I am worse than a couch potato, really.
That's because I don't even watch TV. Or needlepoint. Or even just lay around. I have no good excuse for my complete dislike of movement. Other than being uncoordinated, easily distracted, the mother of two small children, the employee of one busy job, the owner of two untrained dogs, the wife of one loving husband. Not that you'd asked or anything.
Truth is, I've ridden my Metabolism Train for a good thirty-something years now; I can still hear the voice of my mother as I stuffed my teenage mouth and my string bean body with every kind of chocolate I could purchase with my meager allowance - "it's going to catch up with you", she'd said, my mother, the soothsayer.
Well, catch up to me it did. In fact, once it caught me, it attached itself to me like a bad first date; to my butt, my thighs and most recently, my belly. Yowza. Nothing like looking postpartum with a three year old in tow.
I can blame my metabolism and my big 4-0 coming up fast and furious in a few months; I can blame my love of cheese and chocolate and bread and my childhood addiction to my Bubbie's potato salad. And then there's the fact that the only role exercise has ever played in my life has been that of an unfortunate chore, like cleaning out the attic or dusting the house fans: incidental, a nuisance, infrequent at best.
But, some things can only be ignored for so long. Around the end of 2009, I pushed aside the Tootsie Roll wrappers long enough to take a good look at my figure. A pear shape that once was kind of juicy is now all the wrong texture and just entirely too pear-y. The thighs are getting a bit too acquainted. I keep losing pants that decide they are just not up for the zipper fight. And the belly, well, we already covered that.
So I called Nikki, a personal trainer who'd punished me, I mean trained me, in times of need before, and immediately wired her a big fat check before I could change my mind. I told her the time had come, I was serious. Let's go at this Rocky style, I told her, I can just carry you around on my back or something and you can yell insults at me.
That's how it works, right?
Anyway, on January 4th, I showed up at our appointed meeting and sweet Nikki had the nerve to be pregnant so I couldn't even really resent her as she put me through the running, sweating, dips, planks, sit ups, weights and other assorted torture she must lay awake at night inventing. We've been meeting twice a week since then, six weeks completed now and somewhere along the way I committed to running a relay half marathon with my naturally in shape and healthy and can eat anything husband, on March 14th.
The good news: I can now run 3.5 miles (in 5 minute running, 1 minute walking increments). The race is in four weeks and I'll need to run 6 miles so I'm ramping up for that each week, tacking on mileage painfully; the fact that I am covering 3.5 miles while not behind the wheel of an automobile is mind blowing and I have to say it feels pretty good. Especially when it's over.
The bad news: I have not lost a single pound.
That's right, folks, not a single pound. My jeans are a bit friendlier though. Underwear too.
So, I decided to do what I always do when I'm struggling, write. Trying to start this blog, I couldn't get the Running To 40 blog title, so I took Running 240. That's when the brainstorm occured: why don't I run 240 miles between now and my birthday? Some quick math indicated this would be 10.9 miles a week for five months. I could do that, right?
Somehow, it made me feel as though I am running toward the milestone that feels much bigger than it should. And I'm hoping it'll help me take my eyes off my thighs and onto the pavement. And around to the rest of the world.
Today was my first outside run. Up until now, it's just been me and the treadmill. It was beautiful out and when I was finishing, my husband, my three year old son and my six year old daughter were outside playing. When they saw me running toward them, they started clapping and cheering, like it was the last leg of the Olympic torch. My son ran toward me and grabbed my hand in his, pulling me the rest of the way home.
The first 3.29 miles of 240: check.