A couple of days after that, I jumped on the treadmill to try this running thing again. I could barely last a minute, I had no idea how fast or slow I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to do with the incline and I held on to the treadmill for dear life. I must have looked a real sight.
I started running outside after that - not paying attention to how far, just the time, and running the same route every day which I soon discovered was 5k. At first I had to walk most of it, and then slowly but surely I was running the whole thing. Then one day I decided to keep going, and I did another lap. Again, it took me awhile, but I kept trying and before I knew it I was doing 10k without stopping.
I had done the City2Surf before, but only walking. That year I was determined to run the whole thing - but it was harder than it looked! We have our own 'heartbreak hill' and I only managed to run about 10k, but I was still so proud of myself.
Then I signed up for my first half marathon. I had to walk bits and pieces but I did it - me! I ran 21 kms, which seemed so crazy daunting and scary 2 years prior. But I did it. I cried when I crossed the finish line - if you ever have the opportunity you should do a race that ends in the heart of Sydney. Nothing like it.
A couple months later I did the City2Surf again - this time I ran the whole thing. So proud.
After that I ran regularly, 4-5 times a week, even when I visited and moved to KY. I did my second half marathon in 2012 and cut more than 30 minutes off my race time.
2013 was a stressful and busy year and I still ran, but I was nowhere near as consistent. One month I would run 20 times, another I would run once. The horrible winter really didn't help.
Finally in early 2014 I decided to sign up for the same half marathon I'd done in 2012. I thought it would motivate me. Unfortunately it didn't, and I ran 2 minutes slower than my first half marathon - I was so disappointed and disgusted with myself.
As the weather got better, I ran more. I was so slow compared to my old running self, and it discouraged me. It's so hard to go back and reach all the same goals, it doesn't feel as great the second time around.
I ran my 4th half marathon. It wasn't great, but at least I did better than #1 and #3.
Anyway, this trip down memory lane has a point, besides showcasing my love for a certain jacket. After all these races, I still don't call myself a runner. Never have. When people say 'oh you're a runner?' I say 'well, I run sometimes - but no, not really.' Like it's some club I can't get into, a hurdle I can't jump. Sure I run. But not consistently, and I have never taken it seriously. When I'm really into it, I love it. When I'm lazy, I'm lucky to go for a walk. So I don't call myself a runner. I feel that calling myself a runner somehow cheapens real runners, like Alyssa or Tracy. Or I'm adding salt to the wound for people who have an injury that prevents them running, like KC. How can I call myself a runner when I don't do it regularly, and he would give almost anything to run? I can't call myself a runner because I've gotten worse, I've gotten slower. Aren't you supposed to get better at things, not worse? I'm better at talking about running than actually running.
But that first run? That started this all? The date was November 17th 2009. I have been doing this for 5 years. Shouldn't I be better by now? I know you shouldn't compare, but other people have been running less than a year and are better than me. Or rather, they are better than they were when they first started - I have hardly improved, I've gone backwards.
I cleaned out my closet yesterday. It was fun. I'm a bit emotional with clothes sometimes, ruthless with others. I saw a pair of jeans from 2012, around the time of my best half marathon - I don't wear them anymore because I wore them when I worked in a restaurant and they smell like oil. I decided to try them on for shits and giggles. Well the joke was on me because I kid you not, I could not get them over my butt. Hilarious, right? I couldn't believe it. I know I've gained weight but this was embarrassing. I'm not saying I couldn't do them up, I'm saying they wouldn't even go past my butt.
Now that it's getting cold again, I'm struggling to keep motivated. But the 'jeans incident of 2014 that we shall never talk about again' gave me the kick up the butt (pun intended) I needed.
My problem is not only my motivation to run, but also the pressure I put on myself. When I started running I did so 'naked'. I didn't use apps, I had a watch on but I didn't monitor it the way most runners do. I like listening to audiobooks because if I listen to music I catch myself thinking 'one more song should be 3 miles'. I wait for the nike app lady to tell me how fast I'm going, and then I criticize myself. I listened to an app for a 10 miler in 2012 that turned out to be incorrect and I was so upset because I missed my opportunity to PR that I didn't run for 3 weeks (which happened to be the 3 weeks before the half marathon). Perhaps if I didn't get so mad at myself, and ran those 3 weeks I might have actually done a sub 2 hour half. Maybe.
I look back on my past races, specifically 2012, and I am so disappointed by how far I am away from that, how much weight I have gained, how much slower I am. I give myself goals and deadlines and I never meet them because I am too hard on myself. I have to understand that I am not going to get back to 2012 shape overnight. But I'm certainly not gonna get there by crying over a pair of jeans, eating ice cream with my ass on the couch.
So as of today, I am calling myself a runner. Zero pressure. No goals, no requirements, no 'must run this many miles each week'. I'm not gonna get mad at myself if I miss a run, or if I run slower than I 'should' be. At least, not yet. First I just need to get back into the routine, running needs to become like brushing my teeth again. It needs to be something I don't think about, something I enjoy. Once it is, I'll start thinking about specific goals and training plans.
I have done the triple crown (5k, 10k, 10 miler) for the last 3 years, and I am considering signing up again. KC doesn't really want me to, they are expensive and such a pain in the butt to get to, but as every runner knows, a PR doesn't count unless it's a race. The first race is 109 days away and the half marathon is 158 days away.
I can do this. I know I can. But it's not about can, it's about actually doing it. I have to do this. And I need you all to hold me accountable. Because if I don't get better, I am stripping myself of the runner title again. Ok that might be a bit dramatic. But I can't let a pair of jeans show me up like that. I can't let 2012 be my best. I've asked for help before and I am armed with the tips that you all shared (thank you). Here's to not going backwards anymore.
Do you have any health or fitness goals you're working on right now?