Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Looking Back

I went for a run today.  It was (relatively) short, in beautiful weather, on familiar roads, with only my iPod for company.  Sometimes, I plan what I'm going to think about on my solitary runs.  (Although I don't think it's actually possible to plan one's thoughts.  Is it?  Go ahead and try, why don't you.  Try to think about sleep disorders and dreaming.  I bet that within seconds, your thoughts will have drifted off to a recent dream you had, or why you're tired, or whether it's normal to fall into a deep sleep within mere seconds, while holding a glass of red wine water and having just been in the midst of a not-even-slightly-boring conversation. Ha!  Now you're thinking about me, aren't you?  Wondering if I have narcolepsy?  I don't.  I'm almost positive.)  Today, I was going to think about zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzhuh?  Wha?  What was I saying?  Oh, yeah.  Ahem.  Anyway, it isn't important what I planned to think about.  What I ended up thinking about was how far I've come (har dee har) as a runner.  

Me on the left
I shared my how I became a runner tale a while back, but I'm not sure that I made it clear how much of a runner I was not before those early morning drag outs with my sister.  I was one of those, "Do you need money for gas?" people when I talked to runners.  I didn't understand why anyone would run when walking or driving takes so much less effort.  During my previous fitness phases, I had always skipped cardio.  I mean, I would pretend, of course.  I would sit comfortably on the stationary bike, pedaling at the nice, I-can-still-read-my-magazine pace of around 3.5-4 m.p.h.  I would use the rowing machine for 8 minutes and then check my pulse, making sure to look concerned, like I had just exerted myself SO much, but made it look effortless.  I smoked a lot of cigarettes.  I tried to walk 5k  to benefit breast cancer research and literally could not make it up the first hill.  After working out in front of my tv with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders or Jillian Michaels, I would brag for days about, "I was sweaty."

Now, I'm a runner, and strangely proud to call myself so.  I know about PRs and BQs and carb loading and negative splits and Yassos and that I over-pronate.

My black toenail

1 of 7 medals
During today's run, I found myself looking for roads I could run down to add a bit of mileage to my planned route.  I smiled a bit, remembering that my sister used to have to threaten and ridicule me (in a nice way, of course) to get me to add on an extra tenth of a mile.  Not too much later, a woman came running toward me, and then slowed to a walk before she climbed the hill between us.  She had on (what I hope was) her oldest t-shirt, raggedy cotton shorts, and was more than a little overweight.  We grinned happily at each other as our paths crossed, and I remembered how many times I have walked up the hills.  Walked for no reason.  Walked because an injury forced it.  I wanted to tell her, and probably should have, that she was doing something great for her body, her mind, and her life.  As I looked back at her, I thought she might want to know that it does get easier, better, more fun, and faster.  I would love to see her again someday, zooming up the hills with that same happy grin on her face.

I don't know how the transformation happens, exactly, from Hater (with a purposeful capital H) to runner (with a purposeful lowercase r, it isn't like I'm a professional or whatever), but it's pretty awesome that it does.  Maybe it's like planned thoughts- suddenly, you find yourself thinking of something entirely different than you expected, and you're not quite sure how your thoughts traveled in that direction.  I'm sure glad that I experienced the H2r change.  If ever you think, "Not me!  I'm no runner.", I advise you to remember me.  My red, burning thighs, as the blood circulated through them faster than ever before.  My whining about an extra tenth of a mile.  My whining about another hill.  My repeating, "I'm going to die.  I'm really going to die" to my ever-so-patient sister during every run.  And now, my planning each day around my run.  My silly grin, when I see other runners working hard.  My 5 a.m. speed workouts.  My hundreds of miles, without a single one regretted.

Sheesh.  I'm sappy lately, huh?  I blame Ronde.  His retirement from my favorite football team has me all sleepy...I mean emotional!  I'm totally awake while I type this.

Okay, for real.  Were you able to think only about what you planned to think about?


  1. Planned thinking? I have trouble crossing the 14 feet of our kitchen and completing my original goal - get and take a multi-vitamin - in less than three tries.

    Also I'm smiling because Glad and Proud you're a runner, with or without narcolepsy.

    1. Glad I'm not the only one whose thoughts wander.

  2. I don't think you would have had the choice to convert with Jenn as your sister...just saying;-) I hope to be a Jenn & get my sis to convert...such good sisterly bonding time! Also I haven't yet told you, but I hired a nanny with your name; never heard it before the two of you! It's a great name though!!

    1. And I'm lucky lately if I remember the thought I was beginning to have...

    2. Ahhh, pregnancy brain. Followed quickly by mommy brain, which seems (so far) to last at least until your oldest child is 6.

      That's cool about your new nanny! I bet she's around my age, too. I've never met anyone much younger or older than me with it.

    3. She actually just turned 23, so a little younger if I did the math right on today's post that you're in your mid-30's?