Learning to run

Disclaimer: I have no body image wisdom. I want to say that I’ve learned to see myself the way the Lord sees me and think of myself as beautifully and wonderfully made, but alas, it can sometimes be a daily struggle not to hate my body. I was a late bloomer to my awareness of body image issues, but I’m right there with the rest of us. 

Somehow I missed the day in school when they talk about how you’re going to start gaining weight and feel sloppy after some time if you don’t do something about it — even if you start your life and make it through high school and college without your body changing too much.

Well, I guess maybe I heard older women complain about the dreaded “metabolism,” but they were older. I was younger. So, I figured that was the difference.

Oh, wait. I’m 32 now. Hmmm.

After spending most of my life as a couch potato (aside from those 4 years in high school marching band), I decided I wanted to learn to run a few years ago. Harry and I tried to do a couch-to-5K program on our own from India. Part of our inspiration was a 5K fundraiser that was started in honor of our friend who eventually passed away from esophageal cancer. Part of our inspiration was just the desire to be healthier, to push ourselves.

With onlookers at every turn, it got a little old. Women didn’t really run. Much less in American exercise clothes. We traveled a lot when we were in India and eventually lost our momentum for pursuing exercise.

When we got back from India and Harry started working for a church, I realized that I needed something I could do outside the church to meet people. And, I was finally ready to admit that I desperately needed some regular exercise. So, I joined a 5K training group through a running store in our area.

I finished the program and felt like I’d achieved something. It is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I determined that I hate running (although it made me hate my body less) and walked a portion of the 5K, but I felt good about my growth as a runner person who exercises and was ready for the next thing.

Only, there was no next thing. And, we started talking about moving pretty soon after the race in December. So, that fizzled out and the “person who exercises” became the “person who sleeps in” and the “person who moves every six months.”

We got to Seattle and I noticed that the same running store had a similar program for newbies, but it didn’t start until June. So, I played around at regular exercise, but every time I tried to run, I convinced myself I couldn’t do it. So, I didn’t last very long. I’m just one of those people who needs accountability. In a big way. Like I literally cannot make myself exercise if I can’t do it with someone else. Ugh.

Well, the training program started this week and I am just so glad that I didn’t start this thing here. It’s the same program. Same name. So, theoretically, I should be ahead of the game because I’ve already done it once, right?

Maybe I should start by saying that everyone in the Northwest — and I mean everyone — is fit and adept at multiple outdoor sports. Ok, maybe not everyone.

I knew I was in trouble when the warm-up left me breathless. I like a good challenge just as much as the next person, but I like to be coddled a little first.

It was confirmed again when a fellow trainee asked on our closed group Facebook page: “Coach, what do you recommend we do on our cross-training days?” and the coach responded, “What other sports do you play? Maybe kayaking?”

I was like, huh? I’m learning to run. Do you really think I have other sports I play? Least of all one that requires owning expensive gear? I’d just like to function at ONE. And, by function, I mean where I don’t feel like I’m going to fall down all the time and I feel like my body is under my control instead of the other way around. And, of course, I’d like to squeeze into that cute top I used to wear. Oh, and energy. I’d like to have more energy.

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