Upon reading an exceptional post by Annabelle Winters about fitness planning and goals, I went out for my morning run with thoughts of the post still in my mind. Normally my runs are filled with daydreams. I imagine that I’m actually running in the marathon I’ve been training so hard for. I picture how my family will be there at the finish line. I try to imagine the cheering crowds and energetic atmosphere. Basically, I let my mind do anything it can to take me away from the reality of the brutally cold, wet and windy weather that has been plaguing my runs all winter.
Today, however, my head was not full of happy thoughts. It was one of those runs… everyone has them. Only 5 miles long, it felt like 15. My feet hurt, my legs were tree trunks, my lungs weren’t working, I was tired. Battling the wind took every ounce of my tiny supply of energy. So instead of thinking about the happier aspects of my running, I started thinking about costs.
I know what I’m gaining from this, and it is a lot. I’m losing weight, feeling better about me, achieving goals, gaining respect, etc etc etc. I am becoming a new person, it’s hard to describe what that feels like. But you can’t become a new person without leaving the old one behind, or at least large parts of the person you once were. As much as I disliked who I used to be as a whole, there were parts that I really liked that I am giving up for my new goals. To ignore this is ignorant and to cling to these things is holding me back from becoming who I want to be.
So in an effort to further my fitness and life goals, I am going to acknowledge the things that I am giving up for this new life and attempt to let them go. I might grieve these losses briefly, but if I didn’t believe it was worth it to leave them behind, I would never have started this in the first place.
Drinking. Let’s be frank, I like to drink… a lot. When I think about relaxing and having fun, I rarely picture it without a drink in my hand. I still consider one of the best times in my life to be the year that Kiel and I spent every Wednesday night at The Spot, a local Karaoke Bar with our good friends (the lovely Annabelle included)! We closed the bar down every week, stumbling down the stairs and making our way to someone’s abode or the nearby train station.
For the majority of my adult life I could be counted on to always be up for a beer. And now I just can’t do it. Don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally on Sundays indulge in some white wine after a really long run, or enjoy an ice cold Corona with a slice of lime after a mid-summer 90 degree run, but my days (or nights rather) of sitting around watching TV (we’ll get to that in a minute) and drinking are essentially over.
Now that every aspect of my life revolves around my running, I am going to bed early and waking up earlier. I can’t get up at 4:30 and run 10 miles if I have been up past 9 or have had even a glass of wine. I need to be at my best pretty much all the time. I am sure that when I am not training, I will indulge a little more often, but considering I’ve signed up for two marathons this year, I’m not going to have a huge break from training.
And then there is the issue of my tolerance… I have none. I used to be able to drink most people under the table, now I’m feeling pretty drunk after a glass or two of wine. And don’t even get me started on anything stronger (just ask Peter about the Vodka in Barcelona).
So, to my party/binge drinking days, I must say goodbye. It was fun while it lasted, but I need to let it go. As one of my good friends Allison told me recently, “there comes a point in your life when being happy is more important than having fun”. Wiser words were never spoken. From now on, nights of drinking and debauchery will be reserved for the off season and special occasions. I’m sure that my liver thanks me.
Buffy. Ok, not Buffy specifically, but that’s the one I feel the most. I miss TV. I used to get home from work every night and chill out on the sofa in my PJ’s with a beer (or a case of beer) and marathon episodes of Buffy, Alias, Greys Anatomy, Angel, Bones, Sex In The City, Dollhouse and The OC. The only breaks I would take were to get up for mass amounts of food and smokes. Now, I’m lucky if I can find time to catch up on the Grey’s recordings on my DVR. I won’t even start new shows because I don’t have time to watch them.
I lived for TV. I spend hours wishing that I was like the girls on my shows. Instead of living my life, I was watching fictional people living out theirs. Part of it is my over active imagination, I am captivated by stories. I love to get caught up in other worlds, it truly is an escape. But when it becomes a regular thing, it’s not an escape anymore, it’s a trap.
Now I’m not saying that I want to go back to living for TV, but I do occasionally find myself longing for a stretch of two days when all I have to do is eat and drink and watch Buffy. I need to get over it. I might have those days occasionally in the future (likely every time I see Peter), but that kind of lifestyle doesn’t mesh with who I am today. I probably wouldn’t even enjoy it as much as I remember, but the feeling of nostalgia sometimes nags at me, specifically at 4:30 in the morning before a 10 mile run!
A social life. This one has to be the worst. I miss people. I haven’t seen most of my friends in months, between my job and my training schedule I barely have time to cook dinner or grocery shop (and don’t even ask about the cleanliness of my house) let alone go anywhere or see anyone.
The last time I saw Jessica was on my birthday, back in January! I have been trying to schedule a dinner date with my friends Jennifer and Nikki for months. I haven’t actually SEEN Annabelle in about a year. I don’t even have time for “date night” with Kiel.
Being a runner is often times a solitary and lonely thing. I wake up by myself and I run by myself. I see Kiel for a short time after my run while we are both getting ready for work and then I go to bed at night before he gets home so I can get up at an obscene hour of the day. I just miss being with people.
So that pretty much sums up the big costs for me. And I am happy to pay them! Because what I am trading them for is something much much much more valuable. This year has been a test for me and will continue to be that until winter. I wanted this and though I seem to have to remind myself of that more and more often lately, I still remember why I started all of this in the first place. I know I can make it. I will run my races and be more proud of myself than I have every been.
Once I am done with these races, I will take some time to re-evaluate where I’m at, what I’ve achieved and what my new goals should be. And for now, I will concentrate on bidding farewell to the old me and embracing the new me.