Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why Run

I began running in 2000. I had spent a lot of time at home with my little brother, (born two years earlier) and encouraged my mom to go out as soon as I got home from school so I could play with him and eat entire pints of ice cream or an entire bag of Kroger brand chewy chocolate chip cookies on my own without her knowing, and then, if she would ask about it I would conjure up some lie (or buy a new pint to replace it). Sick, I know. A few times I needed a sugar fix so bad, I resorted to eating frosting on a slice of bread with chocolate chip topping. This is the first time I'm admitting it (sorry, mom) but crucial to understanding why I started running: to say it in the nicest way possible, I was turning into a bit of a chub. I weighed about 40 pounds more than I do now, but most of it was fat. Once I saw that number on the scale, I panicked, and did what any rational 8th-turning-9th grader would do: I checked out every book in the library about exercise and nutrition, started eating a lot healthier (think really big green salads) and started running. At first it was only about 10 minutes away from my house and back, but then it became 30. And I bought workout DVD's (thank you Denise Austin and some kickboxing person I can't remember...I think her name was LaTisha??) and started working out in the comfort of my basement.
I got into high school that fall, and people had started to notice me because of the weight that I lost. I loved it. No one had ever considered me "hot" before, and suddenly there were boys that wanted to date me?! I was beyond blown away. So my sugar addiction gave way to a more acceptable (at least in high school) addiction: running to be skinny. I even started altering my clothes to be more and more form fitting with each pound or two that I lost. Everyone continued telling me how great I looked, and I started to wonder, did I really look that bad before?? Apparently I did, and I did NOT want to go back to that person again. I ran nearly every day, and ate the healthiest I have in probably my whole life: pretty much eliminating processed foods altogether. I had a six pack for the first time in my life.
The summer of 2001 I was as healthy as I could have been... then my sugar cravings started coming back to haunt me. That's when it started to get scary. So by the fall, instead of eating a normal lunch (which was carrots, an apple and bread since I wasn't into sandwiches at the time), I would eat a handful of french fries. Or two cookies. Sometimes that was all I ate the whole day, and would eat little if anything for dinner (which wasn't difficult since we were usually left to fend for ourselves at dinnertime). I would weight myself every day and then write in my diary about how fat I was and what I was going to do to "be better" tomorrow. It is so sad, but I really hated myself then. My superficial friends continued to fuel my addiction for attention, but then I had friends (like Cheri and my sister Bananas) telling me I looked scary-skinny and needed to gain some weight. Looking back, I know they meant well, but at the time gaining weight was the worst possible thing in my mind. I was terrified to gain weight. One of my journal entries read: "Weighed 98 pounds today. I am SO SO fat. I know I can go back to 95 again, then I can be happy." My heart still aches for that poor, sad (and now I realize: anorexic, exercise addicted, control-freak) 15 year old.
Then in Spring of 2002, Bananas convinced me (since I was running all the time anyways) to join track with her (she is a year younger than me and had been doing track in middle school). I reluctantly agreed and absolutely loved it. We have always been super-competitive and our coach took note of it, pitting her against me in pretty much every individual race I can think of running (we ran the 800 and 400, I think) and it worked: Bananas usually kicked my butt but we would both get amazing PR's. I loved running and almost joined cross country that fall...but as soon as summer hit and I no longer had a coach challenging me to run, my running fell to the wayside.
I ran occasionally just to stay in shape through the rest of high school. When I got to college, I befriended a girl who loved running (also to stay in shape) so we became running buddies. I will swear to you that I am completely indebted to Amax for keeping me running... I ate so much my freshman year that I probably would have gained a freshman 25 if it weren't for her prodding me to keep our morning running dates. Year 2 of college we were roommates and still running when Mr. D came into the picture. Soon I wanted to spend all my spare time with him and again, running hit the wayside yet again.
In the start of 2007, when we'd been married almost a year, Mr. D asked me about my running, citing it as one of the things he admired about me (my passion for running). I started trying to run again for him (and to battle my newlywed 20) but I was so out of shape that my back was terribly sore and I wound up (with Bananas) at regular visits with a chiropractor who encouraged us to stop running. Terrible advice but I took it. So I started cross-training instead, taking up yoga, pilates, weightlifting, the elliptical, whatever I could think of to strengthen my body. Within about a month I had no need for visits to the chiropractor (who kept calling long after I told him his services were no longer necessary). I was finally pain-free and loving my hour-long sessions on the elliptical.
Fall of 2008, I started shifting from the elliptical back to running. I ran my first race since high school, a 5k with some people in my neighborhood/ward and once again, older but a bit wiser, I began to run again. So I signed up for a race the next month and the next.... before I knew it it was October 2009 and I was running in my 12th race in 13 months. I was hooked on endorphins for nothing else than the thrill of the race. It was a glorious 13 months of half marathons, 10k's and 5k's and I revelled in every minute of it. I felt strong, invincible, confident, like nothing could ever stop me from running a marathon in 7 months... then the morning sickness set in and for three months I ran sparingly, to say the least.
February 2010 we had just moved into our new (two bedroom) apartment. It was raining and some movers were bringing in our brand new washer and dryer as I came home from my run. I could feel it was an important run, and it was... it was the last run I would take for six months. By balance was just too far-flung, my tummy too big to maneuver around, and I happily reverted back to cross training (pilates, yoga, elliptical, bike, kickboxing, weights) and as the months wore on, I was able to do less and less until the last two months of my pregnancy I decided to forgo on the gym pass altogether since all I could do was walk and swim, which I did every day until the day I went into labor thank you very much. All that working out didn't do much in the way of keeping the weight off, but it sure made me feel good.

I still remember clearer how I felt on August 31, 2010 than on the day I gave birth to him (granted, I was pretty heavily drugged then). That was the day I was given my go-ahead to work out again and I ran (okay, chugged along) a glorious 16 minute mile with a soundly sleeping bug by my side. It was the day I realized why I run now: its not just for my selfish reasons anymore. I mean, it is still to clear my head and keep in shape while eating my fair share of Swiss Rolls sans guilt.

But now it is mostly to make my little guy proud of me...
I hope to forever be the mommy that can keep up with my crazy family and still have energy to spare. :)
Oh, and check out Scrumptious Saturday here for my wicked yummy oreo cake recipe.

2 comments:

naomi said...

That is crazy. You looked scary skinny back then rather than healthy skinny. Glad you're feeling good now

Michal Sarah said...

You are such an inspiration! Thank you. I really hope to get this hip thing under control and start running again. Its crazy how much I took being able to do simple things like walking and running for granted when I could. Never again.

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