ALWAYS-yes-if-to-asked-to-run!! And mostly because that anger and annoyance gave me an "out."

But that's another thing. It's not about him. It's not about kids, who I used as "I can't do anything, I've got kids at home." It's not about time. I'm home now in the mornings. With time. It's not about being "too tired." I'm getting to bed at a reasonable time. There are no excuses. None that make any sense.

It's about me. And it has to be about me. For me. I am responsible for my own self. And right now, 80% of my 'self' wants to quit. 20% is tired of being the lone voice of GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Quitting is easy. It provides instant gratification, no pain, and less sweat.

I remember being probably about 8 or 10 and climbing one of the tallest mountains in New York with my dad. It's an all day climb with steep terrain. It's hard on adults, much less kids. At one point my dad saw me huffing and puffing and asked if we should turn back. I told him we had made it halfway, and there's no way I wanted to go back now. That used to be me: 100%.
Now, as I mentioned, that drive in me is only at 20% - but fighting to make a comeback.

Never quit.

So, I'm going to channel my anger and frustration and keep trying. No - doing.

I'm going to do it.
There will probably be more tears, and more "quitting" points.
But I'm going to do it.

For me.

COUNTDOWN TO 5K: 57 days.


Lisa said...

You inspire me.

cindy said...

Hey Kelly

I know we haven't gotten much of a chance to get to know each other, but I wanted to tell you how proud of you I am!

There was so much about this blog I could identify with. The loneliness of setting out on a mission to get back your health. The struggle to find the motivation. Working like crazy only to find a bigger number on the scale. I have lived each of those moments. I know they are all ahead of me again after the baby comes.

I believe, your Couch to 5K mission is one of the toughest things for any mother, wife, and working gal to do. We just aren't hard wired to put ourselves first when so many are counting on us. I also know that it will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

I started on similar mission three years ago. I was raising Xavier alone, trying to make a name for myself at McCann, and the sole income for our family. That was when I was informed that the Army expected me to spend a week at Boot Camp. I would have to participate in all three stages of camp and successfully complete the Army PT test. Even worse, was the thought of 25 colleagues watching me make a fool of myself. That was more than this self-proclaimed tough girl could handle.

I wasn't in any condition to run 1/4 mile, much less 2 carrying a 16lb rifle. I stepped on the scale the next day to find that I weighed 5lbs more than the day I delivered Xavier. 5 weeks later I barely survived Boot Camp. I found an athlete inside me, at Ft Jackson, that I had denied my whole life.

I spent the next 18 months on a quest. I was proving to myself and everyone else I could do it. I wanted to set an example for Xavier. I wanted to find the balance between the two lives you describe. There were lots of lonely mornings when the alarm when off at 5am. I stumbled more than once. It was hard to get up and go for a run on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. It was cold and I couldn't ignore what was in my head. Kevin came into my life at the end of that quest.

I can tell you now, I wouldn't have survived losing my job without your brother and the gym. I learned that the gym was the place I could face my anger and bitterness head on. The frustration made me push harder. It all kept me driving on. The runs I had to force myself on were the ones where I learned the most.

My current goal is the Chicago Marathon next October. Once the baby arrives, I will be a few states away, running with you every day. If you hit a wall or you need someone to talk you out the door, call me. I'm happy to listen and cheer you on. You aren't in this alone.

The little girl who climbed that NY mountain is inside you. She has been patiently waiting, all these years, for you to let her out. She loves the way the wind feels on her face. She doesn't notice the burning in her legs and she doesn't even consider the prospect of not finishing. She isn't concerned with the ache in her back the next day.

You can do this! I'm always here to help anyway I can. Please keep me posted on your progress. Let me know how I can help. One of my favorite sayings is, "The first and last miles are all about determination and desire. Everything in between is pace and good shoes".

Take care!