Running: THE Most Awesome Sport Ever!

My friend Simmah says that she’s tired of hearing me complain about running.

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I know she’s right. In fact, even before her comment on my Facebook wall I had worried that I was coming off a bit too negative. People who know me know that I am not a negative person. I’m the obnoxiously annoying one who finds a silver lining in every dark and gloomy cloud. (Most of the time.) Trust me, I did not get nicknamed Pollyana by being such a Negative Nelly. (Negative Nelly?! – did I really just write that? Shoot me now.)

I do believe that thoughts become actions and in the power of positive thinking and all that bullshit. So maybe I would enjoy running more if I embraced it instead of fought against it.

So on Sunday morning went I went for a 2 mile run (It was actually a 2.34 mile run according to the RunKeeper GPS app on my phone, but my running coach is a known liar), I told myself how excited I was to be outside in the freezing cold crisp air and California sunshine instead of at home, cozy in my warm bed reading my book. And how happy I was to only be running 2 (2.34) miles. Uh, I mean I told myself how bummed I was to only be running 2 (2.34) miles. Oh how I wish I was running 4 (so you know, 4.68) miles instead! Because running is awesome. Running is FUN!

We started off on a hill, but that was okay. I’ve been suffering through practicing inclines on the treadmill and my legs are strong and ready. I started my run in the middle of the pack and when people started passing me in droves, instead of cursing myself for being so slow I looked over my shoulder and saw that there were still three people behind me. Ha ha I am not the slowest runner after all! Eat my dust slow pokes! Great job everybody! (Runners always say great job to the lame people who are trying their best even though they suck at running in back.)

jogging
It is almost impossible to see all of the people ahead of me in this crappy picture, but trust me, there are tons of them!

When I felt out of breath, like I literally could not breathe, I reminded myself that I haven’t passed out yet, so odds are that I wouldn’t pass out this time. Way to go lungs!

And when sweat trickled down my forehead and salty sunscreen got in my eyes, I told myself how glad I was to be cooling myself down and that I was ridding my body of harmful toxins.

And when the sun shone down on my face and I had to squint my eyes against it, instead of cursing the wrinkles and age spots freckles that were surely attaching themselves to my face that very minute, I rejoiced in the joy of receiving a welcome winter tan.

Oh running, my new love, why did I wait so long find you? Simmah is right. By just shifting my perspective, and telling myself that I love you instead of hate you, I find that I do love you.

And best of all, because I ran 2.34 miles on Sunday morning, that means I can eat and drink whatever I want on at the Superbowl party I’m going to later in the afternoon, right?

That’s what I figured anyway. I mean why the hell else would I run? (Other than the fact that now I love it, of course.)

So when I got on the scale this morning only to find that once again my gluttonous ways have netted me an overnight 2 pound weight gain, despite my muscle-building, calorie-burning, cardiovascular-improving fun and awesome run, do you know what I screamed said (very loudly)?

Running sucks!

More on Running and it Sucking

I still hate running. Seriously. I get no joy out of it. Zero.

One might wonder what sort of crazy person does something she hates five days a week. Something that makes her sore afterwards. Something that makes her out of breath and miserable while she’s doing it.

Yeah, when I figure that out I’ll let you know.

I’m training for a 10K – that’s about 6.2 miles, which is about 6 miles too far in my book. To date the furthest I’ve ever run is five miles. And that was so hard. Like really, really, really hard. And I had to walk some of it. (I always have to walk some of it.)

I’m training with the run club at my gym. We meet on Sundays for a long run and then we have running homework every week. I think I’d rather do Chandler’s Math Analysis homework. And I really suck at math. (Except for percentages and how they relate to things that are on sale. I’ll tell you, I can calculate the sale price of something in my head with the snap of a finger, no calculator needed.)

At the start of the training for the 10K our coach told us that we had  to do our homework. “Don’t come to these long Sunday runs without doing your homework,” he warned us. “Because if you do, one of three things are guaranteed to happen. One, you will get hurt. Two, you will die. Or three, you will not finish your race.”

Honestly any of those scenarios sound preferable to me having to run six point two miles.

Last week I was pretty excited because I had it in my head that we had an easy week and our homework was Monday off, Tuesday 2 miles, Wednesday 1 mile, Thursday 2 miles, Friday off, and Saturday one mile. My friend Carol corrected me and told me that is was Tuesday 2 miles, Wednesday 2 miles, Thursday 3 miles. We checked. She was right. Stupid Carol!

