3/27/2014

On the Eve of the Ten Mile Run

Five years later, I've regained all the weight. 

I'm no longer the slim person I became in the months following the end of my marriage. I am in the worst shape since that time, and no longer feel motivated to work hard to exercise my body for the sake of my health.

A year or so ago, I was still motivated. I spent the spring working out eight times a week at least. I was swimming, lifting weights, and running. I got back in really good shape, but did not get back in the habit once I came back from England in late July. 

Slowly I've stopped making the time to get in shape. There are many reasons for this. I'm a single father, and my children are at my house a lot more than they used to be. I'm also a hard-working journalist and stories often pop up, which means I often change my plans for work.

But, there's a much more important explanation. 

I stopped believing in myself. 

Without going into the details, I pursued a relationship with someone last year and she didn't have the same feeling. I always knew this was going to be the case but I kept trying anyway. It worked for a little while and I was happy. We ran together, but then when she ended things, I just completely lost all interest in self-improvement. 

And then we had the holidays, a time that wasn't very easy for me. I should have thrown myself into running, the same way I have done with previous break-ups. But I did not. It was cold out, and there were too many excuses waiting for me to latch on to. 

I signed up for Saturday's Ten Miler on the first registration was available. My goal was to train to run it as hard as I did in 2010 when I ran it in just under 78 minutes. On that run, I poured all of my pain into my footfalls, and felt like I had finally grown up, and that I'd finally found a way to stay healthy. 

But, the pain of the end of my marriage faded as I learned to breathe, learned to cope, and began a tremendous set of friendships. My times in the Ten Miler got slower and slower, and last year I ran it in just under 90 minutes.

On Saturday, I hope to be under 100 minutes. 

And that's okay.

I didn't make my goal to be in the best shape.

And that's okay.

I'm going to have a good run, and I'm going to enjoy every second of it. I'm going to be with people as we travel on foot throughout the place that's most important to me. This is where my children were born. This is where I have managed to be somewhat successful in the career I chose for myself twenty years ago. 

This is where I have so many memories of what's happened already. And I'm hoping that I can use this particular ten miler to reflect on how far I've come, and I will ponder the possibility that there may be new memories in the future.

I'll be joined by my best friend from childhood, and my best friend from college. This race is a chance to take stock on where I am at 40 and will remind me that I can choose who I want to be.

In recent days, I have confirmed that I want to continue being a journalist and I want to get even better at the work I do in my community. I am energized by recent conversations with my boss and editor and think that my best professional days are yet to come. 

Now a similar choice faces me. Do I want to get healthy, or do I want to stay on the same path I am back on? I'm more lethargic than I was, less positive, and it's so easy to just give in to sloth. 

Will I manage to forge better habits than I have now? 

I don't know. I'm just the version of me that existed on March 27, 2014, a day in which I managed to balance the many aspects of my life except exercise. I managed to write a story on deadline while also taking care of my children. I got all my work done freeing me to actually have time to spend on writing this post!

I will write an account of the race. And I'll try too write here more often to keep myself somewhat accountable. It's my theory that if I write about how good things are, that will keep the good things happening. After all, we're all just stories in the end. 

(I stole that last line and I am not ashamed of it. Matt Smith became the Doctor the first day I ran the Ten Miler and the Doctor is the closest thing I have to a religion) 


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