Monday, January 3, 2011

What Keeps Me Going - Running

This is the first in the occasional (read: not regular because who knows when I'll get the next one written) series of "What Keeps Me Going" posts...

What keeps me going with running is the pride I feel in completing a run. For this formerly 256 pound, decidedly non-athletic person to be able to say "I ran 5 (or 10 or 13.1) miles" is just astounding, still, to me. It hasn't gotten old, even after a year of running.

Wanting to make a statement to myself, I ran on January 1, 2010 with my son, Max. I asked him to go running with me because I was embarrassed to get out there all alone - I was sure that my neighbors would be watching me from behind their mini blinds, laughing at the slow woman attempting to run. I huffed and puffed for 20 minutes and at the end, I was quietly pleased and shocked that I actually did it.
January 1, 2010 - about to run with my crazy son Max.

I ran on December 31, 2010 - as regular readers of this blog know, I ran all year, and it was important for me to symbolically close out the year, where I actually followed through with something that was really challenging to me, by going for another run with Max.
December 31, 2010 - some people never change. ;)

Not going to mention that one of us had to quit after the first mile while the other chugged along for another mile...ooh, amazing what difference a year (and hundreds of miles of running) makes!

What also keeps me going with running is the changes I've seen in my body; changes that continue to surprise me, like when my boots zipped easily over my calves recently.

When I began running - when I started doing something that I never did even during the heyday of jogging in the 1970s (and I grew up in California, where jogging was as common as Boston ferns, hot tubs and macrame), I thought "this is IT - for sure, NOW my body will be different." There were times in the beginning that I envisioned myself having a runner's body - long, lean, flat-chested (only those who've endured big boobs their entire adulthood will understand this one)...oh, I was an amazing looking athlete - in my mind. I forgot a couple of things: I'm short. The descriptives "long and lean" will NEVER be applied to me. My thighs, while smaller, are still hefty - just a lesser amount of heft. I finally realized that running would not magically transform me into someone that I'll never be, and I'm OK with that.

Today, a year later, my body is different. It's healthy. My calf muscles are really pretty. My thighs are strong. But I discovered something more important than that...I found out that I can get out there and run for 5 or 10 or 13.1 miles. I can run when it's really cold and also when it's really hot. I can start a race and complete it. A year ago I could barely run more than a mile...and that was done very slowly. I have made huge improvements in my running, and I almost never improve in anything - usually if it "needs improving" I quit. So I'm especially proud of everything that running signifies to me. And the fact that I am proud of myself - well, that keeps me going.

34 comments:

  1. OMG I AM SMITTEN WITH MAX.
    we all know where he gets that personality from.

    love it :)

    and you.
    and your running.
    and the fact YOU are proud of YOU.
    (yes. I was waiting for "my" post and having coffee :))

    Miz.

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  2. What an adorable kid! No wonder - he has an awesome mom! Shelley, you continue to inspire. I love reading about the enthusiasm you have for your new-found life. It's contagious.

    You keep us going, too.

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  3. Wow, you really just started running a year ago? That is some serious progress, Shelley. You SHOULD be absolutely proud of yourself -- and I daresay your body will continue to change the more you run. Go go go Shelley!

    Here's my question for 2011: this year, where are you running TO?

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  4. I loved reading all the positive descriptions you gave your body. So often we only see the negatives and not the positives. I totally get your body image of long, lean, flat chested as a fellow runner who has suffered with bouncing chest issues etc her whole life.

    I run as part of my keep fit routine not to compete except with myself. I bought a heart rate monitor to wear while working out and it really helps I recommend them to all cardio athletes.

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  5. What a difference a year makes! You're amazing, Shelley!

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  6. This is a great post, Shelley. If I hadn't already resolved to get out there and jog, this would make me want to start :)

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  7. Love this... love the pride you feel (well-earned!)... love that Max will run with you... can't wait to see where you end up on December 31, 2011.

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  8. Definitely you Rock!! Real people with real stories are REALLY INSPIRING... Thank You for sharing it with us!