I’ve been running for over four months now, but I’m not getting any better at it. Well, it is getting a tiny bit easier, but I’m so slow. I’m always one of the last ones to finish.

On yesterday’s run we did a 4 mile trail run. My friend -who shall remain nameless, but she knows who she is!- asked me to run with her because she hadn’t run for a week because she’d been sick. Yeah, that’s how slow I am. I run with the infirmed.

Also, she got lost on a trail once and hurt her foot, so understandably she hates trails. This trail was pretty narrow in places with sharp drop-offs and very uneven terrain – very hard to do if you are not a trail-run fan. (Or if, like me, you’re not an any-run fan.)

Wildwood-trails
See those dots on the trails? Those are some of the many, many runners in front of us.

My nameless friend had to walk a lot of it because of the unevenness of the terrain, so I, out of the goodness of my heart, walked a lot of it too. You know, because I’m a good friend like that. Not because I couldn’t run it. (Cough cough!)

I will admit that it is a beautiful trail (if you like dry California scrub) and at a little over halfway you end up at a waterfall.

Waterfall-Wildwood-Hike
Feeling strong – of course this waterfall is at the bottom of a canyon and now I have to go back up!

And I suppose I should tell you that the main reason my friend wanted me to stay with her was because she was afraid of getting lost. So you know I got us lost right? And of course getting us lost resulted in us doing an extra mile. (I might or might not have said bad words to our running coach when he found us at the bottom of the trail where we’d taken a wrong turn and told us we’d have to go back.) I probably should have told her that I’m not just bad at math and running. I also have a terrible sense of direction.

Needless to say, we came in last for the people that were doing the four mile run. I’m pretty sure we still would have even if we hadn’t gone the extra mile.

So yes, as far as I’m concerned – running? It still totally sucks.

Running Sucks

running sucks

I’m not a runner, but today I ran one mile. That’s right – one whole mile! I know, I know – amateur! I sort of got talked into joining the run club at my gym which is crazy because not only am I not a runner, I’ve never had any desire to be a runner. Not even a little. You know those people who decide mid-life that they are going to take up running and then start training and then do something completely insane like run a marathon? Or even worse, start running daily. Like as a way of life? I’m not doing that. Do you know why? Because I hate running. I HATE IT! Every step I take I curse the name of my friend who talked me into this foolishness. (Juliana – you KNOW I’m talking about you!) I try with all my might to think of anything –anything-  other than this hell that is called running and the fact that I can’t breathe and that I’m miserable because I feel like my heart and my lungs are going to simultaneously explode. Today as I was running I tried to focus on the beauty of the morning sky as it grew brighter, but that just made me focus on the fact that I forgot to put my contact in before heading outside. (No, that’s not a typo, I’m nearsighted and only wear one contact which makes one eye nearsighted and one eye farsighted and I don’t have to wear reading glasses. Go ahead and call me vain. Of course I’m vain – otherwise I wouldn’t be running!) I tried to think about the high-fat salt laden restaurant meal (and alcohol) I’ll be enjoying with two girlfriends later tonight in an attempt to convince myself that this torture I was putting myself through will all be worth it. I tried counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 with every step like someone who was meditating might count their breaths. Except that people that meditate are peaceful. And I’m not peaceful. No moment of zen. No runner’s high. Only misery; no peace. Instead all I could think of, the one thought that kept popping into my head was, “Running sucks.” And I hate it. And I really don’t want to do it again. (Even though I probably will.)

~For 30 days I am righting Just One Paragraph.

bodyheART

I ❤ my body.

Well, not really. But I’m trying to.

About a week ago I went to an amazing seminar called BodyheART at my gym. The seminar was started by a woman named Amber Krzys who spent the first 31 years of her life hating her body and the last 3 years loving it. She wants to teach other women to love their bodies too.

Well, I’m older than Amber and therefore have been hating my body for a lot longer than she hated hers. Her body-loving-soul-searching process took her 9 months.  In the seminar that I took she spoke for an hour. You can only learn to love your body so much in an hour. I think I still have a ways to go.

I do admit that once I reached my 40’s I started hating my body less. (Most days.) Of course that’s actually quite ironic because it was around the time I turned 40 that my metabolism, whom I thought I’d had a pretty good relationship with, decided to flip me the middle finger and go on strike. I’m not quite sure what I did to piss her off so much and I sure wish she would go back to working like she used to, but I don’t think that will be happening. I think she’s done. I probably made her too tired by eating too many cheeseburgers washed down with margaritas and expecting her to work overtime.

I hear she gets even more pissed off when I turn 50. (I can hardly wait!)

