On my way to 13.1
Dragging myself out of bed and into my running shoes is quite the arduous task. Not only am I still in recovery mode from Holiday Glutton-Fest 2009, but the rain outside does nothing more to motivate me to pump my arms and move my legs. I recently ended my gym membership to save money, and the treadmill in my apartment's gym conveniently broke at the same time. Nonetheless, I have made a commitment to myself that I cannot break: I will run the Tacoma City Half Marathon on May 2, 2010. And that's just not going to happen if I let a little precipitation and some (okay. lots) of last year's cookies stand in my way.
Slowly but surely, I've been trying to get back into the shape I was before the pumpkin pie, the peppermint bark and eggnog got in the way. This is week two, and I'm definitely sore after every workout. I've been annoying the hell out of my neighbors below me, jumping around to Jillian Michaels and Jackie Warner workout DVDs. My neighbor pounds on her ceiling in a vain effort to get me to stop, but I'm too vindictive to give into her needs. I have a six-pack and toned legs to work on, lady. I don't hear you doing anything about your cankles!
But nothing gets my body more fatigued than trying to run again. Where I used to run five and six miles as my standard run, two miles suddenly feels like eight, three miles, like fifteen. But I have to do this. I deserve to do this for myself.
So this morning, there I was at Greenlake with the rest of the die-hard January runners, trying to become one of them again, with my hot pink lululemon hoodie and neon green headphones. My arms started moving, and my legs followed. "Here I go. I have to run six miles before I can get back in my car and drive away," I think to myself. If I don't give myself ultimatums like this, I will never get it done. Running is very much a mental effort for me. I have to threaten myself to motivate myself, which is why Jillian Micheals is so effective. Working out to her DVDs is like having Hitler stand over you while you do push-ups. You don't stop for anything. And that's when she's inside the TV. I can't imagine what it would be like to workout with her in person on the Biggest Loser.
Greenlake is also a great backdrop for motivation. Not only do you have other fit people running around the lake with you, but there is some great people and animal watching to be had there too. I see all kinds of cute dogs that I dream of dog-napping, interesting people, stinky people, and also very friendly people.
Just today, I saw a man mediating on the side of the trail. How he could relax with barking dogs and kids everywhere was beyond me. I also had a really smelly guy run by me. He had a cloud of severe B.O. that followed several feet behind him. I started to dry-heave while running, which gave me a side ache because it messed up my breathing. But I worked through it. And finally, there was this one man that I used to see all the time in the summer and he just walked around smiling and waving at everyone. Some would find him odd, or even label him crazy. But I saw him again today, and found him to be quite motivating. I smiled back and pretended he was cheering me on. I started running faster.
I also try to guess people's personalities based on the dogs they're walking. The guy with the poodle has trust issues. The girl with the chihuahua has a low IQ. The guy with the mop dog is a divorcee who joined Barnum and Bailey. The girl with the pug will soon be dog-less because I will be stealing it from her. It just keeps getting better.
On the second loop around, I start counting people I had seen the first time I made the loop: the odd, interesting, funny, and unfortunately stinky souls. Before I know it, I've completed my six-mile run. The people, the dogs, and my music are all very nice distractions to the fact that I'm working my body hard. And afterward, I actually felt really good. It's my favorite way to workout. It's like I'm tricking myself.
So while the lady below me complains because I'm working off my love-handles and she is still wallowing on the couch with her FUPA and pork rinds, I will continue working hard to run the 13.1 miles in May.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but running prevents cankles and FUPAs.