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  9. So exciting. As a former smoker and laziest person EVER I can attest to the fact that it never gets old. Shout your accomplishments to the hilltops. You deserve it ... and you motivate the rest of us!

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey

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  10. Max looks like a character. Hi, Max!

    You *should* be proud of yourself. I know I am. Watching you run that half marathon was one of the most inspirational things I've seen. I can't wait to watch you run new races and make new PRs. It's going to be a great year for you. For BOTH of us. :)

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  11. I think I would want to marry Max if I wasn't already....You are my hero. As long as you keep running I will never stop saying that :)

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  12. Max cracks me up :D

    I think so many of us think of athletes only in terms of those seen on the cover of Sports Illustrated and that is what we are supposed to look like.

    You are an athlete and a runner now.

    I wish long and lean could be applied to me as well, but I am okay with short and stubby most days.

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  13. You're what keeps me going. You and posts like this one. Thanks for taking me along for the ride!

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  14. Hey, you put exercise parentheses around 2010 just like Cammy did. ;-)

    Your enthusiasm is contagious.

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  15. That's a great way to bookend a year. So did you start 2011 with a run too?

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  16. Loved reading this post from beginning to end . . .the point being "Just Do It." Getting out there when its too hot/too cold, running farther than you thought you ever could - you made great strides (no pun intended!) in 2010, and can't wait to see what 2011 brings. :D

    p.s. Hope Max stays weird - too cute!

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  17. Love, love, love this post! You have much to be proud of, congrats! Here's to another year of running!!

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  18. I am beyond proud of you, girl!!! You have done so well, and I'm so happy I've been there to watch part of that journey! Bring on Austin! :-D

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  19. Proud of you!!! You have done great!!!
    Just looking at that picture from June 2008, I would hardly even believe that is you!

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  20. Great post Shelley, so positive!

    I'm proud of you too, I've watched you take your first steps in running and look today: you already did a half, you've passed me somewhere along the way but I don't mind. I'm proud to be catched up by you.

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  21. Max...whistle whistle ;-).
    Shelley, you have done so many great things, you have come so far and I am so very proud of you, and what's even better is that I know that you are so very proud of you, which is FANTASTIC!
    Happy New year my friend, thank you for your continued support as I try to dig myself out of the rough patches once again ;-).

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  22. What an excellent metaphor for life, as well...
    We really can do hard things!

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  23. I love this. I feel like I asked you yesterday how to keep it going and it was like you answered me.
    As for big boobs, this is an email subject for you.
    As for never being long and lean, hysterical!
    You look awesome my friend, I am tearing up just thinking about your year.

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  24. Can't wait to see what trails you blaze this year Shelley!

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  25. I love this post. As usual you are so funny and an inspiration.

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  26. so instead of "Slow Children Playing" you needed "Slow Woman Running"? signs?

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  27. I can totally relate to this post. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  28. Love, love love, that post. Inspirational. Thank-you!

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  29. You TOTALLY should be proud of yourself. I know I didn't read you all year, but did most of it and saw how you pushed yourself. You are wonderful and amazing and I'm glad to "know" you! Keep it up! Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

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  30. I commend you for all those early mornings you didn't give yourself the option. You should feel very proud!

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  31. I love it all, especially the boots zipping part!!! Proud of yourself? Hell yes. And Max is, too, obviously :)

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  32. Hi, I just followed the link from Tina's blog and read this post. I have to say that you are such an inspiration. I've been debating training for a half-marathon for this summer, and after reading this, I know that if you can do it so can I! Thanks for putting this wonderful, body-positive, healthy message out into the world. :) Also, your son cracks me up. :)

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  33. I just want to say Kudos! to your running this year! It's really hard to get up in the morning and move when your body doesn't want to especially if that's what you done for years. I'm amazed at how you get up and run IN THE COLD! That dissuades many a new runner from becoming a life runner. And double Kudos to you for managing to write consistently and share your progress! That is tough to do!

    Thank you for your inspiration!

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  34. I don't run races but I do feel the same about running as you do. Especially every morning after I have done my morning run and when I finish at home, I feel as if I have accomplished something extraordinary.

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