Yes, when I reached the age of 40 a few years back I took a good long look in the mirror and realized that my thighs poked out of my legs in a perfect imitation of a potato sack stuffed into a too-small sausage casing my entire post-pubescent life. If I had thunder thighs at twenty, they certainly weren’t going suddenly turn into the graceful gams of a freak-of-nature-supermodel beach volleyball player at forty.

I’m not trying to say that I learned to love my body, but I pretty much just shrugged my shoulders and realized that this is the body I’m intended to have. I try to work out 3-4 days a week (more like 1 or 2) and cut back on the cheeseburgers so my metabolism will quit being the enemy.

I even tried taking the words “I’m so fat” out of my vocabulary. Except at night when I get ready for bed and the florescent light in my bathroom hits my arms just right and accentuates every little dimple of fat – then all bets are off.

And yes, my stomach that used to be as flat as a board no many how many French fries I stuffed into it now has a tiny little pooch. Okay, okay, some days that pooch isn’t so tiny. But as I look around, I notice that many of my post-40 friends have tiny little pooches too. I think they are kind of cute. Well, my friend’s pooches are cute. Mine drives me fucking insane. But I just suck it in, pull on a Spanx cami and remind myself that I could have a flat stomach once again if I never ate carbs and worked out 7 days a week.  I’ll choose French fries and a little self-loathing over that any day.

But I want to try to be kinder to myself.

During the seminar Amber had us close our eyes and do a couple of visualization exercises. We were sitting on the floor of the aerobics studio of the gym and I was wearing jeans and sitting criss cross and as I closed my eyes all I could think of was how my fat belly pushed against my jeans. Here I was at a seminar trying to learn how to love myself more and the first thing I was doing was hating myself.

The visualization exercises that Amber had us do really moved me and actually filled my eyes with tears.

The second hour of the BodyheART seminar is a photo session where you take two photos. Amber draws a heart on your face and a heart on your favorite part of your body and photographs you.

Ugh! My favorite part of my body?!

I was seriously considering having my feet photographed.

I actually think I have cute feet. (As long as you’re not looking at the kankle ankle part.)

I really didn’t know what part to have photographed and didn’t know what to wear. I was feeling icky and ugly and fat and didn’t want to go.

So of course I had to go. I don’t want to feel like that about myself anymore. I’m too fucking old for that shit. I really am. I really like myself at this age. I want to like my body too.

My favorite part of my body is my waist which, when you compare it to the junk I’ve got going on in my trunk, looks really small.

Okay, I’ll stop and be kind to myself. I do have a small waist, but like I said I’ve got a bit of a belly right now. And some serious muffin top back fat so I didn’t want to be photographed from the back either. And I couldn’t decide on what to wear to have my waist photographed so I chose to have my heart drawn on my left breast and have that photographed.

Oh calm down, I didn’t have to take anything off. My boobs are small – especially for my height, but I actually like the fact that they’re small. I hate wearing a bra and usually end up ripping it off and going braless when I get home. (Unless my son has his friends over – then I cover up – I’m not that mom!)

But my breasts are semi-perky (you know for being so emptied out after nursing two babies for 6 months each) and I have a little mole on the cleavage of my left breast that I think looks sexy when I wear a push-up bra.

bodyheART
photo taken by Autumn Lee

I want to say that I love my pictures, but I have to be honest… I don’t. I think I look older than I am – I don’t like the dark circles under my eyes. But I chose to think it’s the lighting and not my face. I will say that I don’t think my arm looks fat (and I always think my arms look fat) and I think that little bit of cleavage I’m rocking looks pretty good.

bodyheART campaign

And one of the things Amber taught us is that all actresses’ and models’ photographs are retouched. So the fact that I don’t love these photos is okay. I know that if I had this photo retouched it could look something more like this after…

celebrity retouch photo
Even Nicolette Sheridan (who is gorgeous) looks better after a retouch!)

So while I did not leave the bodyheART seminar loving my body I do notice that even two weeks later I hate my body less. I’ve even gained two pounds since that day (thank you Easter candy) and haven’t beat myself up about it.

There was such a beautiful energy in the room during the seminar and the photo shoot. Look at these beautiful women I got to spend the day with. (The photo shoot was a blast.)

bodyheart campaign

I know that there is no perfect face. There is no perfect body. I’m trying to teach myself that my body is just perfect for me.

To learn more about the bodyheART campaign and see what REAL women look like un-retouchedclick here.

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This blog was originally posted on skirt.com on April 25, 2011.