Strange New Thoughts

running by kekkaSince I have been losing weight, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon – the way I think is changing. There have been a bunch of different changes, and I’ve been talking about it with my weight loss pals, so I thought I would write about it too. The biggest change? I am actually considering taking up running.

Let me give you a little background about me and why this is completely ridiculous and crazy:

Growing up, my family was fairly sedentary. We were never the types to go out and play games outside or do a lot of physical activity. Nor were my parents sport fans, so I didn’t even grow up watching other people do physical activity. I was a pretty awkward introverted kid who far preferred running around in the woods and building campsites than playing with other kids. On top of it, I have exercise induced asthma – and this was well before there was decent asthma medication. So, I was pretty good at finding a great tree to climb and sit in and read a book, but I never got into those neighborhood games like capture the flag.

As for school, I hated gym class. I was a pretty good student in everything else, but I was a wreck in PE. All my other classmates had older siblings or other family that introduced them to sports. Let’s face it, if you understand the basics of one sport, the others aren’t that hard to figure out. If you get baseball, you understand kickball. If you watch football, you can figure out field hockey and soccer. None of them made any sense to me whatsoever. I used my asthma as an excuse as often as possible (and I really did have a doctor’s note which made it all the easier.) Of course, the less you play games, the less they make sense.

Let me add a little more: I have always had a bit of a phobia about things being thrown at me; especially at eye level. Games like volleyball and dodgeball scared the crap out of me. I think it is something that I probably would have gotten over if I played catch or anything regularly, but since I didn’t, the fear intensified. I am also so uncoordinated that they practically kicked me out of my early dance classes.  So I was slow, ignorant of how to play, and uncoordinated.  My only saving grace? I did get picked for teams before the kid with two leg braces… usually.

So, as I got older I got out of PE however I could. I took Health class in high school instead, and then also ended up taking additional classes outside of my school. That meant I only had 3 classes on the campus – and I wasn’t going to waste them on a stupid gym classes. Obviously I never played a sport, and the only reason I knew when to cheer and clap at high school football games was that I usually wound up sitting by the band. The folks in the marching band always know what’s going on.

Zip forward to college – something else had happened in the intervening years to make me even less likely to run: I developed. I mentioned in another post that I am a busty gal, and my physique definitely contributed to my lack of enthusiasm about sports. My junior college required a year of PE for an Associates degree. Again, I took Health for a semester, but I refused to take a gym class. They had plenty of easy classes, and I was encouraged to take Bowling or Badminton, but I refused on principle. After all: how could these classes prepare me for my career in business? What good could it do me? Help me make baskets in the wastepaper basket? Allow me to tackle coworkers on the way to the lunchroom?

So instead of completing my Associates degree at the junior college, I transferred to a business college. At the time, the closest they had to a physical class was typing. That’s where I got my Bachelor’s Degree, and I never did get my Associates. That’s right, I changed colleges to avoid PE*.

I’m not afraid of hard work. For many years I volunteered backstage at our local community theatres and I was always the first to volunteer to move the heavy set pieces. Some shows worked my butt off, but whenever the subject of running for sport would come up I would say, “The only way I’ll run is if something is chasing me – and it better be serious about it.”

Two weeks ago I checked out a book on running from the library.

Why? Because now that I am losing weight, I love how I feel. My body feels good and I have tons of extra energy. Currently I exercise by walking my dog, and it’s great, but there is a limit to how much I can do. Already we walk over an hour a day and we go as fast as he’ll let us. (Interesting trees and rocks frequently bring an abrupt halt to our progress!) So, if I am going to keep getting stronger and feeling fit, I am going to have to up the game a little.**

I know that the hardest part of losing weight is maintenance. I’ve read the studies about how easy it is for people who have lost weight to gain it back – you probably have too. I figure if I can find some ways to regularly build muscle and burn calories, it will help me keep feeling good. Plus I am loving the way I look. Did you know that there is a bone on your chest, right in the middle, just a bit lower than your collarbones?  There is!!  I have just seen it for the first time since I was a kid. It’s amazing.

Recently, I was talking with a coworker who runs marathons. I mentioned my hour plus dog walks and how I am thinking of taking up running. He said, “Oh yeah, in a 75 minute workout, I can easily burn 1,600 calories.” Do you know how much pasta I could eat if I had that going for me?? (Although to be fair, he has the longest legs ever and runs 8 minute miles. I’m thinking a steady jog is more my style.) He directed me to a marathon website that has a really nice easy training guide, so I downloaded it.

Right now I am still in the research phase. I’m going to wait until it is a little warmer to get started since there is still a lot of ice and snow out there. Then, I’m going to need to get shoes and a serious sports bra before I even think about taking my first jog. I have to get clothes too, I don’t think I even own a pair of shorts!

But the point is, that losing weight is changing me, and it is changing what I thought was possible for myself. That is a very exciting feeling. I can’t wait to see where it leads!

Photo credit: kekka

* Okay, that wasn’t the only reason. I spent 3.5 years at my junior college trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It was time for me to move on. When you run into instructors in the hall that say, “Hey! You’re back again!” it is time to go.

** Look at me – already using sports references!

4 thoughts on “Strange New Thoughts

  1. Run my dear. Just do it. Research if you must, but run. You will NEVER regret it. You may not like it at first, but you will never regret it. I am 46 years old and failed P.E. in high school. That makes my children laugh incessently — but its true. I failed P.E. 3 years in a row and then I intentionally moved to another state and looked for a high school that wouldn’t require I take P.E. to graduate. Seriously. I started running because I got a divorce and it was a way to cope. 3 years later I can say its one of the best decisions I have ever made. It sets my soul free, gives me time to be alone, or with friends, it makes my heart happy and that makes me happy. Do it. You won’t regret it.

    • Thank you!! I am really excited. I just didn’t want to go overboard and injure myself, you know? I read the first few chapters in my running book, which were surprisingly helpful, but the rest was for advanced running, and I am just not ready for that. I have a business trip coming up shortly, and I figure when I get back will be a great time to start. Thank you so much for the encouragement – I am enjoying your blog!

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