I wasn't going to run today. Better yet I wasn't going to pretend to run today.
It all started with a long 3 mile walk with my 12 year old. It was one week ago today. I was exhausted, I felt a strong buzz in my buttocks that would not stop and I could barely walk. It was only 3.5 miles and yet I felt so completely out of shape. I decided that day that I would learn to run.
My whole life I had resorted to low impact aerobics and exercise that caused little in the way of heavy breathing as I have iffy asthma that only rears its ugly head when you least expect it. I have also had arthritis in my knees since I was 12 so between the two I had never learned to run. I wanted to, I dreamed of it, I take super fast sprints here and there when I want to show off in front of the kids since I am quite fast but I had never learned to run. Certainly would never think of doing it for fun- what is fun about breathing hard, burning legs and not being able to walk the next day?
Alas I set out on Sunday with the same 12 year old daughter (my only daughter) for my first run.... we made it maybe 100 yards before she decided to walk. Yep- so much for that run.... I made her walk with me at least 1/4 of a mile and then I ran for as long as I could which wasn't much and we walked back. Not much of a success but I had 100% intentions and at least 50% effort so I was happy with it. I came home and posted on my Facebook status, "Tomorrow marks the beginning of "Less eating fat- more burning fat" I suppose I should eat the rest of the bacon and then take a nap now and get it out of my system...."
Monday I woke up and could barely get out of bed... UGH - it was rough. I was dreading this new pact that I had made with myself and my husband who has been home now for a year on unemployment and was greatly getting on my nerves says,"I thought today was your first day of the new you and your new plan?" Oh lord, now not only do I feel guilty for not wanting to run again but now I am mad at my husband who was lying on the couch for pointing it out. I get dressed to spite him and I head out.
I decided to try a different route and charted it on some online pedometer thing. It was a little more than a mile to go to the stop sign at the end of the street and back again. I head out with all of the best of intentions, ipod in its special running sleeve and a mix of songs I don't know because my sister set it up for me. Down the first hill I go. Now I live at the top of a hill- no matter which direction I go whether its straight across, left or right I will start heading down a hill and back up that same hill at the end of my run. Its a lose/lose situation regardless because you start off feeling great and fast and capable only to realize that you have to go back up another hill on the way back. This route that I chose to do was one hill down and then a hill to gradual incline all the way to the stop sign. Coming home you reverse it so its a gradual decline and then one bad ass steep hill to my driveway. About halfway up the second hill I was questioning my decision to take this route at all. What the hell was I thinking? I got about 1/4 through my mile and gave up- I was breathing hard and I felt horrible- I walked all the way to the stop sign which was the half way mark and started running home. That lasted all of about 1/4 mile and I said screw this! Even with the decline I could not run anymore. My lungs were out of breath- my asthma kicking in and that was the end of my running. I walked the rest.
Tuesday - I was not so sore this morning and I really wanted to make it at least up to Frank's house which was 1/3 the way to my whole mile. I could do it! I started out. OK- not so bad, my legs feel great today. I was doing fine and after all Maroon 5 came on the ipod so I matched my steps to the beat and focused on the road as I climbed the first hill. I did it! I made it to Franks house and walked two telephone poles to the stop sign and then attempted to run again. I did not make it too far- just to the "yellow ribbon" on a tree about 200 yards from the stop sign. I walked the rest - well sort of the rest, I sprinted up the hill just in case someone was watching me.
Wednesday- Woohoo!! I have a legitimate excuse!! I had to babysit my favorite 92 year old friend all day so no running for me!!
Thursday- CT, according to the local news, had the hottest temperatures in the country on Thursday. We beat out CA,AZ,NV and FL. And I decided to try and run again. I stood at the top of the driveway and looked down the hill and although it was hot there were a lot of trees thus creating a lot of shade so I figured I would be fine. I strapped on the trusty ipod and headed down. I was doing well, I was feeling good. I made it to Frank's and saw that transformer up ahead and decided to walk once I got there. I was busy concentrating on the ground and music when the following conversation started taking place in my head," I am getting there! Wait, was that the transformer I passed? OK I can make it past that street on the right. Well that was fast- I feel like crap but I can see the stop sign now! I can do this!!! NO FUCKING WAY!!! I DID THE WHOLE HALF MILE!!!" I start to giggle. I punch the air with pride. I start to walk because I'm dizzy at this point. My heart is pounding and my chest is about to explode. I'm dripping, not just a little dripping but so sweaty that I can feel it dripping from my back into my butt crack. I'm not feeling so well. I'm not feeling well at all. I start to notice pains in my chest that were so bad that I could not keep calm- with each step I stare at my left arm waiting for a pain in it because I MUST be having a heart attack. Nobody is home, I don't have my cell and this cant be good. I make it to the house and desperately rifle through the junk drawer looking for the emergency inhaler. I end up grabbing my youngster's nebulizer and a dose of albuterol and after a few minutes start to breathe again. For all that effort and joy and pride, I ended up very scared and hurt and not so happy anymore. From now on I will take my inhaler BEFORE I leave.
