Monday, February 20, 2012

What To Do When Your Children Try To Kill You Off Early

Last year, my oldest daughter, who lives in Boston -- did I mention she is an attorney? < insert image of proud mama beaming like this has something to do with how I was in labor with her for 14 long, grueling, horrendously painful hours with NO epidural, and absolutely nothing to do with her own intelligence> --called to tell me she had started this program named C25k. It sounded vaguely outer-space-ish to me, perhaps because in my uniquely circuited  brain I kept somehow confusing it with  Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is often abbreviated MST3k.
At any rate, she kept telling me she'd started this cosmonaut program (or whatever) and thought I would love it. I listened with half an ear, as mothers of four are wont to do, until I realized it was a RUNNING plan. "What?? I am 52 years old!! I've never exercised in my entire life! Are you trying to get your inheritance early?" I asked incredulously. "Do you EVER remember me doing anything even vaguely healthy??" She had to demur that she did not. I was pleased with her recall.

But she kept on about it until finally, on New Year's Day 2011, I decided if I didn't try then, I was only going to become more decrepit and wizened and would never be able to maintain my health enough to someday live with each child just to pay them all back for what they put me through in their teenage years. So I climbed onto the dusty state-of-the-art treadmill which takes up a good third of our bedroom, pushed start and -- nothing. I discovered it needed to be plugged  in.

I quickly realized I was in over my head.  This plan meant I had to actually move!! For minutes at a time!!

Here was the schedule for Week 1 Day 1 for Couch To 5k:
5 minute warm up
Run 30 seconds
Walk 45 seconds
Run 45 seconds
Walk 60 seconds
Run 60 seconds
Walk 90 seconds
And -- most unbelievable of all --repeat this THREE TIMES!! FOR THREE DAYS A WEEK!! AND IT GOT HARDER EACH WEEK!!!
(Then cool down with a 5 minute walk. You should always have a cool-down period.)
Were they insane????? The people who created this training program must have found directions for torture from the Spanish Inquisition! I mean, really -- I was 52, for Pete's sake! I could keel over and die! I could pull something! I could have to pee! I could.......SWEAT!

Now, there is nothing worse to me than sweat. I was born, bred and raised in the South, and I will die a Southern belle. In the South, we "glow."  During this program, my "glow" plastered my hair to my head, dripped into my eyes, ran down my back, slid over my paunch,  and puddled around my feet. I learned to sling that "glow" off my forehead with a perfected flip that even a professional athlete would have been proud of.

Side note:  I look absolutely nothing like Vivien Leigh (I could only wish) but if you are going to put a photo of a Southern belle in your blog to represent you, you want the epitome of belleishness. Hey, I'm not crazy, I get to pick the photos.
 Side note: My husband said in all fairness I should show who I actually look more like.                                                                        
 So, each day I'd venture out into the neighborhood, hoping not to run into anyone I knew (read my "Boo Radley" blog of how I have frightened small children), and,  iPhone in hand, I'd push the C25k app. Off I would glow, gung-ho for the first 5-minute warm-up walk, but then that darn bell would ring, and a voice would pleasantly scream: "RUNNNNNNNNNNNN!"

Now, running 60 or 90 seconds may not seem much to you. It doesn't even sound that difficult as I type this. But time is a funny thing, my friends. Have you ever noticed how fluid it is? When you are enjoying something, time simply flies by on joyful little sparrow wings. Before you know it, practically before you can even register the pleasantry in your brain, it's over. It has rushed right by you like a barrel over Niagara Falls.                                                          
Yet the opposite is true for bad things, right? People who are in terrible accidents or have had some type of traumatic occurrence say that time stops for them. We've all seen those horror movies, where the crazed knife-wielding maniac in a hockey mask is approaching the sniveling, screaming, scantily clad slutty girl in slowwwwwwwwwwwww moooooooootion, so slowly she could easily escape, but no, of course not, she is a girl and so the director has her trip and fall over her own stupid feet, not once but maybe three or four times.....ummm, yes, well, anyway, when bad things happen, time really drags, that's my point.
Those 60 seconds of running became for me a river of Elmer's glue- and wet-cement -laden molasses paved not with tumbled rocks but sticky fly strips holding each foot captive.  I was slogging for a decade through a yawning chasm of glowing, gasping, on-the-teetering-brink-of-death-right-before-you-tip-over-into-it agony by forcing my body to do something it had never done before, 52 years of every ache and pain I'd ever experienced rolled into tiny, torturous, 60-second increments. I hurt. I hurt bad.

But each day, I got out there -- because if my daughter could do it, so could I. More importantly, SHE thought I could do it. What mother wants to let her baby chick down? Oops, didn't mean to show my maternal side, I'm trying show my bad-ass side right now. Raar.
And an amazing, miraculous thing happened along the way.  Those 60 seconds of running got --- easier. I quit hurting. I began to look forward to getting out there. Each day, I began to think of the challenge as something I was going to push myself to achieve, and best of all, I began to believe I could triumph.
Flash-forward a year. I've run 3k, 5k, 8k and 10k races, and I've won a little age-group bling. Pretty proud of it, actually. I'm looking forward to running a half-marathon soon -- training for it as we speak. So, what I want to tell you is this:
Get out there and make your dream a reality. You CAN do it!! Whether you  want to start C25K yourself, or you want to take a yoga class, or you secretly yearn to run a marathon, my advice is never, ever give up! Because the best revenge when your children try to kill you off early to get their share of the will is -- you'll be in such great shape they'll never be able to catch you.


  1. I want to run after that woman that screams RUUUUNNNNN and hurt her!!

    1. Channel that energy into running harder! Haha!!! Thanks for reading!!

  2. RAAAAR! This is getting to be a favorite part of my day! Love it!

    1. Thanks so much! Please pass it on to every person you know on earth! :)

  3. Yes, it was a difficult birth because of my giant, giant attorney brains. ;) BUT I AM SO USEFUL TO YOU NOW! I am a killer cosmonaut! I make you run! For your life!!! MWAHAHAHA.

  4. You do come in handy! And I appreciate the advice. :) Now you must tell everyone about your mama's blog!!

  5. the molasses description. Your blog has answered more questions than an actual conversation with you regarding running! You do indeed have a talent for writing! I am going to do this, I am. Thank you, my funny..and triumphant friend. It is a joy to read your blog.

  6. Thank you Wendy. And I hope you do decide to do C25K. I will be happy to help you in any way I can!! Can't you imagine the 2 of us running together??? We would be superstars!!

  7. Mary is on board.........finally!,

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