Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Running Post

Ok, so I was planning to keep this quiet for a bit, not trusting myself to really commit to this new change, but enough people know, and it's becoming a big part of who I am, so here goes.

I am running. For exercise. Training for a 5K. At least 5 times a week, for 25 minutes or more.

Perhaps that doesn't seem so incredibly remarkable to you. Lots of people run. And a 5K is only just over 3 miles. But, then, you must not really know me.

You see, I have never run further than the distance it takes to snatch my child from danger. I had a boyfriend in high school who kept trying to turn me into a runner... and failed miserably. (And that was back before 3 kids and 30 extra pounds found their way into my life). You see, running hurt. It made my lungs hurt, my legs. It was uncomfortable and miserable, and why would anyone ever do it, unless they were rescuing their child from imminent danger? I just didn't get it.

Add to that the fact that I hate exercising. In nearly any form. With any consistency. I am not a "workout person." Last winter, I wrote a bit about my struggle with exercise. Let's just say that even though I did commit to regular exercise all winter, that went right out the window this spring when my emotional life hit the fan.

So, as I mentioned in my blessings last week, I took this whole issue to prayer. And my prayers were answered in the most surprising way imaginable to me. When I felt called back to the treadmill, it was to run, not walk. I took it very slowly the first week. I take a day off when I am feeling a little tight. Two weeks into this, I began googling running tips, looking for suggestions. I looked up a race schedule for St Louis, and began thinking, quietly, to myself, that maybe, just maybe this fall sometime, I could try to run a 5K.

Then, last Friday night, during my monthly bunco group, one woman mentioned that she is doing a 12-week Couch to 5k plan and is going to run a 5K in the end of August. Without thinking for even a nano-second, I jumped right in there: "I'll do it with you."

The reaction I got (from everyone... DH, my friends, and most especially myself!) was total surprise. You? Running? Really? DH's words: "Good luck with that."

But very quickly, their shock faded and was replaced by unwavering support.

So, now I have a goal. August 29. I don't know if I will actually be able to run the entire distance, but I sure am aiming for it. This morning, I did two miles. So, just 1.1 more miles to go!

But, for me the most surprising part of this is just how very happy it makes me. There is a lot of muck that I am wading through right now. Emotional crap and spiritual baggage and all sorts of existential ickiness. But running makes me happy. It gives me something good, positive, healthy and nurturing to focus on when everything else starts to pile up around me. It gives me this glorious adrenaline rush that lasts for hours. It gives me something new to google about when I find myself with some free time on the computer.

It gives me a new entry in my self-definition: Catholic, wife, mother, homeschooler, friend, sister, daughter, blogger, writer, runner.

Yes, me... 37 years old, 30 (+?) pounds overweight... runner.

This can only be divinely inspired. The Lord knows that I would never have come up with this one on my own.

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