I've really gotten back into running over the past month or so. I had kind of gotten away from it for a while, but I was getting way too bored with the elliptical and just walking on the treadmill. It was time to head back outside to run in the wilderness like my ancestors (okay, more like run outside in a well-lit subdivision). Also, in the interest of honesty, I don't actually know if my ancestors ran anywhere at all.
So, this time of year where I live (a.k.a. Hot and Humid Central), running outside is pretty much limited to sunrise or sunset unless you think it's a barrel of laughs to get heatstroke or something. I picked sunrise because I figured it would get my day off to a good start and plus, despite no real evidence to back this up, it seems less likely that I would get mugged or something at dawn as opposed to twilight. Let me say, I look pretty awesome at 5 am. Here is a picture:
Yup, you know me, raring to go in my leopard bikini! Oh wait, are you trying to tell me that I still haven't morphed into a Brooklyn Decker clone? Bummer. Maybe I look more like this:
Yeah, I think that face pretty much speaks for itself. The vacant expression that says, "Why the hell did I think this was a good idea?!?" No matter how enthused I am the night before, I just can't seem to manage any enthusiasm at all that early in the morning. It takes too much energy. I try to avoid looking at the clock that early as much as possible because then I can at least pretend it isn't such an ungodly hour. In an effort to make sure I do actually get up, I've taken to sleeping in my workout clothes many nights so all I have to do in the morning is put in my contacts and put on my shoes. Hey, whatever works!
So yeah, I drag myself out of bed and head outside. And usually by then, I'm at least somewhat happy to be there. I am helped by the fact that I no longer sound like a dying animal after running approximately 30 seconds. Running wasn't so fun when that was true. I thought people who talked about runner's highs were crazy or maybe just actually high. Playing soccer as a kid, I was a good sprinter. Despite having short legs, I was somehow still able to go pretty fast. But distance running just never seemed like my thing. But now I'm starting to get into it. I can rack up some decent mileage. Don't get me wrong; it isn't pretty. While it's fun to think I look graceful and fierce when I'm running, I know the truth. It looks more like this:
But that's okay. My form may not be anywhere close to perfect, I may not be going fast, but the point is that I am doing it. I am doing something that I would have thought to be impossible this time last year. And what makes me feel even better about running is that I have a pretty good excuse for not running. My left foot is, for lack of a better phrase, jacked up. This foot has been 1) run over by a treadmill as a child, resulting in a gigantic keloid and my phobia of running on treadmills 2) had severe second degree burns after being splashed by boiling spaghetti sauce 3) had surgery to correct a clawtoe (umm, yes that is an actual condition that is about as sexy as it sounds), which means my big toe has a screw in it and can't bend and is also shortened, there is a lot of hardware in my foot, and my arch got shaved away 4) had surgery to repair a torn tendon and 5) had more second degree burns from being splashed by very hot queso dip (obviously I am really not good with hot items). It's been through a lot. Weirdly, my right foot has never had anything at all happen to it, so at least the scarring is limited to one foot. Please admire my extremely ugly foot:
Really the only problems I have with it are due to the surgery, but I just thought it was funny to list the crazy amount of unfortunate incidents that have befallen my poor foot. The whole anatomy of my foot has been changed. so running isn't the easiest thing. I basically now have one foot that is narrow with a high arch and one foot that is wide with no arch. This makes shoe shopping super fun! Not. So what happens is that every mile or so into my runs or even actually when I'm just walking on the treadmill too, the ball of my foot simultaneously starts hurting like it has a bad bruise and starts going numb. Sounds bizarre I know. This is only relieved by stopping to rub my foot for 30 seconds or so and then I'm good to go for another mile or so. Needless to say, this looks a little weird. I've tried all different kinds of orthotics, resting, icing, etc but to no avail. I've just come to accept it. But that's why I'm so proud that I run anyway. Between that and my asthma, it would be so easy to just say that I can't be a runner. But I know that is an excuse. I do what I need to do to be able to run, whether it's rubbing my foot when I need to or using my inhaler, and I don't let anything stop me. It's worth it to me, and every day as I feel myself getting more endurance, getting faster and stronger with every mile, I am more and more proud of myself for becoming the athlete that I always knew that I was capable of being.