Disclaimer, I’m not a professional,.I’m just simply a woman who’s trying to work out more. So for now, raise your hand if you love running!
Yeah not a lot of people will raise their hand to that question. Just the thought of doing cardio every single day is already exhausting enough to think about. However, at the end of August 2018 I started this journey of self-reflection and self-exploration to grow mentally and physically.
One of my biggest goals was to be fit again. Not so much lose weight (which is great), but get back to my level of stamina that I had at my peak. In the past two years, my weight had fluctuated so much because I got sick (Check out Missing May post for more details). I went from 150 lbs to 180 lbs to 130 lbs to 140 lbs and then this past summer, around 150 lbs again. Now that I was finished with my undergraduate degree, I felt I had no real excuse to not set aside at least some kind of workout, whether that looks like 30 minutes or two hours.
The reason why I chose running as my first mode of working out is because when I was sick in the hospital, I lost a lot of my muscle in my legs. The first time I tried getting up from my hospital bed, I collapsed. Getting sick in May, I missed my opportunity to run in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland with my mom. When I went through physical therapy, I always felt a sense of accomplishment every single time I did not have to use a wheelchair or I was able to balance myself just standing on two feet on a bosu ball. Therefore, I wanted to make my legs strong again for the day I get to run a half marathon and to never find myself in a hospital bed, unable to get up again.
Going back to working out every single day was tough. The first hurdle I encountered was this: a place to work out. Being out of undergraduate, you don’t have a gym included in your tuition anymore. You have to pay to get fit, and that goes for any fitness center. Yes, there are places that have pretty good deals, such as $10 or $30 a month for some places. However, I knew if I also wanted to work on my finance/expenditures goal, paying for a gym was not an option. Thus, I turned to the outdoors. I live in a pretty interesting environment and wherever I ran, there was always a challenge in the terrain. Whether it be inclines, steps, or things to jump over or go under, I went at it.
The first few days were fine. I would go at my own pace jogging for 30 minutes or an hour around my neighborhood, gradually making my way to parts of my hometown and the surrounding cities. Some days when I had an early start in Pomona, I would go run in the area before my shifts. One of the things I realized about running outdoors is that I absolutely cannot do treadmills anymore. I tried to do treadmills while I was out in Florida, but the level of satisfaction that I got from being on a machine was not the same compared to running outside. As the days and weeks went by, I started to work on other parts of my body such as my core and my arms. I felt myself hitting a plateau the more I ran, so I knew it was time to put in work elsewhere to still get the same effect.
I’m not a superhuman. There would be days when I would be too exhausted to get up. I would wake up early in the morning sometimes and stare at the ceiling or at my phone scrolling through Twitter or Instagram or responding to last night’s text messages that were unread because I knocked out after a long day. Before I knew it, it would be 8:15 AM and I would have to start getting ready for work. Other mornings, I would wake up, go to the bathroom, and come back to bed and sleep for another hour. These were the mornings I hated because I would wake up cutting it close to go to work, and I would be rushing. I was so used to routine and sticking to a schedule that I would feel discouraged whenever I did not hit the time I set to go run or workout. I felt as if I let myself down. It would even be the end of the day already, almost 11 PM, and I did not workout yet. I would sit there calling myself weak and I would have an internal conflict whether or not I should do something or just push it to the side saying “Maybe tomorrow”. However those nights when we were cutting it close to the end of the day, I reminded myself that I should at least do something. Any type of workout to top off the day and I would go to bed content with my choice to turn my day around before midnight.
Today, I can proudly say that I can run a solid eight miles, meaning I can comfortably do a 10k run (roughly 6 miles if you’re wondering)! I also have lost a couple of pounds, but I actually won’t find out for two more weeks how much I actually weigh. My weight loss and fitness journey doesn’t stop though, it really just begun like the rest of the life I want to live.
There was beauty in running and working out for the past two months. The mornings I would go run to start my day, I found myself being extremely productive and having high energy to be around people. The evenings I would go run allowed me to unwind and really just de-stress before practicing my self care routine at home. These workouts in general really put me in a different head space. When I completed another day or another workout, I felt it was already a victory for me and I couldn’t wait for the next one.
Even running around my town, my surrounding cities, and Pomona was an experience. I started to take notice of how much things have changed around me, what has been there all this time, and what seeing the sunrise and sunset looks like when you aren’t in your car getting from point A to point B. I started to appreciate more of what I had and take advantage of what I didn’t acknowledge before.
This time last year I would just go to the gym and do the bare minimum my body could handle with weights, running on the track or treadmill, or stretching in a studio. Now, I’m taking on the outdoors and really challenging myself to go beyond my limits while practicing care at the same time and exploring new places.
I’m pretty sure my legs hate me right now, but at the same time the rest of my body is thankful for the strength to start somewhere.
Whether you’re starting to workout for the first time or have been working out for years, it’s never too late to change up your surroundings and challenge your body and your mind to something new.