Or “You know the first guy to do that died at the end?”
Or or, “What does your body do?”
I just signed up to run the Oakland Half Marathon on March 25, 2012, start time 9AM. Here’s why.
I, like many people, don’t really enjoy exercise for exercise’s sake. I have to make myself go. I’m a diabetic, the sort of diabetic where the weight I carry on my hips has a direct relationship with my life expectancy, so exercising shouldn’t really be optional for me. Yet, I still find motivation hard to come by. Apparently the threat of eventual kidney failure doesn’t really scare me. I mean it is eventual.
During pre-pregnancy I managed to find some motivation. The common understanding is that the more fit you are, the easier your pregnancy is and the less likely you are to end your pregnancy with an incision to the abdomen. Avoiding a cesarean was high on my list of priorities at the time. So I hit the gym to some success. And even through the first trimester, I was water walking and keeping moving and generally succeeding.
What my body could do, was going to do, was a huge motivating factor for me. I was training for labor and delivery. I was going to carry for 9 months, I was going to labor and deliver with my wits about me and my head held high. I was going to…
Three weeks before the baby’s due date, my blood pressure skyrocketed, my liver started eating my red blood cells, and my whole internal system started to go horribly awry. I was rushed through triage in the L&D and was given an emergency c-section under general anesthesia. I was so sick it was 24 hrs before I was well enough to hold the baby I’d so looked forward to. I not only hadn’t labored or delivered, I’d missed it entirely.
Fast forward several months.
A girlfriend of mine was looking for motivation to get back into exercising. We were talking about the best body image advice I’d ever received: Don’t focus on what your body looks like, but on what your body does. For her, the best doing she’d found to get herself going was run/walking a half-marathon, 13.1 miles. When she’d done the first one, my husband had joked, “Yeah, well, you know the first guy to ever run a marathon died at the end.” He’s a history geek. And damn funny, as you can tell.
This time, being her second, she asked me to join her. It took me some thinking. I mean, like I said, physical exercise isn’t really my forte. And running, that’s pretty hard core. Athletes run. My sister, an aerobics instructor, runs. Maybe I could start with something less…serious. Girlfriend put it to me this way: 13.1 miles at a base 4 miles/hour is 3.5 hours. The course is open for 6 hours. You can walk it in less than 6 hours. And even then, you’ll still have finished.
I trained for labor and delivery for almost a year total and missed it. This I could train for in 9 months and finish. I had this image of myself crossing under a sign that said FINISH with people cheering. I had an image of myself at 37 being able to say: Yeah, I’ve done a marathon, well half of one. If I could do 13 miles at 37, could I do 26 miles by 40? Who knows? Who cares? I could try.
So I’ve put my money on the barrelhead. I’ve been training on and off since July and I’m up to running almost a mile straight and to walking 4 miles+ without problems. I’ve lost my baby weight and am driving towards my healthy weight. Apparently this body wasn’t build to deliver a baby. But it may have been built to run a half-marathon. Go figure.