Today I remembered a promise I made to myself mid-way up a mountain in Central America on my “Climb with Carlos” (all rights officially the legal equivalent of seat-checked). Because of that delusional, oxygen deprived promise to myself, I went to the gym. There ain’t nothing you can do to make me break a promise to myself (except offer me Mac and Chee).
There was a period in my life (however short lived) that I would get out of bed each day only because I knew I would get to work out. Specifically at the gym. I was gaunt and frown-faced to the point that people would actually comment in surprise and wonderment when I smiled. Without airing laundry (dirty or otherwise), I had lost a lot of dignity. I had lost a lot of weight. And I most certainly had lost all but 3% of my hope.
But I still had my hot pink shoes and my grey smelly t-shirt.
And I still had my running.
And I still had my endurance.
And I still had my boob sweat to prove it. And you can never, not ever, take that away from a girl.
That is until she takes it aways from herself, which for me was approximately three months ago. I was kicking ass and taking names in my couch to 5k.
SCOREBOARD: Couch -0, Mary-7.
But that 7th week. That wretched, nasty, horrible 7th week. Oh what a doozey. My C25K app (aka my new soulmate and best friend) told me I had to run for 20 minutes straight. As someone who was still busily collecting her dignity and reestablishing her hope in humans in general, this was an absurd and lofty request. (NOTE: I want to hear nothing from ya’ll with your marathons and such. Not a word.)
“What the what?” I asked my app/best friend.
“You can do it.” She told me. “Just listen to ‘I’m a Machine’ by David Guetta 7 times on repeat and you’ll be just fine.”
“But I’m not a runner. I’m just new. I just made it through my first Beer Run. I’m not ready!” I begged over my iPod.
“Do it.” She told me. “You’re half way through!”
So I tried.
And I failed.
And then I hung up my sports bra and I moped, for an enormous amount of time.
As someone who had entered a relationship with this workout plan solely because it allowed me to check off accomplishing days as I went, I was heart broken. I couldn’t check off any accomplishments that day. I had failed. I don’t know failure because I don’t like failure. I liked running so that I could get my check mark and that day in March, I had to turn down my check mark. I had failed. And my relationship with my soulmate/C25K app had become suddenly toxic.
In Layman’s terms (whoever that is): I gave up.
(My apologies if you thought this blog was going to be as inspirational as my “Climb with Carlos” – movie pending.)
Of course (bright light) I didn’t give up on life, just running. I actively read books, drank different sorts of whiskey and sat in the sun (with SPF) as much as my days would allow. Inner happiness and limit testing were not thrown out completely. Hell. As you may recall, I promised myself to be vegan for an entire month, and I succeeded (except for that one time when someone offered me Mac and Chee. But it was just the one time.)
Then today, as I was debating what to do with the gigantic zucchinis I had plucked from the garden, I remembered a promise I made on my “Climb with Carlos” (book pending). So I strapped on my hot pink shoes (don’t worry, those and my sports bra are the only hot pink things I own), and went seeking for my long lost boob sweat.
Stepping into the gym was like greeting an old friend. Although, maybe in this case, more like apologizing to an old friend since we had stopped talking on pretty sour terms. Did I mention I don’t like failure?
The gym smelled so familiar, and so disgusting. Everything was in the exact same place I had left it. The disinfectant wasn’t being used, 40-somethings were doing yoga in the dark room that scares me, the orange girls were waiting on the tanning bed, Ellen DeGeneres was on on all the TVs. And walking along to my favorite treadmill, I passed all my favorite people exactly where they should be; the man who looks like Clay Morrow from Sons of Anarchy (squee!) puffing on an elliptical, the 16-something boy who looks at dirty pictures in the movie room while he “works out”, the roid-heads, the skinny bitches, the normal bitches all hanging out with their fellow bitches…and now, just like before, exactly where I was supposed to be, me.
I climbed on my favorite treadmill, in my favorite corner of the movie room, with the same movie that is always playing (Ghost Rider) streaming on the screen. I ignored the boy with the dirty pictures (per usesh) and I started to run.
While I ran, I actually smiled. It was the best I had felt in months. My feet knew what to do, my C25K app was encouraging me just like before (and she didn’t even mention that I had started over, the doll). I was sipping my water, I was keeping my head up, I was being careful not to slam my heels, I was in the zone – almost as though I thought the Couch to 5k meant I won 5k in monies.
I was elated. For exactly 3 minutes and 14 seconds, I was elated. That was when my idiotic smiling and my inexplainable interest in whether Nick Cage would show up for his date with Eva Mendes, caused me to lose my breathing cadence. Before I knew it was I was floundering out of step and breathing in a seizure like pattern.
So I paused.
And I took a deep breath.
And I put “I’m a Machine” by David Guetta on repeat.
And I finished.