My belly is too big, and I'm sick of it. So I bought running sneakers this weekend. Mind you, I haven't really run since I stopped playing basketball. That was 1995. There was a brief period just before I found out I was pregnant with Sweet Boy that I jogged often. It was a stressful time -- Chris had been in the hospital for almost a month, and I found the only way I could deal with it was to just go outside and run. I've had some stress in the last few months, one could say, so lately I've been feeling that same urge. To just be outside, pounding my angst out on the pavement.
My BFF said to me, when I'd told her I bought running sneakers, "Um, did you forget that you hate to run?" It's true. While I'm running, I really hate it. My knees hurt, I cough like a chain smoker, I am keenly aware of all the flabby parts of my body. I don't know if you could even call it running; what I do is more like lumbering, trodding, ka-thumping. More elephant than gazelle.
But I usually feel good after I run. I feel proud of myself, first of all, just for having attempted it. I can feel muscles working that haven't been called on in years. And I'm certain that endorphin thing is true.
So with my shiny new running sneakers strapped on my feet, I have a plan: I'm going to jog/walk (I believe certain fitness folks call this "interval training") until I get to the point where I can sustain an actual jog for more than a couple of minutes. I think I can do this, with the help of the Couch to 5K podcasts. At this point I'm not really aiming for a 5K, though; my goal right now is just to get to the point where it doesn't hurt anymore...then I'll reach higher.
And you know the beauty of this plan? Unlike other times in my life when I was forced to run by some maniacal little man with a chip on his shoulder and a whistle in his mouth, this time I'm in charge. I can jog for a little while, stop when I need to stop, pick it up again at the end of the next block. And unlike a gym membership that would set me back $50+/month, this will cost me only the new sneaks, and maybe a new sports bra or two.
Oh, and another plus: I'm going out early in the morning, when the world is just waking up, the birds are chirping and the day is fresh. It's a great time to not only pound out some angst, but also to just have some me time. (And because most of the world is still sleeping, no one will witness the lumbering!)