I’ve wanted to run a marathon for a while. Like, since I first decided to register for a half marathon. Unfortunately, I’ve been too afraid.
I remember when I finished my first 10K I thought to myself, “that wasn’t too bad; I think I could handle a half marathon.” Then when I finished my first half marathon I thought, “NOPE, definitely still can’t do a marathon.” But the problem with things like this (insanely challenging things) is that you probably won’t ever feel ready. So, two weeks ago, in a moment of extreme bravery, I registered for my first marathon.
The race isn’t until December, so I have plenty of time to train, and it’s local so I may have talked a friend into running it with me. Both good things. I’m still very nervous, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
…and to how badass I’m sure I’ll feel at the end. 🙂
I enjoy running. I really do. Even when it’s hard, even when I’m out of breath, even when I just want to quit, running is a positive activity for me. I often find when I’m stressed, angry, or upset, my first reaction is to go for a run. And the feeling of accomplishment when I go faster or further than I could before is incredible.
But sometimes, I still don’t make it out the door.
Aerial, on the other hand, I love. And I consistently have no trouble making it to class four, five, or even six days a week – sometimes twice a day. I feel like I could spend all day, every day in an aerial class and I would never get tired of it. Well, my muscles would get tired, but my brain wouldn’t! And that’s what brings me to Part 6 of my indefinitely long series of reaching fitness goals:
Ever since I moved to Charleston, any time I mentioned running to anyone, the very first response I got was “oh, are you going to do the bridge run?” Fortunately I have a friend at Clemson who told me about the race before I even moved, so we’d already agreed to run it together and I knew what they were talking about. But I still assumed that their insistence that it’s a really big deal was just Charleston people being proud of Charleston.
It’s fun talking about things that happened nearly a month ago and all, but at some point I feel like I should start getting into where I’ve been for the past two months and why I was barely blogging. I do have a few good semi-decent excuses (I went to boyfriend’s house for Christmas and didn’t bring my laptop, I was on a cruise without internet access, etc.), but those only cover part of the time that I’ve been MIA and only tell a very small part of the story.
The short version of the story is that I sorta just let everything in my life fall apart. But that version sounds sad, and the real story isn’t that depressing, so I’m going to take it upon myself to tell it in full.
Over the summer I read a book about habits which taught me about something really important: keystone habits. Keystone habits are that one change you make that then spirals outward into a whole bunch more habits, all as a result of that very first one. Ideally, and in my case, that habit and the ones resulting from it are positive. So in January of last year I started training for a 10k. That meant running on a regular basis, which led to learning about and starting to implement proper training habits, which led to improving my nutritional profile and starting to do strength training, which led to losing weight and feeling awesome about myself, which led to flossing and using mouthwash every night to be even more awesome, which somewhere in there led to using a to-do list to track everything I needed to get done (i.e. blogging) and do it on time so that I fell into super-productivity and amazingness.
It was incredible. I felt like I had every part of my life super under control – and it had all started with a random inclination to run a 10K in Disney World. The one small problem with this method of habit forming, though, was that as soon as one thing fell apart… it all did.
You know how last week I wrote a post saying I’d been really tired lately? And it sounded like it was just a really long, lame excuse for not keeping up with my blogging? Well on Tuesday night I went to bed at 8:30 pm, and I didn’t even feel bad about it.
For the record, I am not a go to bed early person. If a year ago you’d told me that a year from then I would have either run a half marathon in just over two hours or gone to bed at 8:30 pm once, I would have picked the half marathon. Seriously.
But anyway. Fitness goals.
You hear a lot of talk out there about fitness accountability, and for good reason. It’s pretty easy to be like, “you know what, self? I’m not feeling that five mile run today. Let’s skip it.” And your self will be like, “I was thinking the exact same thing! I’ve got some serious couching to do today.” But it’s a lot harder to call up a friend and be like, “you know what, friend? I’m not feeling those plans we made to exercise together. I’m just not gonna show up.”
The problem with this is that I strongly prefer running on my own; it’s my me time. And I know I’m not the only one who prefers exercising all by their one-some. So the good news is that exercise with friends is not the only way to hold yourself accountable!
I have always been modest in the way that I dress.
I traded shorts for mostly knee-length skirts when I was probably ten or eleven years old because I didn’t like the way my legs looked in shorts and wanted them to be covered. For most of middle and high school I opted primarily for skirts between my knees and my ankles or, most of the time, pants. I even wore pants throughout the summer, despite being hot. I also carefully selected higher neck lines in my shirts and dresses or wore layers to make sure there was little to no cleavage showing (which was not an easy feat because the amount of cleavage I had was substantial). And I never wore anything “slutty.”
There were times, of course, where I’d put on a slightly more revealing outfit at home and be pleased with what I saw in the mirror. But as soon as I walked outside to where people could actually see me, I’d immediately get overwhelmingly uncomfortable and start adjusting things to cover more or add layers or even just keep my hands in strategic locations until I got an opportunity to change my clothes. And when I say “more revealing” here, I mean something along the lines of a skirt just a few inches above my knees and a shirt that shows maybe half an inch of cleavage. So in other words, a totally normal outfit.
I knew my understanding of what was appropriate to wear was different from other girls’, but I never really thought much of it. I just said that I was “modest,” like that was a totally normal and healthy attitude. Now don’t get me wrong – modesty, when inspired by modesty, is certainly not a bad thing. But what I didn’t realize was that my modesty was not motivated by modesty; it was motivated by a very negative body image, and that is a problem.