Two weeks down, and sixteen-ish to go!
Quick version— I was full of energy and enthusiasm going into the week. By the end of the week, I was tired, but I met my goal!
PS- You, yeah you, stop comparing your goals to mine!
For the most part, I had a good week of running. I started strong at the beginning of the week, but my legs were dragging by the end of the week. During my 3 mile run, my little monkey mind even wanted to chatter-on about cake and walking. “Listen monkey,” I said to myself, “I understand, you’re tired and you want to eat cake and go take a nap, but you’re going to feel like this a lot on future runs. We need to know that we can push through the fatigue. We need to know we can do it!”
“Um, I don’t know about that, that sounds like some mumbo-jumbo Kevin Costner motivation-crap speech to me,” said the monkey.
“Well could you run to the ice cream truck if it was on the corner getting ready to pull off?”
“Well, DUH. I could run to Ireland if it means I can get a banana pop or ten.”
“Okay then! Let’s keep going! Plus, if we walk, we’re going to be out here even longer. The sooner we finish, the sooner we can go nap.”
“Fine. You Win. This time. But put on some Arctic Monkeys for me.”
So I did. Hey, maybe the trick is being nice to your monkey. You know like how you get more flies with honey, maybe you get more monkeys with bananas? Get your monkey to like you–maybe it will be nicer to you in return.
I ran on the treadmill one day on a weekend run and watched the movie Hitch. Oh my god, that dance lesson scene had me laughing so hard I almost fell off the treadmill! “I am DEFINITELY adding that to the playlist this week! What do you think, Monkey?” (still trying to be nice to it.) “Yeah, it is pretty funny,” my monkey conceded.
As I ran this week though, I thought about how that if I was an elite runner or if I weighed twenty pounds less, I could be done with my run already. I am slow, I know. I don’t have the typical gazelle runner’s body.
But so what if I’m more like a monkey than a gazelle. I still have fun. I know I’m not the only one who compares herself to others though. You do it too. In fact some of you are even comparing yourselves and your goals to me. Huh? Wha? Please don’t do that. I could never run that far. My goals are modest compared to yours. I don’t have to run a marathon to feel good about myself. I’m tired just reading your plan. I am too big to run. My little 5k sounds puny to a marathon. Just stop okay? You can do anything you set your mind to.
Look, we’ve all got to start somewhere. Every runner had to go on that very first scary run where they could only run for a few minutes, err, um… in my case only for a few seconds. Every yogi, every biker, every swimmer, every cross-fitter, every gym rat… they all started somewhere. I even remember the first exercise video I did– Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies–VHS tape, remember those? “Pfft, this is going to be a joke, I’m so embarrassed! Why am I doing this?! I was sweat-soaked and huffing for air at the end, but I did have fun, and though he annoys the hell out of some people, I adore Richard Simmons for helping folks change their lives.
I love what I read on SimponSister’s post “It Just As Easily Could Have Been Me“: “Don’t compare yourself to others. It doesn’t matter how far down the rabbit hole you have gone. You can always dig yourself a deeper hole. But the only way to stop digging that hole is to put down the shovel.”
You never know someone’s back story, you never know what shit they’ve gone through to get to where they are. You never know how long someone has been trying or what they have given up in order to go after their dreams. Don’t judge them. And don’t compare yourself to them. YOU ARE NOT THEM, AND YOU NEVER WILL BE. Those models in the magazines? They’re airbrushed and probably haven’t had a cookie in forever. A life without cookies would make me miserable, wouldn’t it you?
My friend Josie shared with me recently that if we all tossed our problems and insecurities in a big pile, we would beg for our own back, once we saw other people’s struggles.
Yes, I run a lot. Yes, I know a marathon is a long way. Yes, I know most people will never run a marathon, that most people have zero desire to run a marathon. I have never claimed sanity, folks. I’ve been running for nearly five years, but it wasn’t until I quit drinking that I got serious and started upping the mileage. I had to. I had to do something with my grief, with my demons, with my desire to drink—and so I ran, and kept running, and then a marathon seemed to be a realistic goal for me. (Did you know there are people who run 30, 50, even 100 miles or more for fun? And you thought I was crazy.) See, it’s all relative. My marathon is 26.2 miles; his may be 100; hers may be 5k (3.1 miles); yours may be going to the gym 5 times a week; and yours may be not drinking for 100 days.
Find your marathon. And do it. Don’t compare it to mine or to anyone elses. Don’t feel less than, remember, we all started somewhere and we all have our own baggage. I, and fellow runners, will cheer louder than anyone for you, well maybe not your mom, but you know what I mean. This anonymous facebooker on I <3 to Run says it better than I:
Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe.
You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you.
You are awesome. If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others.
You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.
You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.
You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.
I bow to you.
(I had tears in my eyes the first time I read the above. I read it again later and cried again as I pictured a sober-narrator speaking to someone trying to stop drinking–it works that way too.)
