Just finished my second week of my couch to 5K plan. Even though I just started this new workout, and even though I am not one to become overly optimistic about my new ventures, (physical or otherwise) I have been really impressed with myself so far. I have even come to a few realizations while huffing and puffing my way around the lake that I thought I would share here.
1. Being uncomfortable is okay
I have spent the majority of my life seeking comfort in one form or another. For me comfort is found in many things; reading a good book and time at home with my family (good comfort), or in a pint of ice cream and at the bottom of a bag of Cheetos (bad comfort). The bigger problem with always seeking comfort isn’t in the occasional food binge or week spent at home in pajama pants, but in the inability to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. The more I did what made me feel good, the less able I was to do anything that made me feel bad. Any time I thought of pursing anything out of my comfort zone I would instantly dismiss it because I didn’t want to have to try hard. I applied this attitude to all areas of my life- not just exercise and diet but school, work, and relationships as well. I liked things to come easy and when they didn’t, I quit.
There is nothing easy about jogging. It is everything I hate; you breathe hard, you get sweaty, your face turns red, and your muscles hurt. I am uncomfortable from the moment I start my workout until the moment I stop. And the amazing thing is, I am learning to love it. I am becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have never felt so accomplished than when I am in the middle of a run and all I can think is how badly I want to just quit and go home, and I keep going anyway. I think discomfort comes from things that are challenging. Through meeting challenges and working through them, we grow as people. You’ll never know what you are capable of if you aren’t willing to conquer your discomfort.
2. When in doubt, call on a deity
Wednesday night was rough. It was 80 degrees with hot Santa Anna winds. The sun was beating down on my sweat drenched face and my head was swimming from the heat and exertion. I had just reached the beginning of a hill when the familiar, “bing, bing, bing” in my headphones signaled me to run. I was gasping before I had reached the halfway point of the hill and I didn’t think I had the strength to make it the rest of the way. Please God, get me up this hill, I thought, to which I received no reply. Jesus, keep my legs moving for me. Still nothing. No sudden surge of power, no burst of energy. Buddha, help me make it through this run. Nothing. Someone, anyone? Vishnu? Joseph Smith? Xenu? The only sound in my mind besides my heaving breath was my calls for a mystical power to give me the endurance to finish what I had started on that day. Then my mind quieted for a moment and I heard a voice. It’s okay, you can do this. I kept running. I looked and saw the crest of the hill just as my iPod binged again to signal the end of my run. I was done! I slowed to a walk and let out an exhausted “thank you,” as I wiped the sweat from my face.
Which deity came to my aid in my time of need? Whose voice gave me encouragement just when I was about to give up? Was I filled with the powers of Mormonism? Did my call to Xenu clear me of the Thetan beings that had blocked my full potential? Nope, it was just me. It was me, the real me who lies under all my insecurities and self-doubt, who knew what I was capable of. That voice was in there waiting for me to stop all my pleading to tell me what I already knew, that I could do this. I’m sure this would be more impressive if I had seen a vision of Jesus jogging besides me or felt the hands of Buddha pushing me up the hill, but to me this is more meaningful. I learned that I believe in myself and that all the strength I need is within me. Wow.
3. Addiction is good
I have an incredibly addictive personality. If I try something and enjoy it- be it beer, smoking or chocolate cake, I think that I should keep doing it over and over every day for the rest of my life. Knowing this about myself has allowed me to keep my addictive tendencies under control for the most part, but I am in a constant battle between what I want to do and what I should do. Overindulgence is just built-in to who I am and I think this will always be something I struggle with. I managed to beat most of my major addictions; I quit smoking even though I loved it like a relative and most of the time I am able to talk myself out of having a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a Snickers bar for dinner.
It never occurred to me that my addictive nature could be used for good instead of evil. I woke up on Friday craving a jog. I thought about it all day and when Casey walked in the door I headed out with barely a “see ya later” between us. I love my husband but I needed my fix. It seems that addiction isn’t something that only attaches to those things that destroy us, it can also be associated with things that are good for us. I love exercising. I love the feeling I get when I think I’m too tired to keep going and I get past that wall. I love the feeling of pride I have every time I finish a workout. I think I’m an addict and for the first time it’s not an addiction I have to fight. Bonus!
Today marks the beginning of week three, which means longer intervals and more time on my workouts. I must admit that I am more than a little apprehensive, but I’m going to give it a try anyway. Here’s to trying new things and being surprised by the outcomes. Have a good week everyone!