Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Chubby Girl's Thoughts On Running

Let's be clear about two things:
  1. Running is not a weight loss tactic for me. If, by chance, I shed a few pounds then I'll count it as a bonus but it is not my goal. I run because I have to take medicine that makes me feel like crap. It makes me dizzy, it makes me more tired than I can ever remember being (even in the early weeks of new parenthood), and for some reason it makes my joint pain flare up. Last year when I embarked upon a semi-commitment to getting in better shape, I found that running alleviated almost all of those side effects - the dizziness was gone, my joint pain flare ups were few and far between, and the fatigue was still there but not nearly as bad. Having gotten out of that routine, they've all started creeping back in. I can handle the dizziness but the fatigue hits me as soon as I wake up (then hit snooze) and the joint pain just flat out sucks.
  2. That title is not meant to garner comments such as "OMG you're not fat!" or anything of that nature. I do know that I'm not huge but I also know that I'm not a small girl. I am overweight BUT I'm also perfectly fine with that. I'm comfortable. I'm happy. And I like the person who is looking back at me when I stand in front of a mirror. I've been through a lot and come out stronger in the end so I'm not about to let a few extra pounds make me crazy. 
So, running.

It sucks.

I could pretty much end this post right there. It doesn't put me in a good mood (though I'm told it should). If I recorded my runs and played them back for you, you'd hear me telling myself - out loud - "I can do this...I can do this" but more often it's "I'm going to die...I'm going to die...right here...on the side of the one will find me...until it's too late". I really do talk to myself. Usually when I leave the house Husband tells me not to over do it. I tell him I won't and then I chuckle to myself. Not because his concern is funny but because I'm not an athletic person and so I always over do it when I run. A half mile is over doing it for me. Running - period - is over doing it for me. But when I get home - and the pain in my lower legs recedes - I really feel great. If it wasn't for the after I'm pretty sure I'd never run again (unless my life depended on it).

The day after Memorial Day, I joined a running challenge. The challenge itself started on Memorial Day but I needed a day to consider it. I'm not sure what made me do it. The challenge was to run at least one mile every day starting on Memorial Day and ending on July 4th. It's just a mile, right? That's what I think I was thinking. One mile...but in the summer in NC...and I'm not the biggest fan of the NC summer heat. After day two or three of the challenge, I knew I was going to quit. And then I didn't. I didn't run every day and on the days that I did run, sometimes I didn't do much more than a mile. But I finished the challenge having recorded 37 miles in that time period and I have to say, I'm pretty damn proud of that. 
The green dots are days I ran, the red are days I didn't (or
didn't do a live record so it didn't count).
It was a personal challenge rather than an actual competition with the other participants. The top person ended with over 800 miles more than I had (and I'm not exaggerating). So I really just wanted to see if I could do it. It's really helped get me back into running and working out at a time when I really needed a kick in the butt. I realize it's probably not much...but for someone like me (who has never liked to participate in sports or anything remotely similar to that) its kind of a big deal. And, although it's not helping my medicine's side effects as quickly as I'd hoped, I do feel a whole lot better than I did a few weeks ago.

What I've learned:
  • A mile is way longer in reality than it is in your head. Especially when it's 90 degrees outside, sunny, and no breeze is blowing.
  • Running actually works for me. I'm not a go-to-the-gym type of person. I don't hate gyms but I don't want to go somewhere to work out. I like running around my neighborhood and/or up and down our road. But unless it's to a local park for a walk or run, I'm not likely to drive somewhere just to work out.
  • Walking counted in my challenge so there were a few days that I had to do that because my legs hurt too bad to run. Also, I can really haul ass when I'm out for a walk.
  • While exercising isn't super fun...dieting is awful. And I'm a terrible terrible person when I'm on a diet. Over the past few years I've changed the way I eat and cook in small ways, it's a process for me because I refuse to diet now. So no drastic changes came with this running challenge. But even with that and not setting out to really lose weight, I'm noticing some small changes in my shape (that might not be obvious to anyone but me).
  • Compression pants & capris are GREAT. I maybe fall under that old joke how you should have to have a license to wear spandex but I don't care. I tried running in clothes that aren't made for running and it was too annoying for me to keep going. I really love my running clothes.
  • Running in the summer has made me more tolerant of the heat here. I might even venture to say I'm starting to like it. I sort of wish I done this sooner. Lets see if I'm still saying that in August.
  • Over the past few weeks I've gradually been able to run longer. Last night I went for my first post-challenge run and managed 2 longest of the summer so far. I felt decent and was able to push myself more. I was pretty excited about that and it maybe sucks less now.

If you want to know what got me started on this, a friend started this exercise plan HERE last year and I joined it with her. There are two more levels after you finish that first one. I thought once I got to the running part of the plan I'd probably end up quitting but I did finish it (breaking up the last day - a one hour run - into two parts). I did have to change some of the exercises to fit my needs because of my joint issues but it was a great jump start into exercising!

1 comment:

  1. great job friend! i am very impressed that you made this commitment in the NC summer but not surprised that you were able to do it. you rock :)


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