Today was a rough day at the gym. I haven’t really ran for about four months. I thought the time off would help the arthritis in my hip and the swelling in my right leg. Even though I cut out running I didn’t stop exercising completely. Over the winter I got a lot of snowshoeing in, started yoga and started strengthening exercises for my hip. The yoga is going really well and I can do it right at home. My hip seems to be getting a little stronger but I still have a long way to go. (And snowshoeing is always awesome!) The swelling is a little bit more under control now. So, I felt ready to try running today. I really hyped myself up since I am signed up for a 5k next weekend. Obviously, I should have been training for a lot longer than a week but I don’t want to injure myself more either. Since this race is shorter than most I thought it would be perfect for my 1st race of the year. If you would have asked me at mile 2.04 if I was ready for this race I probably would have thrown-up on you and then started crying like a baby. Here, let me set the scene.
After working on some of the machines at the gym I hopped on that nasty treadmill. I really wanted to make sure I could even get through the required amount of miles for this race. I told myself that I was not getting off of the treadmill until I was done. Things started out pretty good for me. I felt confident, nobody at the gym was judgy and my body didn’t feel like it was going to crumble. Before I finished the first mile things started going downhill fast. I kept looking at my time; knowing that I was way far behind what I usually am. I am pretty sure I was sweating so fiercely that I was slippery because I had to adjust my clothing a lot. Then the cool runner breathing turned into heavy panting. I tried talking myself into staying on. I told myself that if I didn’t finish today I couldn’t have the t-shirt from the race next weekend. (Why race if you don’t get a swag bag??) At the end I was swearing at myself, sweating and breathing so loudly I could hear myself over my music. I pushed through until I hit 2.04 miles. I shut the treadmill off and proclaimed to personal trainer that I was done. Then he said an awful sentence. “It’s 2.30 not 2.03 miles. Ugh!! I just could not imagine getting back on that treadmill. Maybe I was tricking myself or it was my bad math skills but I had convinced myself that I was done. Instead of doing the right thing I just said “I’m done!” and walked over to the ab machine.
During my time on the ab machine my bad math skills and willingness to quit were eating at me. I knew that I would be so mad at myself if I didn’t finish. Even though my time was horrible I needed to finish. Plus the whole t-shirt thing. I mean really, a t-shirt and swag bag at a race is comparable to getting a toy in a cereal box as a child. So, I hopped back on that treadmill and ran the last .26 out. It felt so good to finish.
Now, 2.30 miles might not seem like a lot. Heck, it doesn’t even seem like a lot to me. But at that moment, on that treadmill it seemed like 10 miles. I really thought my biggest gym fear would come true and I would fall on my face on the treadmill. Then all of the fit people in their sports bras and bicycle shorts would come and poke at me to see if I was still alive. Luckily, my nightmare still lives in my head and I was able to stay up-right today.
All kidding aside, today is definitely going in the win column. Not because of my time or my physical appearance. It’s because I came back and finished. Never in my life did I think I would run for sport. When I pictured myself running it was to get a good deal at the mall or escaping a predator. But now things have changed. Exercising makes me feel great physically and mentally. Because of my arthritis and swelling I may not be able to do as much as I would like. But I am not quitting. If there comes a time when I can’t do 5k’s anymore I will find something else. Arthritis, cancer and lack of lymph nodes will not win. Whether you have to take a break or reconfigure your plan; if it’s something you love then keep going. There are things in life that you just have to finish.