July 13, 2015

My first run, part 2

I get emails every so often from readers who say they've gone back to the beginning and read my blog from the start. That always floors me - that people are interested in my experiences and my journey, that they want to hear all of my stories. To be honest, I haven't gone back and re-read most of my old posts. Every now and then, I start looking for a post where I'm sure I've already discussed X or Y, and I fall into a rabbit hole and read maybe three or four. That's about my limit ... before the tears start.

It's hard to explain how emotional losing the weight was the first time. I believed in myself just enough to get through each day at a time, and every night, after my workout and dinner but before bed, I would sit at my desk and draft a blog post for the next morning, working through whatever emotional issue was at the front of my mind that day. I talked about my childhood, my past relationships, my concerns about what would happen if I ever made it to my goal weight. There really were few stones left unturned, and most nights, pounding away on the keyboard, my face would be streaked with tears as I tried so hard to work through the issues I'd buried under hundreds of extra pounds.

And I think now, I am almost afraid to re-read them, because I don't know if I can stomach all the emotions. Binge watching TV? I'm great at that. But consuming post after post of heavy subjects? I already know I'd be a mess. There are lessons to be learned in my history, and I want to retrace those steps and review for future reference. But I can't do it all at once.

Sometimes, I remember old posts - or at least, I remember the events, and my mind subconsciously makes the connection to what I wrote. Today was like that. I went to the gym with my running shoes laced, my water bottle full, and a Couch to 5K app downloaded on my phone. I got on the treadmill and was on my way.

I forgot that Week 1, Day 1 is a lot of walking. 5 minute walk to warm up, then alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, then a 5 minute cool down. I did the warm up/cool down at 2.5 mph (24:00/mi), the running at 4.5 mph (13:20/mi), and the walking at 3 mph (20:00 mph).

During the running parts, I thought about my first half marathon - I remember certain sections of it so vividly ... the 5K point where my pre-planned playlist started to increase in intensity ... the 6.5 mile point, running along the beach ... uphill at 8 miles, then downhill at 10 ... and clearest of all, seeing the 13 mile marker. It was at the top of a very small hill, and the last 0.1 mi of the race was around a corner. I knew I would cry at the end of the race, but hadn't imagined it would start before the finish line. Seeing the 13 mile marker, it finally hit me that I did it - I had ran the race without stopping, and I was going to come in way under my expected time. And I was flooded with memories of not having the energy to get off my couch, and then making the decision to live better, and then every milestone of the training process. And I just bawled.

I thought about that last 0.1 during the running intervals, and marveled at how quickly the love of running came back to me. It was sixty seconds at a time, but it felt like coming home to somewhere comfortable and familiar. I am a runner - again, and always.

During the walking intervals, my mind wandered to the blog, and to the post I remembered writing after W1D1 the first time around. I remembered how I ran it (on a track, with a stopwatch and an index card so I'd know when to switch to running). I remembered that I had to slow myself down and contain my excitement at being able to move like that. And I remembered that I loved it - that as much as I moved, it moved me. It was one of those moments in my life where I knew something big had happened and I wasn't going to be the same after.

I came home, did a quick search, and found the post. It's just as I remembered it, but - more.
Yesterday, I finally went down to the gym at the university where I work. I had been putting off registering since I had been walking around my neighborhood and I wanted to enjoy the nice weather before the Chicago winter decides to roll in, but since I was starting the Couch-to-5k program, I wanted somewhere level and even to work on. Secretly, I also just wanted to be off the street so no one could make me feel bad. It's hard enough when I'm walking and people yell things from their cars (it happens more than I'd like to admit), but if it happened during this, a major step that I'm taking? I can't risk letting some jerk's baseless remarks get me down and make me lose my focus.
I can't believe I wrote that. I mean, I can - I remember so many of the nasty things people have yelled at me, and it happened so often in Chicago. But ... especially given my struggles lately, and as recently as this week, with my friend's odd comment about my shoes ... it's remarkable how life is echoing.

I finished the workout today and felt empowered. Like everything was possible again and that I was unstoppable. It felt like the motivation from the first time around - strong, unshakable, tenacious. I am so, so happy to be running again, even just in sixty second intervals, because each step is a step closer to health, and to the emotions and feelings of success and accomplishment I experienced when racing.

8 comments:

LynnieG said...

Well Done!

Jill Walker said...

Tears. Many of them. I can so identify with this post, it's unbelievable. And yes...once a runner, always a runner. It's just that sometimes...just sometimes...we need to remind ourselves of that fact. :)

Christina @ Love Yourself Healthy said...

You are amazing! I'm so happy for you, for rediscovering your love of running.

AlisonMK said...

You move ME, Mary - so happy for you!

Jennie Palluzzi said...

You are awesome. I am getting back into running now, and I think of you often when I think I can't do it, and how you motivate me to just put one foot in front of the other and run. We can do it!!

Amanda said...

I'm so happy and proud for you! When I read that comment on your last post about the shoes, it resonated with me so much because I know how odd little (meant to be harmless) comments like that can stay with you...and totally throw you off.

Way to go by signing up for the race and that your starting C25K again! You can do it! :D

Rachel Block Smith said...

Congrats on getting back on the treadmill! I can relate to not wanting to read too many old posts at once. It makes me frustrated and angry to look back and see how well I was doing with my eating and exercise at several points in time. Something dragged me off the wagon more than once, so I've had to start over. Again.

Rae said...

Awesome! Inspirational through the ups and downs.