I ran on the treadmill again today. My husband bought me “real” running shoes last week, and I am amazed at the difference it’s made for my running attempts! No bleeding or blistered toes! I feel so great! (Except for the chafed thighs – TMI, I know. I even have the Body Glide stuff, but forgot to use it…sigh…)
I hated running as a kid. I sucked at basketball because of the running part! I could shoot baskets, but I hated the running back and forth to get to the stupid hoop. I think I could have been a star baseball player except for the running the bases part. Hell, a woman my mom’s age (we played on a team together) CAUGHT up to me by the time we hit home plate when she hit the ball and I was on 1st…I was 17 at the time)! Sad, very sad.
I’m not fast. I don’t go very far (10 KM is my furthest). But each time, I love it more. This morning, I pushed myself to go faster than I normally do. Last weekend, it was a push to go further. Sweat pours down my my face and my heart pounds. And I run. The music plays. And I run. I stare at the blank screen in front of me, lost in my thoughts. Lost in my breathing, lost in the music. And I run some more.
I remembered the woman from 5 years ago. The one that was 20 lbs heavier than this one. The one that couldn’t even walk a km or up the stairs without running out of breath. The one that hated everything about herself. My words were cruel and mean. A look in the mirror was met with a glare and disgust. My thoughts were full of resentment and anger. All. The. Time.
Then…a thought…a small voice…a change…a decision. I decided to ask my best friend to walk with me. Walk in the 2 day, 60 KM Weekend to End Breast Cancer. That was April 2007 when we decided to do something. That first training walk had us short of breath, wondering what the hell were we thinking. But…there were two of us and we needed a change. The small voice begged me for something more. And so we walked. Two other friends joined us and the voice grew stronger.
Those first steps were so much more than training. They were the steps towards something so much bigger. My children’s support shirts say, “My Mom Walks to Save Lives”. It was my own life that I was saving. I had no idea how close I was to the edge. How my hatred had consumed the woman inside me. How it had poisoned my life. How I was dying inside.
Since then, I’ve walked many, many more KM’s. I’ve ridden my bike even more KM’s than that. I’ve pushed myself to try new things that get my heart pounding and my muscles working – even dancing! It is a part of my life. A part of me. It is not something I do “to lose weight”. It is something I do to live. And now I run.
I feel the strength in my legs and my arms. I bound up the stairs. I smile when the doctor comments about the strength of my heart. I enjoy a vitality that I had as a kid. I have energy to be with my kids.
I look in that mirror and see what my husband sees. My eyes see the difference. The voice in my head is less hurtful; is more tender. My thoughts are of all the blessings in my life. I am proud of the challenges I put on my body and it does not fail me. I accept the times that it does. I accept the little bit of “muffin top” that is still there. I admire the stretch marks that are proof of my struggles because I work to overcome them. I smile at the “crow’s feet” around my eyes because I have laughed often and long. I admire the strength in my arms as I am able to hold my children; those children look to me as an example of a life worth living.
My New Love Affair? It is not the running or the riding or the working out. It is not even my children or my husband or my friends.
It is ME. The woman I have become and who is still yet to be.
This is one of the songs from my Running Playlist. “Choose Your Race…And then you RUN”