I went out for a run today. This is something I’ve not done since Ray got back from Europe over a month ago, and again, I’m back to square one with my body. Honestly, and I have to always be honest here, I’m back to square one in a lot of ways. The weight I lost while living under extreme conditions at my ex-boyfriend’s house is back. All of it, plus some. I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone that I once had under my flesh. I’m not able to breathe as well as I once was. Two miles of running today was a bit of a huge slap in the face.
What I’ve realized, though, is this: I run out of anxiety. When my life is a nervous wreck, I run. When I feel trapped, lost, angry, upset, worried, frantic, or all of the above, I run. This is a habit I developed way back when, going on nearly twenty years ago, when I felt my life crashing down around me as an undergrad at college. My grades sucked. I was depressed (and closeted). I was broke. I had no friends. What I did have, though, was time, and a body I could seriously abuse. I couldn’t control the things around me, but I could control how I looked. The added bonus that came with running was the endorphins that I needed to forget all of my worries. With running, I could channel all of that nervous energy into one more step, one more hill, one more mile.
While Ray was gone to Europe, I was super nervous about what he was up to, and how much of an effect the trip was going to have on our relationship. Instead of just waiting and seeing what happened, I took to the pavement. It’s really no surprise that I ran my fastest 10k ever while he was gone. I was that upset and worried. When I was living under Cal’s roof (my ex-boyfriend), the stress of not having a job, no income, and after he broke it off with me, no support system, it’s not a shock that I used to run upwards of 10 to 11 miles a few times a month (and was down thirty or so pounds from where I was when I arrived in Portland).
I need to redefine my reasons for running. Today, as I huffed and puffed my way through a mere two miles – a test to see just how far I’d fallen – I found myself seeking a better answer to why I run. I need to remember that the work I put in now, the way I treat my body now, will carry me forward to forty and beyond. I need to develop this habit in a healthy way, and not as a means to escape or not face issues in my life. I also need to untie my connection of body shape/size with self-worth and self-respect. The truth is, I have a loving man in my life who, on more than one occasion, has expressed his concerns for my health and that he wants me around in his life for a good long time. I want to be in his life for as long as well, and I don’t want to be broken down and unable to do the things we enjoy doing – travel, hiking, camping, etc.
Today was a test. A check-in with myself. I can still run under a 10-minute mile, but I certainly need to expend far more effort in doing so because I’m heavier, and weaker. I need to combat my sedentary sit-down job. I need to also look at my diet and take that side of my life seriously too. I’ve got bad eating habits that need to stop – I’m a total grazer, and will eat a lot of little bits between meals. I need to reconfigure all of this if I mean to actually make the goals I set out for myself. I have less than two years now, and it’s gotta happen. I will be Fit by Forty.