February 11, 2021

Bitten By the Running Bug (and a TON of photos)


One of the unfortunate characteristics of having bipolar disorder is that my thoughts tend to go all over the place. They jump from one thing to the next and I really have to concentrate if I want to stay on topic. As you know from reading my blog, I tend to write exactly how I think...

...all over the place ;)

So, this post is going to be a bunch of jumbled thoughts that came to me recently. Hopefully they will make sense.

It's been 208 days since I started walking five miles a day (yes, I mention it frequently because I'm proud of it!) and somewhere around Day 60 or so (or maybe Day 100 or Day 25, I don't remember) I got the urge to run a little. Not because I felt like I "should" or because I wanted to step up my workout. It was for no reason other than a primal feeling in my legs.

 I had Joey with me, and while I have run with him before, I was actually in shape back then. Trying to wrangle a dog and run while totally out of shape would have been more difficult a challenge than I wanted to take on at the time. 

However, there were a few times in the following months where I just had to give into that urge. I only ran for one mile at a time (I walked two miles, ran one, walked one, then ran the last). I felt completely out of shape and my legs felt like Jello (or maybe lead would be better), my boobs felt too big (ugh, I miss having small boobs!), and I jiggled a lot in areas I don't remember jiggling the last time I ran. But I did it, and it's been on my mind here and there ever since.

Joey loves his long walks, and I would feel super guilty taking those away; so I started thinking of compromises (walk him a few miles, then do a run by myself). If I could get back in shape, then I'll just run with him, but that would be too difficult physically for me now.

I wrote a few days ago how I ended up using the treadmill a few times last week and that I came up with a little mind game to play with myself to make the five mile walk go by faster--and it involved some running. I found that I missed how my legs felt after a run.

I got an email recently from a woman named Beth Probst who said that she started reading my blog many years ago when she, a self-proclaimed "fat girl", decided to start running. Lo and behold, she really took off with it and went on to run a dozen or more half-marathons--all while being a "non-serious plus-size runner". She did not lose weight, but she started from the couch and became a half-marathoner!

She was writing me because she wrote a book about her journey and was wondering if I'd like to read it. It's called "It Could Be Worse: A Girlfriends Guide for Runners Who Detest Running". It absolutely sounded like something I'd enjoy, so of course I wanted to read it. (I won't write much about the book here, because she plans to write a guest post for my blog soon!)

While reading, that tiny little voice coming from somewhere deep in my brain made me start getting the itch to run again. As I read her book, I thought more and more of the things that I miss about running.

Today, I had the thought, "I'm going to write a post called 'What I Miss About Running' today on my blog! And now, as I sat down to write, I thought I'd better check to make sure I hadn't already written one.

Turns out I did, back in 2019. And it was a damn good post!

So, I can't exactly write the same thing. But you can read about it here if you want. It all holds true.

Anyway, the running seed had been planted in my mind months ago, and it's been growing. Then reading Beth's book made me feel ALL the feels about running. You know when you first have a crush on someone, and they are all you can think about? Well, I'm starting to get that little spark back about running!

Finishing Beth's book made me think all the manic bipolar thoughts: sign up for a dozen races right this minute, write a training plan, read the past three years of Runner's World that I never read but saved for some reason, buy all the running clothes, and announce that I am a runner again!

But thankfully, my medication gives me a reality check when I really need it, so I am being rational.

Because of the COVID pandemic, I can't really plan on any races. But when I felt that excitement about running just from reading a book, I want to feel that excitement again all the time. I used to LOVE all things running (well, except actually doing it, haha!)--reading books, articles, blogs, and magazines about it; writing blog posts about my training; writing training plans; coaching cross country; following runners on social media; and basically living and breathing as a runner.

I miss being a runner. And there is no reason I can't be a runner again--all it takes is running. I don't have to be fast, I don't have to run races, I don't have to run dozens of miles at a time. I can get the most enjoyment out of it as possible.

Here's what I know for a fact: It ain't gonna be easy. 

(The photo above, in 2010, was my first 5K under 30 minutes)

When I first started running in spring of 2010, I was huffing and puffing like I was going to die after just a minute or two. I thought that there was no way I'd ever be able to run a mile! And just a year later, I ran a half marathon in two hours and ten minutes.

In Beth's book, she mentions a book called 'Grit' by Angela Duckworth, and she quoted "...nobody wants to show you the hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.”

I LOVE THAT. It's especially apparent in weight loss success stories. You see the amazing before and after photos and read the recap of their stories, but you don't actually see the "becoming" a success. You only see "before" and "after". The bad and the good. The old and the new. Not the actual changes being made.

From afar, when I started Runs for Cookies (almost 10 years ago!), one might look at it and think that I lost 125 pounds and became a half-marathoner and life was just peachy--I figured it all out and I was doing great.

In reality, I worked my ASS off, making decisions day after day to help me get to my goals, sacrificing a lot of quick satisfactions for long-term successes. Nobody saw that struggle inside of my head when I was dying to quit but I forced myself to keep going. They only saw the highlight of what I became. The before and the after.

