On becoming a runner-ish person

I'd like to begin by saying: I suck as a runner. I was not born with whatever genetic component makes a runner a runner. On the other hand, I can kick ass in the swimming pool. [Disclaimer: in highschool, I kicked ass in the pool. I'm still milking the ol' glory days.] But running? Imagine a whale. Running.

I don't think you can even fairly call it running. What I do is more like huffalumping. Or shlumping. Shuffle-limping. And it includes lots of dry heaving, groaning and yes, actual crying. I pretty much cry every single time I shufflelump. I also mutter.

Running seems to dredge up all these emotional issues and I find myself muttering through conversations from 1997, talking smack to that Bible camp counselor who abused me in 1985 or telling off that boy who broke my heart in 1996. It's weird. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but I seem to run with a pack of motley ghosts from my past.

Today, this bully from my childhood showed up and all her mean words started ringing in my ears. But I've been running now for a month and I just shut her down: "Back off. You can't say crap to me now because I got an agent. You hear me? I GOT AN AGENT, SUCKAH!"

She backed off.

And then I pep-talked myself: "Come on, Double E. Come on, baby. Sprint to the end."

And I did. Sort of.

Still, I'm better now than I was 30 days ago. 30 days ago, I couldn't run more than half a block without needing to stop and walk. I could only do 15 leg lifts. I had to do a modified side-plank. Today? I can "run" a full mile without stopping, can do 50 leg lifts and a full side-plank. I'm still the slowest long-distance runner in the pack--my fastest mile time was 10:10--but I've discovered I can sprint. Sort of.

My blogging friends, Carrie and Kelly, got me into this whole 5:30am bootcamp thing and if it weren't for their constant barrage of encouragement, I'd probably give up. But every time they lap me--because they actually RUN--they shout things like: "Lookin' good!" or "Keep it up!" or "You're doing awesome!"

Which MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE (only chicks in Nike commercials look good while they run), but it still helps. As much as I would like to think I can get in shape on my own, my fitness history says otherwise. I'm a social creature. Exercising in isolation depresses me. I need community to help me get in shape. I need to be able to crack corny jokes in between sets.

The best part is that if I commit myself to 60 minutes of pain in the morning, the rest of the day I feel fabulous. I have so much more energy. I'm happy without trying to be happy. Exercise has improved every area of my life. Including sex. Yeah, I said it. SEX, baby. And yeah, um, SEX? Who knew SEX could be better once you start exercising? I didn't know that! Had I known, I would have gotten back into exercise a loooooooong time ago.

Which is to say, my husband is a pretty happy guy these days.

I'm sexy and I know it. And here's a picture to prove it. (I'm the one in the middle wearing a white T-shirt and a freakazoid grin).