As I write this, I am tired, I am sore, my boobs hurt, and my right leg is determined to cramp up on me. As I consider my current state, one question continues to repeat itself in my mind:
Don’t you hate it when a foolish new year’s resolution comes back to bite you in the ass?
For instance, I resolved — during the early hours of January 1st, 2010 — that I would start taking better care of myself this year. No more staying up for 96 hours straight, no more taking pills just to see what they do, no more dealing with boredom with alcohol and anonymous internet flirtation. No, I decided as I popped an unmarked white pill and stared at the screen of my laptop glowing in a strange man’s bedroom, from now on, I am going to live healthy!
And, to a large extent, I’ve managed to do just that. I just wish somebody had prepared me ahead of time for just how boring it is to live healthy.
However, one thing that I am coming to slowly enjoy is running.
I’ve always suffered from pretty severe asthma, to the extent that I’m on a first name basis with just about every paramedic and ER nurse at Richardson Medical Center. Earlier this year, I read that running can actually good for people with asthma and so, I decided that would now be my thing. I decided I would be a runner.
One thing you should understand about me — when I decide I’m going to do something, I do it. Even if I really don’t have the slightest idea how to do it, I still manage to do it. Even if all evidence shows that I’m doing it completely incorrectly, I’m still going to do it. Some people would call this stubbornness. Me, I call it…well, okay, it’s true. I’m stubborn.
So, since I moved to a safer and better neighborhood last July, I’ve been attempting to run on a regular basis. When I get home from work, I’ll change into shorts, sports bra, and t-shirt, put on my running shoes, tie my hair back in a pony tail, and I’ll run from my house to a Target that’s located a few blocks away. Then I’ll run back home and try not to pass out.
When I first started running, I literally thought the idea was to run. I would literally step out of the house and just start running somewhere. After the third asthma attack, it occurred to me that maybe it would be a good idea for me to pace myself as opposed to just seeing how quickly I could get from one location to another. That seemed to work a lot better.
Running calms me down. Everything you’ve heard about how running can give you a chance to release every-day stress and clear your mind is true. I always seem to do my best thinking while running.
It also does seem to be helping my asthma. Honestly, this is a hard point to prove. People who have heard me wheezing after I get back from a run tend to disagree with me on this. However, as the person who actually has had to live with it for 24 years now, I can tell you — without a doubt — that I am actually breathing better now than I ever have in the past.
Admittedly, I’m still making up a lot of this as I go along. Since I’ve started running, I’ve made it a point to watch other runners. I noticed that a lot of them run in place while waiting to cross the street. I decided I should probably do that too. However, after the first two times, I just ended up feeling stupid so now I either just run across the street and hope no one’s coming or else I use the Don’t Walk sign as an excuse to rest for a few minutes. I also noticed that many runners tends to stop and check their pulse so I’ve started trying to do that as well. I guess I’m supposed to keep count or something but, to be honest, I’m usually just happy to discover that, after running in the Texas heat, that I still have a pulse.
There’s a few other disadvantages:
Since Texas weather often means a thunderstorm while the sun’s shining, it’s difficult to maintain a regular running schedule.
I broke my ankle in two places when I was 17 and I’ve always wondered if it actually healed correctly. The way it sometimes throbs after I go running leads me to suspect that it did not.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that boys in pickup trucks will honk their horns and shout comments at any woman they see on the sidewalk, even if she is soaked with sweat and obviously having a hard time catching her breath.
One reason I didn’t run when I was living in my old apartment is because I didn’t always feel safe out in that neighborhood. My new neighborhood is definitely safer but that doesn’t mean I feel safe enough to totally let my guard down.
There’s several gyms and health club type places near my house. A Gold’s Gym just opened up across the street from the Target that I run to. Every time I go to the movies, I drive by one of those 24 hour Fitness places. My sister Erin keeps telling me that I should check one of them out if I’m really serious about this whole exercise thing.
But, I don’t want a personal trainer. I don’t want to have to deal with some pumped up guy who is going to tell me to “feel the burn” or whatever it is those people say. I don’t want someone who is going to say, “Today, let’s work on your abs,” because I know that I’ll misunderstand him and think he said, “Let’s work on your ass” and it’ll just be an awkward situation all around. Those people annoy the Hell out of me, regardless of whether they’re working down the street from me or if they’re appearing in shows like The Biggest Loser or movies like Burn After Reading.
(Though, as a sidenote, I do think that was one of Brad Pitt’s best performances.)
No, sorry. I do not want to run with other people who are going to stop me so that they can spend an hour of my time pontificating about what I’m doing wrong or what the proper way is to do this or that.
What those people will never understand is that I don’t care if I’m doing it correctly.
I just care that I’m having fun doing it.
And once I’m no longer enjoying it, I’ll no longer do it.