The Baby Steps of an Emerging Athlete
I am of the perspective that you are what you are right now. Not what you were, or were not, even twelve seconds ago. That means that if you want to be a healthy, exercising, positive-thinking, flaxseed-eating human being, then decide you are, and go forth as such.
Last week (or was it last month?), Cute Banker and I began jogging. Again. It had been a teeny little while since I had engaged in such ambitious activity. Cute Banker has been running off and on, forever. The last time I put on a pair of athletic shoes for the purpose of athletics was the week before I found out my second baby was on the way. I had just begun a tennis class and I felt uneasy with all that pounding while gestating a tiny human. I know it can be medically safe and lots of healthy, educated people play tennis, and more, right up till delivery. It was just my own personal feeling that I did not want to continue to do that. So, as the mother, and the boss of such matters, I did not. That was the end of my three weeks of tennis lessons.
Prior to that, I had exercised, semi-regularly, throughout my pregnancy with my first baby (yes, my first, not second. Your math will tell you there were a couple years in between bouts of exercise). Then, Baby #1 was born, and our world was rocketed to the outer reaches of space and never quite settled back down, until that three weeks I managed to get myself to a tennis class, two years later.
As you can probably figure out, I am not in tip-top shape. But I have aspirations. And a healthy dose of self-esteem, so I don’t beat myself up about this. Not even a little bit. (Too bad, because guilt can be quite motivating!) I also probably have reverse body dysmorphic disorder in that I am quite capable of denying all visual evidence that I’m not exactly the toned young thing of days past. It is true, that while that fact doesn’t send me to bed in a fit of depression (or move me to throw out the Oreos), I have to admit things are going south. And out. And getting softer. And dimpled (shhh).
So, I put out the call to the universe for a free double jogging stroller and got it. (Isn’t that amazing? Now, where’s my million dollars and a pony??) Our family snapped into a rather shockingly disciplined routine, and actually Went Running. About five times. Once, I even went without Cute Banker! Just me, the kids, the double stroller, and the highly motivating factor of deepening darkness. The darker it got, the faster I ran.
I felt astonishingly great! It was more of a walk-jog at first, but my lungs and legs were surprisingly up to the challenge. And what is it about vigorous activity that makes you feel like a bad-ass your first day out? I don’t know, but it does, and I did. By my second day, I was ready for the Olympic trials.
In my head, I’m still training. In reality, I haven’t run for so long, I can’t quite tell when the last time was. When does the balance tip from being a runner into being a former runner? How many “days off” can you take before the sedentary days become your normal life again, and exercising days are the anomaly? All I know is that all my running gear has been washed and dried and put away. I think you’re an athlete only as long as there is at least one piece of sweaty clothing in your hamper.
I’m at that deciding moment: press on or slide back. I don’t want to lose all the ground I made. And I really did sleep better and feel happier on those running days.
Tonight, Cute Banker won’t be home till late. Will I get myself out there on my own? Or will I decide I look just fine the way I am? My current hot, sexy mommy wardrobe is plenty stretchy. Will I tell myself I feel good enough that way? I’m kinda used to all-encompassing exhaustion anyway. But that’s just not good enough anymore. I want more.
I am a runner, after all.
Want to see if I’m still running? Click here.