I once read a funny quote and who it was credited to:
“Wow, I really regretted doing that workout”. – Nobody, Ever.
This is true, and we all know it. We never regret a workout (well, unless you’re running a half marathon when it’s 25 degrees so your feet freeze and you break a bone while running and don’t realize it because it’s so cold and it destroys your entire race season. But that would never happen…). We all know that the hardest part of going to the gym – is going to the gym. Yet we all manage to talk ourselves out of our workouts and into some pretty unhealthy habits.
I am no different. I intentionally took two weeks off of running after my second marathon in November. I wanted to give my body a chance to rest and heal so that I could come flying out of the gates once it was time to start up again. I was going to start up true running again (running with no walking breaks), and I wanted to be ready to tackle those runs with the same enthusiasm I used to have when I was fat and approached an all you can eat buffet.
For two weeks I didn’t run. I lowered the intensity of my other workouts and even let myself sleep an hour later some days (and it’s a little sad when “sleep an hour later” means getting up at 5:00AM instead of 4:00). When the two weeks was up, I jumped out of the gate, and did that miserable run that I wrote about in last week’s blog. Then I caught a cold, which slowed me down again. Then it got cold outside, which slowed me down even more. Then I realized that the less serious workouts and extra hour of sleep (until 5:00, sigh) felt really good. Then I found a recipe for a banana chocolate chip cake online. Then I discovered that I make an amazing banana chocolate chip cake. You see where this is all going.
I knew I was slipping, and at first I didn’t care. I have worked so hard for so long. Can’t I have a few weeks off? Can’t I have a few drinks and desserts at the holiday parties I was going to? Didn’t God put dark chocolate and bananas on this earth so that I could combine them into a delicious cake and eat the entire thing?
Although I told myself that I didn’t care, I kind of knew that I did. I still stepped on the scale each morning, but I did it with a tad more apprehension than usual. I still ate things that I shouldn’t, but my level of guilt rose a bit more each time.
If you ever want to pull yourself out of a downward spiral of unhealthy behavior, put on a pair of jeans. You all know what I’m talking about (and if you don’t, you either have jeans in six different sizes and never have to squeeze yourself into them, or you’ve never been fat or unhealthy and I have no idea why you’re reading this blog). Last Friday afternoon I came home from work and changed out of my work clothes into a pair of jeans. As I wiggled my way in and inhaled to close them, reality hit. OK, spiral over, time to get serious.
Then Saturday came, and it snowed. As the least coordinated person on this planet, I canceled my run through snow and ice, and instead did a very feeble attempt of a workout downstairs in my basement. On Sunday, the sun was out and the snow was melting. My husband Wil asked me if I was going to go for a run. I tried to think of an excuse: it was too wet out, I was still coughing from my cold, it might be windy. Then I thought about the true answer, and that’s what I gave him: “I don’t want to.” Now, in the last 5 years of me losing weight and turning into an athlete (albeit the least coordinated athlete on this planet), I’ve said that before, and every time Wil has given me the same reply: “When you don’t want to do something is when you have to do it.” I spared his breath this time and said, “I know. I don’t want to, so I have to.” Wil just looked at me and smiled, said “have a great run,” and walked away.
Now even though I knew he was right, I didn’t have to like it (or him at that particular moment). I begrudgingly changed into warm running clothes. I tried to stall and chat with the kids, but they’ve seen this before, too. Ben said, “Bye, Mom,” and Liv said, “Yup, we’ll talk after your run,” and they both went back to what they were doing.
I stepped outside and started to laugh. It was beautiful, clear, sunny, and just cold enough for a run to be comfortable. I did my run, and I admit it was hard. My legs can handle running a 5K straight through, but my lungs haven’t quite caught up to there being no walking breaks. It was tough, and a few times I wanted to walk, but I told myself I had to run through it and get used to it again, so I did.
When I was done I came back inside. Wil asked me, “So, how was it? Regret doing it?” This time I didn’t have to answer him because he knew my response. Of course not. Nobody ever regrets doing a workout.