I am not a natural runner. Natural eater, yes. Born alcoholic, practically. But runner, no.
My body is roughly the shape and consistency of a marshmallow. What do marshmallows do when they are exposed to heat? That’s right, they melt. Here are some photos of me after running. That’s right, I can practically bottle my boob sweat.
I guess it is not just my body that is made of marshmallows, it’s my brain too. Because even though I live in the desert, I still find myself running outdoors, despite the 100+ temperatures (yes, I hate treadmills that much). Awhile back, I decided to run some errands after a jog. It takes a couple of hours for my body to return to normal sweat/skintone ratios. I ran into Michael’s to buy some yarn. The clerk took one glance at my soggy, red visage and asked if she needed to run in the back and get an extra fan. I declined and replied “this is just how I look when I exercise,” hurriedly paid for my goods and bid her good day.
I sign up for a lot of races to help me stay focused on exercise. I am by no means a competitor in these races, but if I pay to participate in an activity, I want to get my money’s worth. Even though I’m not going to win a race, I am always in competition with myself. I want to beat my last time or run a longer distance.
Last year, my husband and I did the P.F. Chang’s Rock and Roll ½ marathon relay. My leg was 6.2 miles, his was 6.9. When we signed up, I had no intentions of running the whole thing- I just wanted to give a decent showing for my leg of the relay. To my surprise, training paid off, and I ran the whole thing. It was one of my proudest physical accomplishments. I had given birth to my second child a mere nine months before, and was in the best shape of my life.
This year, my husband won an entry to do the ½ marathon in L.A. That meant we only had to pay for my admission. The grandparents said they’d watch the kids. The promise of an adults-only weekend was all the incentive I needed. I am now four weeks away from supposedly running 13.1 miles, and I am nowhere near ready.
Ben and my attitude toward training this summer has been “when it cools off, we’ll get serious.” Ok, it’s cooling off now. Instead of 113 degrees, it’s only been 105. It’s not that I can’t run in that weather, it’s that I have a hard time achieving any real distance. There is not a lot of shade in our area. I can either run on blistering concrete or molten desert rock. Whatever I chose, I’m about a mile and a half in before my legs begin to feel like they might actually burst into flame. Couple that with an astronomical heart rate as my body desperately attempts to cool itself, and it’s a pretty miserable workout.
I know you are asking “why don’t you just run on a treadmill?” As mentioned above, I fucking hate treadmills. It is sooooo boring. I would rather risk spontaneous combustion in the desert heat than run more than two miles on a treadmill. The hardest part of running for me is mental- making myself keep moving when I just want to stop. At least if I’m out running on a trail, I have to continue- run it, walk it, crawl it, but I have to make it home. On a treadmill, it is too easy to just say “done” and hit the showers.
On Sunday, I tried motivation by force and beer. I had my husband drop me off a few miles from our house. I was set to meet some girlfriends for drinks a mere hour and a half later, so if I wanted to arrive not smelling like a Goodwill shoe, that meant I had to hustle. It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t running, but I made it home with 35 minutes to spare.
One of my gal pals offered me a ride to the bar. It was the day before my birthday, so of course that meant I got wickedly tipsy. I downed four beers and then proceeded with the “I love you guys sooo much” speech. That’s all normal drunk talk. But then I began the bearing of my soul. How I was struggling with motivation and needed help. Of course, I’m drinking at the time, so what do I say I need help with- drinking.
A few months back, I was the most energized I had ever been. Our family joined a community supported agriculture group. I was cooking fresh, healthy meals loaded with veggie goodness. I had limited my drinking to no more than a single beer a night. I had cut out sweets. I added strength training my workout regimen. I was on FI-RE!
Then we went on vacation- first excuse to drink beer. The boys would not sleep on vacation- second excuse to drink beer. I could not sleep on vacation- third excuse to drink beer. By the time we returned home, I was up to three or four beers a night, and a lot of pizza and cupcakes in between.
I gradually got it down to two beers a night. I know, doesn’t sound like a big deal. But that extra beer each night adds up to 1500-2000 extra calories a week- basically, adding a whole day’s worth of food. I started to see it in my waistline, but I also started to notice how sluggish and grumpy I was in the morning. That one extra drink seemed to have a trigger effect- I woke up groggy, ate a bad breakfast, half assed a work out or skipped it all together, lacked motivation to make a healthy dinner, so I ate out, the day was already shot, so I drank another beer, ate a cookie and finished the night.
Maybe that’s not the truth. Maybe it is placing a lot of emphasis on one tiny, delicious, cold bottle of beer. But, now that thought is stuck in my mind. Until I give it up, I will keep blaming it.
So, duh, give up the stupid beer already- if you thought that, you obviously don’t stay home with young kids. About 3pm in the afternoon, the first beer craving kicks in. The kids are rising from their naps. When they went to sleep, they were darling little angels, but upon awakening, they are horrible little beasts. They should be refreshed, but mostly they just wake up pissed off that they are not allowed to watch two hours of Caillou while guzzling a gallon of juice. No matter what fun alternatives are offered (play-doh, puppet shows, experimenting with knives) they will not allow their mood to improve until Dad comes home.
That becomes the magic deadline- just make it until Dad gets home. I’m watching that clock like Jack Bauer on a deadline. Make it until 5:30pm. Talking myself through it- come on, Kat, you can do it, just a little longer. About 5:15pm, I get the inevitable text that some work catastrophe has occurred, and Ben will be five to ten minutes late. That’s all it takes. I’m done, crack the beer.
Ok, so that’s one. But then I manage to cook dinner, feed the kids, bathe them, clothe them, keep them entertained, go for a nightly walk, get their milk, brush their teeth, find their blankets and toys, read them bedtime stories, and turn out the light- each step amidst protests of “No! I don’t want to! I hate (dinner, baths, sleeping, you.) I have to celebrate making it through another day- crack open number two.
I can’t stop myself. So in my four beer haze, I get this plan to create a pact with a friend. That I will have no more than one beer a night during the weekdays, and no more than one sweet treat a week. That she is to hold me accountable to this.
WHHHHAAAT?!?!?! Drunk Kat- stop talking! Go back to protesting your love and eternal friendship. Stop confessing to being so lame you cannot stop yourself from drinking two beers a day. A) It reeks of alcoholism B) It reeks of pathetic alcoholism- I mean, if you are going to enter into a pact of accountability, at least have a small cocaine addiction or something. Two beers? Bah!
But, I can’t be trusted. Even as I’m writing this, those little guys are stirring from their slumber. Soon they will be fully awake and demanding “TV!!” while I calmly try to interest them in a puzzle. God, that beer sounds good already.