Rewind: I used to weigh 40 pounds more than I do. I decided I didn’t want to weigh that much anymore, so I started doing this thing called “exercise.” Namely, running. Well, running/walking.
It was tough. In a matter of about 6 months, though, I went from getting winded from climbing stairs to being 40 pounds lighter. After almost a year, I was putting in about 20 miles a week on walk/runs.
I saw the results, I felt good, but I always struggled with the fact that I wasn’t “good” at running. You see, even if I was comfortably putting in 5-6 miles in a single “run” I never ran the whole thing. In fact, it was rare that I ever even ran a whole mile without a walking break.22 years of living with severe asthma made it harder for me to condition my lungs for endurance. I’m a very Type-A person, so sometimes it can be difficult for me to enjoy things when I don’t think I’m doing them good enough.
I’ve just never ever felt like I was “good enough” at running. Even at my best.
Then I got bronchitis. Twice.
And then I got even worse at running. As in, completely back to square one. And my body had changed. What used to be toned was soft. I didn’t gain weight — in fact, I lost some because of losing muscle mass. But I didn’t have the shape and the innate feeling of strength I’d had. When you’re in shape, it just feels like your body responds to demands so much easier.
I never felt good at running, but being back at square one was discouraging. I struggled to get back into it, off and on, for months. Sometime in September, I realized I had gotten to the point where it was starting to be enjoyable again. I reached a place where I could run 3/4 of a mile without having to walk — something I hadn’t done in a long time.
Then I had to stop again. This time, because of heart problems. After a roller coaster of doctor appointments, phone calls, prescription changes, and no exercise or caffeine, I found out my heart is fine. It was a bad prescription, and I’d be able to start back into it.
But, I’m back at square one again. I almost don’t want to start again. I know it’s going to hurt and I know it’s going to take a long time to get to a place where I’m starting to feel in control. But I also know because of how my body works, I will probably never be the runner who does a 10k without walking breaks. I’ll never be a “good runner” who takes the best time in their age group. I may never run more than a mile without a walking break.
And I have to learn to be okay with that. Because honestly, even being “bad” at running is better than not doing it at all. I like who I am better when I take care of myself — even if it means my “runs” are actually run/walks and my best is lightyears away from the runners who inspire me to get back into it (like DeEtta Bohling, who has ALWAYS been an awesome mentor and encourager).
In addition to being okay with not being “good” at running, it’s also my responsibility to learn how to improve what I can. The last time I got into a good groove, I was working on pacing and conformation. How was I stepping, and how often, and how could I make the most of it without draining myself? It’s my job to ask questions, talk to mentors, plug into #RunChat, and work at improving — while accepting that if I’m only running to be “good” at it then maybe I’m not doing it for the right reasons.
(To those folks who find the thrill in being good at it, good for you. Don’t stop. But I can’t motivate myself that way.)
All that said…in an odd way…I still kind of love it. And that’s why I always end up coming back to it. No matter how “bad” I am.
On that note, I’m going to go put on a Christmas cat dress and prepare for a charity ugly sweater pub crawl. That’s for another post, though.