I Choose to Run

Posted September 14th, 2011 by Jean, a.k.a. Stimey in Fitness, Health

I used to be a runner.

I mean, I wasn’t a marathoner or anything, but I was someone who would run 15 to 20 miles a week and who could run six miles in an hour and still feel pretty okay.

I worked out up to mere days before the births of my first two children. I ran a 12K race up and down San Francisco streets six months after my first son was born. I loved the way it made me feel.

Then inertia gripped me with her warm, cozy hands and told me tales of a lifestyle full of sitting on couches and not running up and down flights of stairs, which I used to do not because I left my bowl of ice cream upstairs, but because it was good exercise. That inertia is trouble, man.

This marriage with inertia has led me to a place where when I look at my life, the one thing that stands out that makes me unhappy is my lack of fitness. Here’s the great thing about this unhappiness though: I can change it; I can become more fit. Hopefully if I do, my husband will stop telling me that I’m not very jolly for a fat person—and my follow-up with a punch to his gut will be stronger.

Which brings us to my current effort to run every day that my kids are in school. I put my running clothes right next to my bed, so I can roll out of bed in the morning, tie up my shoes, drop my kids at school, and hit the treadmill. If you see me at 2 p.m. still in track pants, you know I failed in my running goal for the day.

I started by queuing up all 23 discs of The Wire in my Netflix account, dusted off my treadmill, did some stretching, and set off for Day One of Project Improvement. This is how it went:

Minute One: I am awesome! I feel great! I am going to run my way into fitness!

Minute Three: I. Am. Going. To. Die.

Here’s something you may not know—if you don’t exercise for six years, that first step back on the treadmill will likely hurl you off the back into a bookshelf. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I think you can imagine how that first workout went from there. About 25 minutes into my run, which was rapidly turning into a run/walk, I started wishing that I’d begun my running regimen with Entourage, or any other half-hour show on the planet, up to and including Two and a Half Men, which I would have happily watched if it meant I could have gotten off of the treadmill at 22 minutes.

Note: I do not endorse watching Two and a Half Men as an exercise technique or, really, for any other purpose.

At 45 minutes, when I realized that The Wire was an HBO show and therefore has no commercial breaks, meaning I had to keep moving for a full hour instead of just 42 minutes, I started to cry.

Okay, I didn’t cry, but I was a little sad. And I might have said some curse words.

Here’s the thing though: I kept moving for a full hour. Then I did the same thing the next day and the next day. And I hope to keep doing it. Sure, I only traveled three miles in that hour instead of six, but that’s three miles more than I traveled last week.

Now that I’ve broken up with Inertia, I have to find a way to start a relationship with Perseverance. I’m awesome at starting things, less good at following through. That’s why I’m watching a multi-season TV show to keep me interested.

By the time I work my way through The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy, I figure that I’ll be down at least a couple of dress sizes and be able to run to the school bus stop without breaking a sweat—and probably have picked up a nasty drug habit, based on my entertainment of choice.

I want this to stick this time. I need this to stick this time. Clearly my desperate attempt to blend couch potato with runner shows you this? And before you say “Go outside,” I should let you know that I’m not ready to run with (or near) The People yet. Maybe by spring.

Because by spring? I’m going to have to find a new thing to be unhappy about.

Stimey writes a personal blog at Stimeyland; an autism-events website for Montgomery County, Maryland, at AutMont; and a column called Autism Unexpected in the Washington Times Communities. You can find her on Twitter as @Stimey.



27 Responses to “I Choose to Run”

  1. Sandie

    What a great post. I honestly thought I was going to die when I rode my bike with the two kids in the trailer, and all I did was maybe a 1.5-mile loop before collapsing and thinking I was going to have a heart attack! Can’t wait to see the svelter Jean!

  2. kristen

    You go girl! I love this. I should break up with Inertia too. You’ve inspired me.

  3. MCM Mama

    Good for you!! And there’s nothing wrong with run/walk. In fact, it’s a great way to start building up your endurance. I’d recommend starting the walking part earlier and actually have it as part of your plan.

    Good luck at keep it up. I know you can do it.

  4. Joeymom

    You know what will be really awesome? Your inspiration to me to get off my buttocks and do my morning walk again. Because I want to go down a couple dress sizes, too. Who do you think will get down a dress size first?

  5. Alysia

    You rock my friend! I’m in. Time to take care of me. Ignore this house of mess and clean up the me of mess (or something like that). It’s that first day back again that scares me. Last time I ran was October, after my first 5K. I feared starting again, but you’ve showed me that I.Can.Do.It.
    (but I’ll do it without Two and a Half Men…more like Hootie and the Blowfish for me)

  6. Niksmom

    You are my inspiration. I gotta ditch the Inertia and break out of the cocoon of coziness. *sigh* I know I will feel better for it, too.

  7. Roberta

    However you have to get it done, just get it done. No shame in the treadmill & the TV, if that’s what gets it done. Also, multitasking, FTW! You will be fit AND caught up with pop culture!

  8. Michelle

    I wish I was a runner. I’ve tried, I really have! So I settled for walking, which I did faithfully through the summer. Now, however, Inertia has found me and I need to break up with her.

  9. Elaine

    I hadn’t realized inertia had been cheating on me by hanging out with you. I need to dump his ass as well. My midwife told me a few weeks ago that my job before seeing her again was to come up with an exercise plan that I could reliably execute. I biked to work yesterday. I worked from home today – but not just because I didn’t want to bike again.

  10. Running Waist Pack

    Goodbye Inertia! Hello Sunshine! and the great outdoors. Thanks for inspiring us to get moving and it’s been great to see more of the beautiful outdoor world!

  11. Vickie

    Good for you! I am hoping to break up with my own Inertia soon. Very soon. (Just as soon as the dang bus company gets its schedule straight!)

  12. Korta

    That’s fantastic! I always tell myself I’ll exercise, but there’s always a “good reason” not to… I really should just buckle down and do it. It’s just so hard, and SO boring (and I don’t even really like to watch TV, so that won’t help). Okay, enough excuses from me, I will sit in awe of your new fit physique! : )

    • Jean, a.k.a. Stimey

      I am lucky to have a chunk of time when all my kids are in school, so at least I don’t have to fight for that. But it is still SO very hard. What I do know is that I feel so, so good after I run.

  13. Amy from Occupation: Mommy

    So great! I was doing really well going to the gym this summer. Somehow it’s been harder with the kids in school. I don’t know why, but I feel bad leaving my little guy in the gym babysitting without his sissies to take care of him. I know, get over it!

  14. michal

    You rock! I need to do the same thing. Hopefully, I can take after you and get moving! Keep it up. I am going to mop my kitchen floor now…hey, does that count as cardio?

  15. Lisa R.

    Right there with you on the treadmill and TV! (Well, for me, it’s treadmill in winter and outside in summer, but we only get about 2 weeks of that.) And I alternate between running and machine torture so there’s always a need for something to be queued up on Netflix. I’m currently halfway through the 24 archives and loving it. All that chasing business!

  16. Stacy Kravitz

    Dude, that is totally effing awesome! ONE HOUR on your first day?!
    I hope to see you at a few 5Ks in the coming months. Hot Chocolate 5K, maybe?

  17. MyLifeAsItIs

    I love running too, but I’m really picky about the weather. I get my groove going and run at a respectable distance and time, and then summer comes with heat, humidity and gnats. Then same for fall and winter gets in the way with cold and icy patches.