November 5 – 11
I have to be honest with you all… I did not have a productive week in regards to running. I’ve been getting over a cold, and my goal was to just go to the track two or three times and sit in my car. If I was feeling any better, maybe I would go out and walk a bit! However, that didn’t happen. I did go to the track once, on Monday or Tuesday, but I didn’t go after that. On Wednesday, I sat at my desk and watched as the American mid-term election results rolled in. By the end of the day, my conclusion was that America sucked and I wanted to have pizza and just get drunk. That’s exactly what I did.
I ate my pizza and drank lots of disgusting vodka mixed with sprite. Then I went about bought more alcohol, soju and beer this time. I somehow made it home, but soon talked to a friend on the phone and decided I would go hang out at her place because she too was drinking alone! As I got to her apartment I fell, hard. Of course it didn’t hurt bad then as I was still trashed, but I felt it the next morning.
As always, I wasn’t hung over, but my body was beat. My face and lip were swollen because I face planted and my knees looked worse for wear. Thursday I simply sat and didn’t walk much because I was genuinely in a lot of pain. Friday is when my knees really started to look bad. Honestly, they look worse than they feel. Thank goodness it’s winter and I can cover all this up, because summer is brutal and I wouldn’t be able to survive in jeans until this went away. I have a feeling it’s going to take a long time to heal too…
Now it’s Monday and I don’t hurt much anymore, but I don’t want to push myself as my knees are a bit tender. Because I don’t want to make things worse than they are, my goal is to go to the track 3 days this week and walk for 10-15 minutes. I’m sure I’ll have my dogs out there as well to play fetch and get some energy out. Yes, this was a set back as I was hoping to start C25K today, but shit happens. I just need to learn from this and move forward 🙂
Why running, Hillary? Are you a masochist? Do you enjoy inflicting pain upon yourself? No, I don’t enjoy pain. It’s one of my least favorite things. I’ve been in pain a majority of my life and can say with certainty that I don’t like it one bit. Okay, that’s being dramatic by saying I’ve been in pain a majority of my life. However, I started having pains in elementary school (rare allergic reaction symptoms to food allergy) with others through middle school (back pain), high school (back pain, ankle pain), and university (back pain). Throw in the smatterings of broken limbs and I think you’ve got the general picture. Friends and family tend to associate me with pains and general sickness.
I’ve finally reached a place where I don’t hurt all the time. Dieting is great and I do eat significantly healthier than I did before. Unfortunately, no diet can build muscle without you putting in the work. Here are 5 reasons why I chose running over all the other options.
Whenever I see someone running, I automatically am in awe of them. Running is not something that I could ever do. Pounding my feet into the ground agitates my ankle pain (still here, but tolerable) and was hard on my back. However, my back pain has been dealt with and I don’t feel like I have that excuse anymore. When I try to explain how “beginner” I am, I don’t think people really understand my level. I didn’t spend my middle school and high school years running around with friends. My parents encouraged me to not do anything athletic so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I don’t have the foundation that many people assume I have. I don’t exactly look athletic, but I don’t look like I spend every moment watching Netflix and eating pizza either. Or maybe I do look like that and I don’t notice? In short, I want to run because runners look fit to me.
But Hillary, other athletes look fit as well. Why not pick swimming (soft on joints) or lift weights at the gym (do you even lift, bro)? Because of my anxiety, that’s why. Anxiety prevents me from being around people in a swimsuit and prevents me from wanting to be around people in general. The last thing I want are strangers staring at me as I try to use an exercise machine. Not to mention I’ve heard unpleasant stories from the women around here who go to the gyms. I’m already ogled at just walking down the road when I feel comfortable, I couldn’t take being eyed while feeling vulnerable. Running gives me the ability to avoid most of the issues that arise from anxiety.
Running is also a solitary exercise (mostly). Sure, you can run in groups, but even then people tend to stay in their own heads and don’t chat much. One of the things that I miss most about Texas is the accessibility to quiet. Korea is so packed, and even in my small town there are people everywhere. To find quiet places I usually go to the beach or the park. The beach and park aren’t always quiet, but if you know when to go it’s pretty good. But the track… The most people I have ever seen there is 6. They have all walked alone and didn’t do any talking. No one acknowledges my presence and it’s like I’m un-fascinating. Honestly, it’s a nice feeling. Sometimes, you just want to be invisible and that’s okay.
