Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can I really do this?

“Breathe out the bad, let in the good.”  That’s what my running coach Carla says.  As I plod along I try to keep this idea at the front of my brain.  It has lots of company.  There’s the “one more step, one more step” litany, the “why do I seem to hunch to my left, stand up straight for God’s sake!” , the “am I ever going to get any faster?”, and of course the “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF FOR?????”

It’s a wonder I can run at all with all that swirling around.  I should be dizzy.  But run I do.

I’ve always wanted to be a runner, but being obese my entire adult life, I have never entertained the possibility.  I dreamed of that feeling of freedom, of being able to run forever, like I felt when I was young.  I felt like running would be the ultimate achievement.

So here I was, 36 years old, 255 lbs, mother of 3 kids, ages 11, 8, and 6 months.  I was defeated by life.  Thank goodness I went to the library that day.  There I met the most amazing group of ladies.  We all have kids (little ones at least) around the same age.  Alyssa and Kaitlyn invited me for coffee and to my surprise I said yes.  I’m normally a shy person but with the big kids back in school I was starting to go a little stir crazy.  I was craving some adult conversation. 

We went to a local coffee shop, where another mom, Carla, met up with us.  We talked kids, husbands, work, sleep (or lack thereof) all the things that get discussed whenever you put a couple of moms together.  One topic of conversation however excluded me.  They were discussing their runs the night before and an upcoming race that some of them were going to participate in.  I was fascinated but scared.  This seemed to be an important thing to them and it was something I could never do.  My own insecurities were screaming at me that these ladies wouldn’t want me around if I wasn’t  a runner, not only not a runner but a fat girl too.

A few weeks passed and every week it was the same.  We would meet for coffee after the baby’s library time and the topic of conversation would always turn to running.  Kaitlyn especially was encouraging, drawing me into the discussion.  She and Alyssa were really frank about the fact that 4 months earlier they had never run a step in their life. They had gradually worked up to the point they were at now.  They all invited me to join them next time they went for their weekly run.

I was never more nervous in my life.  I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I was a fat, out of shape blob.  The thought of running an entire minute was not even in the realm of possibility.  I was so scared in fact that I went out the day before and tried to run one minute, walk a minute and it was BRUTAL!  But for the first time in my life I didn’t just give up. 

I went the next night and Carla “ran” with me.  I put the word ran in quotes because I was very , very, very slow.  By the end of the 20 minutes (seriously only 20 minutes???!!) I was spent.  I really thought I was going to die.  Apparently you are supposed to feel like you are going to puke after a run.

I did it.  Nowhere to go from here but up :-D