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I Wanted to Quit a Thousand Times but Refused

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

I ran my first 10k today. With bronchitis. Alone. It was a virtual 10k and along the route there were multiple opportunities to quit. To fudge the numbers. To cheat the system. To cheat myself. No one would know. I would know. I would know that this run was just a small portion of my day - the equivalent of a Lifetime movie - and I chose to bail out rather than buckle down and accept the joy and fulfillment of finishing even if I didn't finish with the time I had originally envisioned.

I thought all these things as I ran 25 laps around the football track. And at about lap 18, I had my "Aha" moment. This virtual run was a metaphor for my entire journey. While it may have been easier to complete the run in a typical group race setting, we are all ultimately alone in our fitness journey. Only you can make your body move. You are the one who has to do the work. Relying on workout buddies, like a pacer in race, will lead you to chasing after someone else for motivation. What happens when they drop out of the race? This morning I had to decide to follow the plan that I chose for myself. I would run 3/4 lap and walk the last turn. It was really working for the first 8 laps. But then Lap 9 came. I noticed that I was losing momentum much faster than I anticipated. I was initially disappointed that I had to take a walk break in the midst of my run section. I tried to get back on the original schedule but found my body tightening up. At Lap 11 I adjusted. I decided to run the straightaways and power walk the curves. The only condition was that on the straights I would push harder and go as hard as I could without sprinting. With that model, I was able to fly through Laps 13-24. My last lap I decided to slow my pace a bit and jog through the entire last lap. By the Final Lap I was exhausted from the whole thing. At that moment I was forced to be consistent. No sprinting. No breaks. Just steady. Steady was hard because it is only a few weak steps above stopping. But something happened. I became my own cheerleader. I literally ripped my headphones out of my ear; no more distractions. I wanted to clearly hear myself scream for the victory. There I was alone on the field, coming around my final curve and into my stretch and I was chanting and then yelling, "I've got this! I didn't quit! I wanted to quit, I wanted to! I didn't do it! I never quit! This time is different! I won't go back! I AM DIFFERENT!" It took everything in me not to break out in tears as I crossed the finish line.

When I began running my weightloss race on May 21st of last year, I had my success planned out. I would lose 2 lbs a week every week and I would be 90 lbs down by April 19th of 2013. From 272.1 to 182. I was on pace to reach my goal for the first 15 weeks of my journey. Like clockwork the 2 lbs came off. But I got tired, I couldn't sustain it. I would get a burst of energy and suddenly drop 4 lbs in a week. I would follow it up with a week or two of nothing. In December I finally adjusted to incorporate life and fitness together because prior to that my whole life was diet and exercise and that was unsustainable. Of course this slowed my pace. Since January of this year, I have lost 8 lbs, about 1.5 lbs a month. At this pace, I will meet my goal next January or February. That is fine. That is great. That would mean that I dedicated 20 months of my life to reaching my goal. While it is 8 months past schedule, 20 months is such a short snippet of my life. This 20 months is worth it if it means I get to live the next 50 years of my life happy with myself.

Today I finished my 10k at 1hr, 11min and 38 sec. Ironically, I figured it may take an hour and 22 min. Perseverance paid off.
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