Turns out, I did not have the stamina to keep up with pain-whore bitch Jillian Michaels. Well, that's not entirely true--I was doing fine, but got a cold and then life took over. Illness, family vacation, an apparently far too booked social life for me and the three-year old. It became such a hassle to carve out 20 minutes during the day because I always found myself saying, "Sure! We can go to the Farmer's Market! I can always do my workout later!" Because honestly, after the first few times, Ethan grew pretty tired of the whole "making my muscles" thing. And would do things like try to sit on my back while I was doing push-ups. Perhaps Jillian would have approved of such weight training, but my back did not. So, doing the work out during Ethan's waking hours proved too annoying (and perhaps I grew bored by it, too, and am using his boredom as an excuse? could it be????)
I did, however, participate in a 5K towards the end of April and through it, I found what I want to do in terms of exercise. I want to run. The 5K was our synagogue's main annual fundraiser and I hemmed and hawed over participating for days. In early March when I heard about it, the moms and I talked about it and I said, "Oh, absolutely I'm doing it!" As though I was a runner. Ha.
The morning of the race, I laid in bed wondering, as I used to as a kid in junior high, if anything on my body hurt enough to merit staying bed---avoiding the race (or, as the kid in junior high, school). But that day, as all those years before, there was no pain or illness present, and so I hauled myself out of bed and drove to the race.
I'm not a runner. I have massive calves that have always drawn questions (even from random strangers) about whether or not I took ballet, or what I ran in track. My answer? Um. No. No ballet. No track. Nothing remotely athletic---just genetics. But the questions have always led me to ask myself, "could I?" I mean, clearly ballet is out of the question---there is little market for a 165lb, pushing 38-year old ballerina out there. Let's talk a minute to imagine that. It's a little bit hilarious.
But running? I could do that, right? I mean, sure I'm out of breath before the end of the first block and can see my heart beating through my sports bra after the first lap. But I mean, those are things I can work on, right? Run a little, then walk a little, then run a little more, then walk a little less, and so on....
And so that's what I did. When the race started (to the sound of a shofar blowing. I kid you not), I took off slowly, setting my eyes to a mailbox at the end of the block----I'll run to that mailbox, I told myself. And I did. Then I'd walk until I could take a good, deep breath, and then I'd take off again, finding another point in the distance to challenge myself with.
My time wasn't great. 45 minutes for a 5k. I probably walked almost as much as a I ran. But I finished it. And I still have my number pinnie and the little "medal" I received at the finish line as a reminder---I can do this. I might not be skinny, or even get skinny doing this. But with running, it's not about that. With every other exercise I've tried (with the exception of yoga), the end result is the weight loss---that's the entire focus, so if the weight doesn't come off---I give up.
Running isn't about losing the weight. It's about going a little farther each time, just like how in yoga, it's about getting deeper into the pose and the breathing each time. Same thing. It's a challenge of endurance, not calorie-burning. The focus on the breathing and the fluidity of the motion remind me so much of yoga, it just feels natural to me.
Right now I am dealing with a 3-week old cough that has kept me from doing anything but walking lately. The doctor prescribed me an inhaler to help my "irritated bronchial tubes" relax and breathe easier. It couldn't happen at a worse time, a time when I want to really be out there, on the pavement, challenging myself to run a few steps further. But whatever. I'll get there.
If you follow my other blog, Life @ Forty-Five Degrees, you know that Husband and I have been trying to have a baby for almost a year and a half. We're giving it a few more months of fertility treatments and if we're not pregnant, we're done trying. While I want more than anything to have another baby and I'd happily deal with the weight gain and the bed rest and all of that if it meant I could have another healthy child, I have set a goal for myself if that shouldn't happen. I've promised myself that if we are not pregnant by September, I will be prepared to run a 10K by what would have been my due date if I had conceived in August. So much of trying to get pregnant and fertility treatments is giving over your body to the process and to the professionals. If I end up unable to conceive another child, I want to do something for myself and by myself that reclaims my body and my mind. I think I know now that running can do that.