I’m now about 8 weeks*** into my Couch to 5K (C25K) running program, and it’s not overstating things to say that getting off my ass and moving my body for the first time in far too long has begun changing my life in some very noticeable (to me) ways. To be clear, I’m not sure that running has yet changed my body at all, but I honestly don’t even really care about that anymore.Or at least I don’t care about it nearly as much, and that’s a good thing.
That shift in focus and intent with my newish running habit is just something I didn’t expect at all.
When I started this wacky running project two months or so ago, losing the extra weight I am lugging around after having given birth to two babies via c-section (which ruined my stomach muscles – AKA “core strength”) in the past five years – at ages 39 and 43 – was definitely my primary motivator for wanting to figure out how to work some exercise into my busy life. And I can’t deny that I would still love to lose this extra weight. However, what’s weird is that since I started exercising regularly, I feel smaller, tighter, and fitter, even if I haven’t lost a pound or an inch.
Have I lost any weight? Honestly, I have no idea because I haven’t stepped on a scale since the week before I got started. On that fateful day a few months back when I screwed up my courage and looked down at the flashing digital number displayed between my toes, I was so appalled that I burst into tears. I really did start crying. I have NEVER been so heavy in my life. In fact, the number on that scale that day was so upsetting to me that I can’t even bring myself to type it into this blog post. I know that’s vain and ridiculous, and I feel stupid about it, but in the interest of honesty, that’s the fact of it. I can’t bring myself to tell y’all how much I weighed two months ago, and may still weigh today. I am just too embarrassed. However, suffice it to say that my weight on that day 8 or so weeks ago was 34 pounds heavier than it was when I became pregnant with G in December of 2009, and a solid 50 pounds over what I’d really like to weigh.
I also took a “before” photo of myself that day. In it, I am attired in (okay, STUFFED INTO) the last bikini I wore comfortably in public some years ago – pre-c-sections. I think I wore the top with shorts at Bonnaroo 2005. That was the last time I’d put it on..I’d been googling around before the day I took my photo, looking at blogs by folks who have gone from chubby and inactive to fit and healthy, and I noticed that quite a few of them did take – and even publish – some kind of “before” photo of themselves (even if it wasn’t taken in a bikini).
Like this blogger
and this guy
And here are a whole bunch of running mom blogs with “before” photos to inspire
Anyway, so I took decided to take a “before” photo of myself in my old bikini, and as you can probably guess since I am too embarrassed to EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH I WEIGH, I will not be publishing the photo here for your viewing pleasure.
But I have the photo on my iPhone. And I am glad I took it because when I look at it, I can tell how different I felt in my own skin even two months ago compared to how I feel today. And again, I have no clue whether I look any different, or whether I have lost any weight. All I know is that now when I go running – whether that’s at the park near our house or on the treadmill at our neighborhood Y – I don’t hesitate to strip down to my running skirt and sports bra to keep moving, if that’s what feels comfortable. I don’t care what I look like or who’s looking. I just want to keep moving and feel good doing it. And that’s a BIG difference from how I felt on the day I took that supersecret “before” photo.
Running feels good. And I feel good doing it.
***Although the C25k program is only supposed to last 9 weeks, and I am now about 8 weeks in, I have gone veeeery slowly – repeating days whenever I feel like that’s the right thing for my body. Additionally, I missed 6 full days of running when I was sick recently. So even though I should be almost to the end of the formal C25k program, I am only about halfway done, and I am perfectly happy with that pace. I haven’t sustained a single injury ( a real risk for a new runner), and that tells me I am pacing myself right.