Friday- Sometimes I meet my friend Amy at the High School track for gossip and a good walk. We go round and round and round ultimately guessing how many times we have gone and I drive away from the parking lot convinced that I have warmed up my run with a good 3 mile walk. Not wanting a repeat of the day before, I look all over the house for the inhaler- I really did not want to use the Neb if I did not have to because its time consuming and I feel rather stupid sitting there attached to a breathing device before going for a run. I tear apart the junk drawer, the dresser and the purse. I check the car and the medicine cabinet. Finally I find it in the toiletries bag that I never unpacked from vacation- SCORE! I take 3 puffs since 3 is my lucky number and head out. On my way out the door I run into my 73 year old father in law who is there to help my husband fix my broken tractor and he looks at me like I have 4 heads. "Where do you think you are going?" "I'm going for a run" "Your going where?" " for a run" " Well good because you've gained weight"...........OMG, seriously? That is all you have to offer? BITE ME!
Now being a little timid this time about the whole breathing thing I superstitiously search through the ipod and find the Maroon 5 song "Harder To Breathe" and tell myself that with a good song, lucky numbered puffs and my favorite band on my arm that I can do this! I make it down the hill, I make sure that I get to the top of the next hill, past Frank's just in case Ed and his father are standing at the edge of the drive watching, pointing or laughing. When I get to the transformer I panic. My chest is ok but now my shins hurt, my hips sore and I'm feeling somewhat defeated. I walk to the stop sign and then walk to the yellow ribbon. I pick up the feet and start to jog a bit and realize that I'm heading down the last hill and approaching the steep one that leads to my home. I have a stitch in my side. I am bummed about not making the whole half mile that I did the day before. I start walking back up that last hill making sure I run the last 50 feet into the drive just in case they were watching out the living room window. Not what I wanted but I could say that it was about 1/2 mile that I ran but in broken pieces. I walk in the house looking for some kind of good to come out of all that I'm doing and look online for how much it would be to run with my sister and our friends in the "Race for the Cure" next weekend. My sister is running for our friend as well as in honor of my grandmother and started a team. I have known about it a long time but knew I could never run it since I don't run. I start getting excited thinking that maybe I could do at least 1/3 the run and walk the rest. Its $30 and I don't have the money. I cant run the whole thing, and I had always planned on just being the cheering squad since they all run and since it was very significant as one of the friends running is not only one of my dearest friends ever but also a recent breast cancer survivor. The lack of funds stings so much more now that I'm actually trying to run. Depressed is a very good word to describe my mood at this point.
Saturday/Today- I wasn't going to run today. I was taking the day off. It was a weekend, the kids are all home. I was going to just take a break. Until my husband tries telling me that he wants to buy expensive steaks for dinner. I can't even come up with $30 for a freaking benefit race and you want to spend what bill money we have on steak for one meal? A rather heated argument ensued and I was so mad that I had to leave. I have been dealing with this unemployment for over a year now. I have been stretching a dollar so long that I fear spending even that one dollar. He takes a nap and I go change- I'm so mad that maybe a run would get my mind off of things. I turn on the ipod and "I'm a B" by the Black Eyed Peas is on. Not helping because its a song about living the good life and although things could be much worse they are definitely not GOOD. I push through and run down and then up the hill. I get to the transformer just as "Rehab" comes on and although a great beat, I walk. Actually I kind of dance as I walk fast. Thinking about rehab makes me think about alcoholics and that then made me thirsty. I want a nice cold frozen margarita now. I get the breathing under control and at the stop sign I turn around and head back running. The song "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is playing and I'm feeling that this is possibly the most appropriate song yet of my entire experience. I pass the tree with the yellow ribbon. I get to the bottom of the decline. I am out of steam and I am breathing hard. I have it set in my head that once that last hill starts to incline that I will quit and walk again it was starting to rain and I had done enough for today- just get to the start of the incline. And then it happens. I hear in my ears "I just want to be OK, be OK, be OK. I just want to be OK today" and something hits me. I get something more than a second wind. I get hope. I start up that hill and I'm running faster than I did the whole week. I was sprinting up that hill. I run past the first entrance to my driveway and climb even farther up the hill to the second one. I walk around the driveway trying to calm down and start to cry- a real cry. The kind of release that comes with 3 job layoffs, 2 years of financial struggles and 1 mile. I continue my calm down/cool down in the back yard and eventually lay back on the hammock in the light drizzle. My clothes are wet with sweat, my eyes wet with tears and my ipod sleeve wet with rain. I close my eyes and gently started to swing as Jack Jackson starts singing "I don't want this feeling to go away". I'm feeling much better now. One week gone- one mile completed- one mind at peace for a little while. Love for my daughter started this outlet for my stress . Fate picked the songs for my journey and faith made them both worth something in the end. And I wasn't going to run today......