So, no, please don’t compare yourself to me. Or to her. Or to him. Compare yourself today to the person you were yesterday. It doesn’t matter how far, how fast, how slow, or how pretty you go. Just go. Screw what anyone else thinks. Do it for yourself. But if you’re not going to listen to me, if instead you choose to listen to that monkey chatter or the jealous couch potatoes or the skinny supermodels with inferior self-esteems who gloss the magazines “oh I never work out! And I eat whatever I want! I just ate a cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake!” (bullshit!), at least let it piss you off enough to get out there and propel you forward and prove them all wrong.
Somewhere along the way, you’ll realize it doesn’t matter. Not the chatter, not the magazines, not the body mass charts, not the trendy $100 see-through yoga pants (Target. Champion line. $20. Just sayin’.) Somewhere along the way, you’ll grow to love your thunder thighs because of all the miles and steps they have carried you, you’ll look down and see two strong healthy limbs and you will be grateful. Somewhere along the way, you’ll run just for the joy of running. Somewhere along the way, you’ll look in the mirror, and you’ll do a double take, because you’ll like who you see–a strong, sexy and confident reflection looking back at you–and hopefully you’ll never feel the need to compare yourself to anyone–or air-brushed, photo-shopped stick figure–again.
And then somewhere along the way, you’ll cross paths with someone else just starting out–feeling insecure and hesitant to make eye contact with you, and you’ll do another double take, because you’ll recognize yourself–your past self–in their eyes, and you will realize how very far you have come. And then you can pass along to them what I pass to you… “You are a true inspiration. I bow to you.”
A huge thank-you to those of you joining me! Many of you have opted to join in with fitness goals of your own. Jump in any week!
Dan at BudgetCookingBlog has been running again! Yay Dan! Enjoy each and every one of those endorphins!
Lilly at OneTooMany is joining in and recently ran her first four minutes on the treadmill! Way to go Lilly!
Becca at SunnySanguinity is not only planning a 10k in the next few months, but she’ll be training for it while moving from the US to Germany!
Debbie at DanglingontheEdge has a couple of half-marathons coming up, and is thinking about doing her first full in October (you can do it Debbie!)
Lisa at SoberIdentity recently enjoyed her first long run back after going through her strict medical detox, yay Lisa!
NoMoreMerlot will be running 100 miles, yes, one-hundred miles, in less than two weeks in one of the world’s most prestigious endurance races. Good luck, good health, and good weather to you NMM! You’re a rockstar!
MrsD is tempted to join in the running, but for now is going to stick with her pilates, pump and cardio-max (You rock, Mrs D, keep it up!)
and Carrie at CarrieOnSober is celebrating 100 days sober today! That in itself is a marathon of a lifetime. Congrats Carrie!
PLAN AND GOAL:
Last week’s goal was 5 runs for a total of 25 miles — TIRED, BUT DONE!
This week’s plan calls for another 5 runs: Tuesday (3), Wednesday (5), Thursday (3), Saturday (5), Sunday (6). Hot-damn and hallelujah–my first step-back week! All runs are the same, except for Sunday’s, when I drop from 9 to 6 to give my body a little break.
Did you meet your goals last week? What’s your plan this week? Feel free to jump in anytime, even if just for a week; remember, we all gotta start somewhere!
Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others? What helps you, or doesn’t help, in that regard?
Want to play DJ for a week and come up with a varied 5 – 10 song playlist (with at least one dancing song)? Have a favorite work-out song? Comment or e-mail me.
Don’t forget I keep a page solely for running music featured on my blog. Find it HERE.
Citizen Cope — Son’s Gonna Rise
Justin Timberlake — What Goes Around
Dirty Vegas — Days Go By (remember this from that old Mitsubishi commercial? there’s another car commercial song on the list… anyone? Bueller?)
Gin Wigmore — Black Sheep (love her. reminds me slightly of Amy.)
Carl Carlton — She’s a Bad Mama Jama
Imelda May — Johnny Got a Boom Boom
The Steepwater Band — Dance Me a Number
Arctic Monkeys — I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
Hitch dancing scene “Just expressing myself.” “Noooo. Noooo. Not like that you’re not.”
DJ Schmolli — Ode to Rock ‘N’ Roll (All I can say is THANK GOD they didn’t have cell phone cameras when I was in college. Love the Henry Rollins intro. Not sure what’s up with Crazy Eyes at 1:40–did I miss that dance?) (Check out Schmolli’s blog HERE, his work kicks ass!)
If you’d like to listen to all songs on a loop, I set up a playlist on youtube HERE:
* No, I don’t condone acts of violence. Unless someone calls me fat.
** Unless otherwise credited, all photos from I <3 To Run.
*** Stay tuned for a special surprise next week. Let’s just say the miracle, I mean the surprise, is around the corner.
- Marathon Training (girlandpavement.wordpress.com)
- Training For Your First Marathon (26.2 miles – 42.2 kilometers) (njmarathon.wordpress.com)
- From 13.1 to 26.2 (fitfunfemme.com)
- To Run or Not to Run (stumblingwithperseverance.wordpress.com)
- Running Tall (rununiversity.wordpress.com)
- “Comparison Is the Thief of Joy” (lifehacker.com)
- The Thief of Joy (equalpartsofawhole.wordpress.com)
- Kara Goucher’s National Running Day Playlist (runnersworld.com)