Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dear Couch-to-5K App (Epistolary Wednesday, September 10),

Dear Couch-to-5K App,

There's so much promise in your description--a simple hyphenated identifier that links lethargy and weakness to domination and endurance. Do you know I've been trying to master you, or something like you, for fifteen years? Before that, in high school, I never really even tried to run. I was the kid with the doctor's note and the inhaler the size of a small squirrel that I carted around for line dancing and aerobics units in P.E. Run the mile? Ha. I got out of everything that got my heart rate up just a teeny bit. And to be honest, I lost no sleep over missing any of these sweaty indignities.

Then, in my early twenties, when fitness seemed like the thing to achieve (and in the land of severe body dysmorphia that so many of us gals traverse), I tried to run and I was full of pain and felt like my body was going to fall apart or lock up or implode and so I had to stop. Also, I had no plan, no goal, no pathway to run longer, faster.  But you now, you offer steps--that are sometimes just a little slow for my taste but they make this whole endeavor possible, doable.  Me and my treadmill and my crappy running shoes that hurt my feet started out running one-and-a-half minute stints about seven weeks ago and now, this week, I'm going to run for 40. God willing.

I sure hope he is.

Sure, it's been uncomfortable. My trapezius muscles are screamy for some reason, and my arches started to ache, which precipitated the purchase of the $100 dollar running shoes, but my greatest moment in our journey together so far was the 13-minute mile. You may laugh, but it's never been done before by this body, this woman who had has had three babies and allergies and asthma and neck injuries. You made me a believer. I can run. I am one of those people who can.

Now, there's one thing I'm not. I'm not the woman who can lose twenty pounds doing this.  Couch-to-5K does not equal slimmer, necessarily, and I had to surrender that hope, it couldn't be about weight loss or inches loss because whenever exercise is about that, and whenever that is not achieved, it's a sure-fire formula for Giving Up. Because who would keep running 40-minute stints for weight loss if they never lost weight?  Answer: a crazy person would.

So here's me celebrating something unseen--a heart rate that stays elevated for longer than two minutes without my running out of breath, and the ability to pace myself and finish well, which is, really, what I want for all of life, not just for these new miles in these new shoes.

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