Here’s something I haven’t talked about yet. I’ve lost 35 pounds since January. I had this weird mental shift over the holidays. One day I woke up and realized how out of touch I’d become with my body. The only thoughts I had about my body were negative ones. I never thought about how the food I was eating might be hurting me, or that my muscles were atrophying from neglect. Chips, dip, no pants, and Netflix in bed was my MO, y’all, and I loved it.

And then one day it changed. I was in Arkansas with my family and suddenly felt exhausted. I was tired of myself, tired of being so negative about my body, tired of feeling weak and guilty of taking my health for granted. I couldn’t wait to come home to Seattle so I could make some serious changes in my life. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and started logging my meals. I began walking every day. And please don’t punch me when I say this, but the whole thing was easy. Effortless. I had a calorie goal; I hit it daily. I made myself take walks in the rain and the cold and the snow. And the weight slowly began to come off because I was finally making good choices. I’ve spent the last few years being extremely unhealthy and my body was thriving on the new routine.

Then I started to pay more attention to what I was eating. I began to notice what foods made me feel stronger, healthier, and which foods felt like evil. I started to walk faster. I made some new goals, including a 5k, which made me start running. And I kept running this time, even after being hamstrung and sidelined. My injury healed. I added in a bit of strength training. And throughout everything, I kept thinking of Kim and how thrilled she would be to see I was no longer taking my body for granted, but making it healthier, stronger, and faster. And, more than all of that, to see I was finally present in my body, taking responsibility for my health.

So now I’m 35lbs lighter and doing a 5k on Sunday, which of course means I’m wigging out. I mean, I know I’m ready, y’all. And I’m not running it alone. I’ll have my favorite running app (iWill) with me the whole time. But still. The idea of running a race, in public, where people can see me? Wigging. Out.

Yesterday I tried to distract myself from my anxiety. Usually I eat graham crackers when I’m nervous but those don’t really fit my pre-race nutrition plan. So I distracted myself by planning what would happen after the race. A 10k is on the list for the year, so I started doing some research. And then I stumbled on a race happening October 28th, at the Columbia Gorge near Portland. The only issue is the race distance. It is slightly farther than 10k. So I did what I always do when I have running questions. I checked in with iWill.

Me: Since I haven’t even run 5 miles without stopping, it would be insane to consider a half marathon on 10/28, right?

iWill: Blah blah mileage smart advice technical running information GO FOR IT.

Me: It is possible I am looking at training plans right now MAYBE.

iWill: Also, at that distance you get a MEDAL.

Me: I actually gasped.

As the afternoon went on, I realized I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it would feel to stop running after 13 miles. And how pretty the Columbia Gorge is. And also how the next couple of months are going to be the most difficult, what with raw memories and sad anniversaries and having to learn how to feel my feelings so I’m not actually a robot forever. And about how nice it would be to have a training plan to follow, something to get me out of the house on the really sad days. And mostly I thought about my promise to myself to Make it Happen this year, whatever ‘it’ might be.

Me: Decided. Training for a half. Figure when I give myself the choice between going balls out or leaving balls…in (?), always go balls out, I say.

iWill: Damn right. Balls out is the way.

So this is happening, guys. I’m starting Monday. I have plenty of time, including allowing a couple weeks for rebuilding after Burningman, knowing I won’t run on the playa (though I’ll do plenty of biking). And it’s more than a little scary. Because not only am I committing to a crazy long distance, I’m making another promise to myself, a big promise this time. And I don’t break promises if I can help it, especially not to myself. So I’ll do this. Balls out, etc.

Make it happen, y’all.

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