Monday, August 12, 2013
Knowing when to be a quitter
In February, I joined a gym.
In late February, I signed my brother and myself up for a 5k in August. I thought that it would be a good idea. I thought that it would be the right motivation to get me moving and physically active. I really thought that with months, literally six months of "training" I would be able to will my body to run 3.1 miles. My brother, who is Captain Fitness these days can run a 5k in 22 minutes. I should have known that I was in trouble from the start.
First let's talk about my accomplishments:
When I started in March, I could not run more than one minute on the treadmill without gasping for air and thinking that I was going to die. I started slow. Now, I can run a mile in 13:00 and think that in a few weeks, I can do a 12 minute mile and not be dead. For me, that's going to be pretty fast.
I can regularly, on a treadmill, jog for 30 minutes. I don't enjoy it, and it hurts really bad, but I can do it.
Three weeks ago, I actually did a 5k at the gym and it took me 46 minutes exactly, where I jogged 30 total minutes and walked 16 total minutes. It killed me and I could not walk for three days after, but I did it. I thought that I was there.
I've been lifting weights and am seeing some muscles slowly appear in places they haven't been for quite some time. A month ago, I did lift an 80 pound bag of dry cement out of my car, so I was pretty proud of that.
Now, lets talk about the rest:
In the six months that I have been exercising and trying (admittedly not as hard as I could or should) to watch what I eat, I haven't lost a single pound. That, all you skinny, "I've taken up running and lost 30 pounds" people, really ticks me off.
I hate running. My body hates running. I've had ankle problems, my right knee has ballooned to twice the size of my left knee, I douse myself in icy hot before I go to bed at night, and my back hurts sometimes...but that might be because I sleep weird, and not because of exercise.
I knew that running on the treadmill was very different than running outside. People have been telling me for weeks that it is SO MUCH EASIER to run outside. So, last week I tried it. Granted, I started out up hill, but I died. I ended up walking most of my "run" and when I got home, I was defeated, and soaking wet with sweat. I decided to give it a couple of days, go back to the gym and then try it again.
The "try it again" was Saturday morning. I got ready and walked to the park by my house. It has a track. I know that about three times around the track is a mile and I know that I can easily run a mile on the treadmill so my goal was to make it 6 laps, jogging as much as I could.
After three laps I came home. In tears. I was defeated.
I am not a runner.
I am not a runner!
In three laps, my hands and fingers swelled to twice their size. The neuropathy in my feet was so painful that I lost all feeling in the toes on my right foot. My heel pain (caused by diabetes) was so intense that I was on my tippy toes...tippy toes of numb toes. My knee was swollen and I was hurting.
I felt so stupid.
Once home, I pouted for a while. I shed a few more tears. "Running" is supposed to be easy. Everyone is a "runner". I'm not a quitter. I thought that if I put my mind to something, I could do it.
After a good long shower and an even longer look at myself in the mirror I came to a few conclusions.
1 - There are a lot of things I am good at. Running is not one of them. I will no longer try to run more than a mile on a treadmill.
2 - I need to find a new exercise plan because my current plan hurts my broken body and isn't giving me any tangible, motivational results.
3 - I will walk the 5k.
4 - I tried at something that was really hard for me and I was not good at, and I made progress. I still am not good at it but I should be proud of my progress because I'm healthier now than I was 6 months ago.
5 - I am not quitting exercise, but I am quitting "running".
6 - It's okay to fail at something. It sucks and it is embarrassing, but it is okay.
As I was talking to my family around the dinner table on Sunday afternoon, I shared my thoughts on this whole experience and told them that I was thinking about my grandmas and, if my grandmothers were alive...
My Grandma P. would say to me, "Well, you tried and you gave it your best and you should be proud of all your hard work."
My Grandma Huber would look me in the eye, laugh a little and say, "Well, I don't know why the hell you signed up for something that dumb anyway!"
Yes Grandma dears....you are both right.