You may recall that I briefly mentioned re-starting physical activity a while back. If you don’t remember, that’s okay. I say a lot of things.

For those who don’t remember, or are (like me) rarely interested enough to follow backlinks, I will synopsyze for you. Here is the chain of events that led to a momentous weekend.

Prequel: Last year Wym and I made a pact that we’d get ourselves moving. Our plan was to run a 5k together up in Austin, when we’d worked our way up to an appropriate distance. We worked hard for the money. Early on the morning of the race, epic pregnancy fail began. Nae drove me the hours-long ride home.

I did not run.

Fast forward a few months.

My friend Sha ran a half marathon in November and it was brilliant. I started reminiscing about my active days, then spoke to my dad, who was also my coach until I hit high school sports.

All this, plus a severely misguided compulsion to rescue the bathroom scale from storage equaled attempting to take up running. Again. Immediately.

I like the ease of running in that I don’t have to buy a lot of gear or interact with people like I would with soccer or softball. I don’t have to find a pool or a freestanding body of water to do it (not that any exist out here) like I would with swimming or rowing. It can be done at any time of day or night. These are all pluses.

The problem is that it’s boring. Hella boring. And I am so allergic to boredom that my throat starts to close up if I even think about it.


I started the Couch to 5K running plan, which I had some serious success with before the medical madness back in March. My hope of getting past the first few weeks seemed to be waning fast, though, because, as Wym says, “there’s only so many times you can listen to the same Lady Gaga song.”

Finding fun books narrated in a British accent and using them as a “carrot” to get me out the door (not ALLOWED to listen any time other than running) meant that I managed to keep at it (barely).

Unfortunately, nothing else changed. And then I had a month off of work to bake/eat/continue to eat every holiday treat under the sun.

And I should have left that scale in storage.


In the post-apocolyptic nightmare that is 2010, I found myself feeling uncomfortably uncomfortable. Luckily, this chick has a wedding coming up, and wanted a fellow commiserator to attend boot camp with her.

“Why not?!” I thought, it should be fun!

After two weeks of CrossFit-style boot camp, I stopped running. Because A.) every muscle in my body hurt all the time and B.) it was much more interesting and entertaining than running. I like showing my body who’s boss. I also get a kick out of hefting a bunch of weight around.

Turns out I’m a bit of a brick sh**house.

My mom posted pictures of me from a decade ago. Inspired (shamed) by images my younger, fitter self, I resolved to see my goal of participating in a race through to the end.

The problem was that there were still a few weeks left of boot camp and I really actually LIKED not running. I liked doing something I felt like I was naturally good at, which is lifting small weights and doing girl-push-ups.

And sleeping “in” on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But there was still this:

4. When the four weeks of boot camp were over, I buckled down and completed Couch to 5k.

I found and signed up for a race.

I conscripted Hubs to participate with me.

My father decided to visit, quite suddenly.

Bot gave up a weekend morning to cheer and photograph.

End result: I did it.

(That’s my leftover Holiday belly, sparkling through the finish line.)

I’m not going to lie, it felt incredible. I started something, I saw it through, and it felt good. I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in my own self-determination and physical ability that I never felt on school teams. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve never felt that at all. Especially not lately.

This week, I’m back to boot camp. Turns out I kinda’ like interacting with other human beings.

But I’m going to keep running, too. I got that “cruising down a desert highway at dusk, just me and the lonely road” feeling (even surrounded by hundreds of people) a few times during the race. No way to explain that kind of zen high, except I want it again. And I’ll have it, so help me.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

-“Invictus” by W.E. Henley

16 thoughts on “Excercism”

  1. Hi! So I have not been able to read your blog in MONTHS. I must say – I felt a little lost. I wasn't sure where to start – and this happened to be the first, and I am so happy it was. First off – you are awesome! I am so happy and excited to know that you did it – and by “it” I mean, made that decision/commitment, worked hard, and succeeded. I look up to you, and will channel you on those days when the C25K is kicking my ass. BTW I miss you.

  2. This is so inspring!! Great job and hope you have been keeping up the running. Having a buddy to run with a couple times a week (and a goal, like an upcoming race) helps so much, too!!! Let me know if you need any help/tips/training ideas. KEEP it up and enjoy it for the adrenaline rush…so worth it.

  3. And BTW that Henley poem — the melodrama has always appealed to me aesthetically, but when I actually think about the sentiments expressed, I think things like “Dude, if someone is whacking you with a bat, GTF out of there. Dumba##.”

  4. >> Inspired (shamed) by my younger, fitter self< <
    The nice thing about being a couch potato from late adolescence until, well, now, is that I am actually more fit now –not actually fit, just more so. At 90 I may run a marathon.
    Or not.

  5. congrats,, you can do anything you set your mind to. My daughter ran the 1/2 marathon in Austin last year. i could never do that lol..”Invictus”=favorite poem..had a post with in a couple times back. Keep on a Keepin' on….

  6. I hate getting back into running, but I know exactly what you're talking about… that high you get when you have your pace and you just get in the zone, you and the road. Once you've tacked on a few miles it just starts to fall together. Congrats!

  7. You are awe-inspiring. This is a rare moment of sincerity, so bask in it! I am delighted to share DNA with someone who is motivated to succeed at strenuous physical activity. Its the closest I will ever get…

  8. I heart running, even MORE than cigs!
    You are the bomb! And I am sooo happy that you inherited your Mom & Dad's amazing legs! We are a family of goooooood lookin' pegs baby! Born to run!
    Due to your inspirational weekend, we all got up and jogged down by the canal this morning – pups and all 🙂

  9. I even hate walking because of that boredom thing. Maybe I'll try your trick listening to books instead of music.

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