Those are words I never thought I’d type. I am the laziest piece of *mumblemumble* you would ever care to meet when it comes to exercise. I don’t like it, I have trouble making time for it, there are 100 other things I’d rather do – like clean toilets with my tongue. It’s not high on my list of priorities.
But. I knew I needed it. I knew I was getting more out of shape every day and it’s not like I’m getting any younger. It was time to stop screwing around and stop pretending it wasn’t an issue.
We acquired a treadmill and for whatever reason (ahem: WE SPENT MONEY) it motivated me. With it in the house, there are no more excuses about whether I can or have time to exercise. It’s right there; taunting me until I give in and move my ass.
That is exactly what I have done for the entire month of September. I’ve gotten on the treadmill every single day if I wasn’t doing something like mowing the lawn or yard work. I missed one day due to a power outage but I was right back on it the next. Believe me, there were days when the very last thing on earth I wanted to do was get on that treadmill. You could have asked me to go shave yaks in the Himalayas while naked and I would have preferred it. But there it sat, mocking me, until I gave in and got to work.
Here’s what happened.
I can sweat! I know, who cares about that, right? Well, I have always been a person who only sweats under extreme circumstances and never, ever, ever on my head. That means that I turn beet red any time I exert myself. I thought I just couldn’t really work up a good sweat. It turns out I was wrong. Not only can I do it, the more I exercise, the easier it becomes. Now, my body starts the cooling process at the first hint of physical work. It’s actually kind of cool.
Pro Tip: Don’t use earbuds if you’re going to sweat a lot. I managed to get an infection of my ear canal (swimmer’s ear) from it and it hurt a lot. My doctor swears it’s because I use q-tips but I’ve used q-tips every damn day for most of my life and never had swimmer’s ear until I started sweating with ear buds in every day.
I can run! This one is completely amazing to me. I can run. On purpose! And not die! More amazing – it feels GOOD. Like, really good. Like, runner’s high, good. It’ll start to get difficult and I’ll want to quit but I tell myself I can do it, that I won’t let a measly tenth of a mile beat me, and I take a few deep breaths and keep running through it. Suddenly, my skin begins to tingle from head to toe. It’s amazing. I’m hot, I’m sweaty, I can feel my legs tiring, but when I tingle from head to toe I don’t want to stop running.
I have stamina! Right now, I’m running quarter-mile intervals (walk .25 miles/run .25 miles) and I’ve suddenly found that 5.5 mph is a great, comfortable pace for me. It’s also the fastest I’ve ever run continuously. I can’t run 3.0 miles straight but I can do a 3.0 mile workout on the quarter-mile intervals, running 1.5 miles total. The other day I ran up the stairs and walked into my bedroom without being winded in the slightest. That’s new.
But my arms are weak! Seriously, when I’m running, my arms get tired faster than my legs. I don’t know why. I can swing them back and forth all the live long day when I walk but when I run, that’s what winds me most. Given that I haul 45 lbs of Jamie around fairly regularly, this is a bit of a shock to me.
I like exercise! This right here is the most profound change. Even when I don’t want to work out and push myself to do it anyway, it still feels good. I’ll start walking and think “eh, even if all I do is walk for 30 min it’s better than doing nothing.” By the end of 30 minutes, 9 times out of 10, I’ve run as well as walked. It’s been really good for my depression, too – so much so that I’ve missed a few doses of my Zoloft on accident and completely didn’t notice. I have started to look forward to my weekend workouts because they’re longer. Yes, that’s correct. I look forward to and enjoy spending MORE time exercising, not less. And I feel amazing when I’m done.
Good music is a motivator. I know being on a treadmill can get really boring so I have a couple of playlists set up for working out. They’re full of upbeat songs that get me pumped. Great Big Sea, Spin Doctors, The Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Queen, Vanessa Carlton, rockabilly and swing music, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Ray Vaughn, Tori Amos, Ben Folds, KT Tunstall, Rusted Root to name several. My iPod knows me well because I can be really starting to tire and a perfect song will start to pump me up.
The reason I wrote this post is not because I’m trying to brag. I’m honestly really amazed at myself and don’t recognize this person I’m becoming. What I really want to say is this: if I can do this, so can you. I mean that. I really do. I was That Person who hates to exercise and has every excuse in the book about it. But here I am, a month later, and I have a new habit. It hasn’t necessarily allowed me to drop a bunch of weight but I still feel a lot better physically than I did before. I believe in you, I believe anyone can do this, so I think you should believe in you, too.