I knew when I embarked upon this “learning how to run” thing that it was going to be hard. I hadn’t gone running in five years, and only then because it was required warm-up in high school gym class. I knew I was horribly out of shape. I knew I was in for a rough road.
It is SO HARD. Like, really hard.
I’m still in the beginning of the program, and so each workout thus far consists of things like 1:30 of jogging then 2:00 of walking. Each time I’m in the jogging portion…it’s a constant battle of wills. I’m thinking “I cannot do this. I should be locked up in an asylum since clearly I’m insane for for even thinking I could do this. This is torture. I never knew a minute-and-a-half could be so long. Seriously. This is forever. Is this app broken? I really can’t do this. I am certifiably nuts. Is that a cramp I feel coming on? Oh. My. God. HOW AM I NOT DONE YET?”
During one running stretch, I decided that this program was clearly too difficult and thus, I was setting myself up for failure. Then I remembered that the program, Couch to 5K, was literally designed for people like me. For out of shape people. I started picturing people in their 50s who are 60-70 pounds overweight doing this program successfully. Oh God, and I bet they don’t need to stop jogging after 1 whole minute because they’re out of breath. How pathetic. After thinking this, I got mad at myself. I felt embarrassed that I was struggling so much, physically and mentally. Then I felt a little ashamed at the shape I was in.
To keep going, I think about having that svelte body that I’ve been wanting for the last 7-8 years but never worked for. I think about how I am fully paid for two 5K races and have no other choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Then I put on Beyonce. At one point, in the midst of a jogging portion that found me about to quit with 30 seconds left and skip to the walking part, “Run the World” came on. And I thought “Hmm. She’s not saying ‘walk the world.’ She’s saying ‘RUN the world.’ KEEP GOING!!!” Oh, yeah. I was desperate.
I’d always heard or seen about how the mental battle is usually the most difficult. But I’ve never really done anything before that’s too challenging where I experience this adage firsthand. It’s sad, but true, I’ve never done anything to really challenge myself mentally. Now, I have. Keeping myself motivated, keeping myself going forward and not letting myself feel defeated really is a huge battle. And what’s even sadder is that I’m not sure that I could have done this in previous years. Sure, I wanted desperately to lose weight. But I wasn’t committed to fixing my diet and eating habits. I wasn’t committed to figuring out a fitness plan and learning to live healthier. I knew what it would take to lose weight. But I wasn’t motivated enough and wasn’t ready to work hard. I just wished that I was.
Now I am. I’m committed and motivated in this battle, in this journey. Obviously it’s not easy and I do debate quitting every 30 seconds when I actually am running, but I haven’t quit yet. I’ve definitely had big mental assists from the encouraging words I get here (seriously, you guys rock), on other blogs I follow, and also the words of motivation from the amazing Nicole.
I’m profoundly lazy and that’s why I’m struggling with these early, difficult running days. Like I was in previous years, I just want to be in that place where running is easy. I want to be in that place where I can buy cute clothes for my new, slim figure. I want to be in that place where I feel more confident. I don’t want to be in this horribly embarrassing place where running for 90 whole seconds is difficult. I don’t like having to stare down and actually face the horrible shape I’ve let my body slide into over the years.
And by the end of each workout , I’m exhausted because I’ve just finished a difficult physical battle and an even more difficult mental battle.
But the feeling at the end? Where I feel so triumphant? Overcomes any of that exhaustion. Eventually, I will get there. Just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.