Something I’ve noticed from previous running attempts is how my mind goes black. I simply concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and keeping a steady breath. This discovery was a godsend. My brain never shuts up. It’s constantly going at the speed of light which is why I like reading and watching movies so much. My brain slows down for just those moments before it’s back at it like a hamster on a wheel. Moreover, I need to take melatonin to sleep at night because my brain won’t stop. Reaching this blackness while running, I didn’t know it was possible. And I want to do all I can to go there again.
Being outside and breathing fresh air is so rejuvenating. I spend all day inside a school, either in the main teachers’ office or in the classroom with students. The last thing I want to do is continue to be inside during my free time after work. Even when I am home, I like to open my window and have fresh air circulate through my apartment. Now, I want to clarify something. If my only option was to run inside on a treadmill, I would not be choosing this path. Being outside is a necessity for me. If there was an inside track, I would probably be okay with running there during the colder winter months. Unfortunately, that’s not an option and I will be attempting (with your encouragement) to continue running during the winter in South Korea. I don’t want to start and stop again, I want to keep going.
So, you want to be a runner? Me too!
I see these people on television who are running along the beach with the sea breeze blowing their hair. Then, you’ve got the people running with their dogs through a picturesque park (most likely in a big city during their middle of the day break from their important corporate job.) That is #goals, but not #reality. In reality, runners sweat, get beet red, and pant as if they can’t get enough air in their lungs. They push themselves and feel proud after they finish. They aren’t always skinny with perky boobs and they don’t always have that elusive thigh gap.
Still want to be a runner? Same!
So, let’s break this down. First, are you or have you even been athletic? “No.” Not even back in middle/high school? “Nope.” Okay, how far do you think you could run? “10 seconds at a slow speed and 30 seconds at an even slower speed.” That’s fine, everyone starts at a different place! Therefore, let’s start at getting started. Yes, that’s right. Just start. And I don’t mean getting dressed and going out to run today. NoOoOoooo… Think smaller.
-Buy a pair of running shoes
-Find an app that works best with your level
-Make a playlist for inspiration while you’re out
-Decide where you’re going to run
You don’t have to just jump into it and go all out. Starting slow is still starting, and that’s what’s most important. Well, continuing after starting is pretty important too, but you get my point!
Where I’m starting
I’m starting by just driving to the track that I want to run at. I originally thought I wanted to run in the morning, but I quickly realized that my morning routine is essential to my happiness in the day and shortening it to include a run isn’t going to help. Therefore, I decided to do after work. The plan is to bring running clothes with me to school, because if I go home I won’t leave again. Then, I’ll run at the track and go home to do my usual evening thing. However, I have a big fear of people watching me run… Specifically the man’s soccer team that practices there during the fall. I don’t want these athletic people watching me huff and puff my way around a track. So, (at the behest of my therapist), I decided to just drive down there a few days of the week and just see who would be there. And guess what, no one was there. Well… one man walking around the track who probably thinks I’m a crazy foreigner because, really, who sits in a car for an hour at an empty track and never gets out? Me, that’s who. Actually, I stayed because I wanted to be 100% positive that there would be no soccer team who would come bounding in mid-run.
Not everyone starts at the same place
This is something that I’ve always struggled with. Other people are going to start way ahead of me, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give it my best shot. Especially if it’s something I want to do. Naturally athletic people maybe won’t understand how difficult it is to just “get up and go.” Nike’s “Just Do It!” actually makes me feel pretty inadequate. I can’t just do it. I have anxiety and need to take little baby steps before I can even get out the door. And let me tell you, there isn’t anything wrong with that. My pace is what’s best for me, but maybe not for you and that’s OKAY. Last week, I drove to the track. This week, I’m still recovering from my cold the previous week, so I’m still just going to drive to the track to keep that practice up. Maybe I’ll even change into my running clothes before driving there! One small step towards the end goal. I’ll get out the car eventually, when I’m ready.