I want to become a runner again. Maybe this is just another random bipolar thought that will pass, but it's been growing inside me for a while now and I think I'd like to start listening to it. And because I write every day, I'm going to have to include the "becoming" part--becoming a runner again and not just "I'm a walker today" and then a year from now, "I'm running a half-marathon today". (Don't quote that, it's just an example--I have no idea if I'll ever have the desire to run a half-marathon again.)

I downloaded Nita Sweeney's book, 'Depression Hates a Moving Target' (affiliate link), today and I'm going to listen to it again on my walks. (It's an AWESOME book, and she actually wrote a guest post for my blog--you can read it here. She is super kind and simply an amazing human being.) I remember how much it helped me while I was doing my 3-3-3 plan (running 3 miles, 3 times a week, for 3 months). I'm going to start following some runners on Instagram again, and maybe even flip through my Runner's World magazines.

Remember that time I was FEATURED IN Runner's World magazine? Can you even imagine the 2010 me, huffing and puffing, one day being in the world's most popular running magazine? Did that even happen?

When I surround myself with things about running, it makes me stay focused on it. It was the same with weight loss--when I was losing the weight (way back in 2009-2010), I read a lot of weight loss success stories, weight loss blogs, etc. Not as an obsession, but just something to keep my goal at the front of my mind.

I don't have a plan--yet--about getting back into being a runner, but I know it's something I'd like to do. I'm not in a rush and I want to enjoy the process, so it may take some time. But this time, I'm looking forward to it. I want to experience those things that I miss about running!

And here are a TON of photos from my running days that make me happy :)  (I won't explain each one, but if you've been reading my blog for a while, you may recognize many of them!)


















































12 comments:

  1. Awesome pictures!! I would read all those back issues of Runner's World!! That is one thing I miss about my running days is that magazine....the only one I would read cover to cover. I mean I know I could still get it, but somehow it feels "wrong" since I am no longer a runner.

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  2. I think I miss running. But most of what I miss about running is races and my people. Between moving and Covid I dont have those so I just cant get myself moving. If I could have the races I could me new people - I think. The thought of meeting new people is awful. I feel like in the past year I have lost all social skills. what would we talk about? We have been stuck in our houses for a year. Sorry dont mean to be a downer in your comments. Your post really did make me happy, I love to see someone getting their mojo back :)

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  3. Ok I must be a long time reader because I recognize every single picture! Lol. Also funny story about your yellow tank top when the pink bra bled through: I recently got a new hot pink sports bra. And I was about to throw it in the wash with all my other delicates when out of nowhere I thought of your story of the hot pink bra that bled like crazy before you washed it and I immediately pulled it out of the wash to rinse it separate first! I didn't want to have a hot pink laundry disaster!

    This is a great post! I certainly miss the races and the socialization of running. I've been trying to get in just more cardio in general but this is making me want to sign up for a race after Covid is over!

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  4. The constant theme throughout the pics---you look happy.

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  5. I feel like my old pictures of my triathlon days taunt me now (and I was never that good at it, but I was in MUCH better shape). I read the books and blogs and I miss feeling like I was a part of all of that. But I'm just barely hanging on a lot of days and I just can't find the mental bandwidth to get back at it. The book "Grit" was really good as was Nita's book (which I read on your recommendation). But right now, I'm dedicating myself to just doing what I have to do to get through everyday life. Hopefully someday I can have that "crush" feeling back again.

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  6. Man, this post gave me all the same feelings :). I miss being a runner, too...

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  7. Thanks so much for the book and guest post shout out! Hope you enjoy Depression Hates a Moving Target as much the second time through. Also, thanks for the recommendation for Beth Probst's book! Sounds perfect. And finally, I'm so happy you've got the running bug again. It doesn't matter if you continue to run, only run once in a while, start and stop again, you have the heart of a runner, kind, gentle, brave, and fabulous! Can't wait to hear more about how it goes.

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  8. Love this post! Especially the pictures! I am stuck and don’t know how to... get unstuck. Pre kids I had so much determination and motivation and I can’t seem to find any of those anymore....
    so happy you are back to running !

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  9. That was a wonderful post Katie! Your statement about "becoming" truly resonates with me. Thank you for the epiphany :)
    Happy Weekend!

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  10. I agree with Lavender1. You're so happy when you run! I love reading your blog and love the pictures! I miss being a runner too. I'm not giving up on it. I do my stair workouts for cardio. I'm scarred to run outside due to mean dogs. When it warms up I might start going to the next town to run. I never had a problem with dogs there. I'm so proud of you Katie!

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  11. Katie,
    Happy to see this post. You’re always inspiring even when your feel challenged. I seem to lag a few months behind you in your life style changes, the ups and downs, and so I’m excited that we both may be on track for a mew running adventure.

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  12. You would LOVE the book Grit by Angela Duckworth (your mentioning that book in this post made me think of it). One thing Angela says is that sometimes we have more grit than at other times. I think about that a lot. I listened to that book on audio, and it was so good I immediately started it again after I finished it.

    Oh, one more thing: I love your posts! All over the place or not, they follow closer to how my brain thinks of things, and I tend to jump around too. My favorite people are people who can jump around in a conversation with me, following the conversation wherever our squirrel brains go, and we usually circle back to the original topic eventually. I imagine that's what it's like to talk to you. :)

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