Run for your life.

Today I ran day #3 of the Couch to 5K plan.

I look like a moron when I'm out there running/struggling to make myself run/jog/walk/continue to put one foot in front of the other.

I still can't start running every time my app tells me to start running.

Guess what, though...???

I don't care.

I'm out there, I'm going to continue to get out there, and I will work my way up to my goals, slowly but surely.

Here's part of the inspiration that got me started: a friend posted this link to her facebook wall. It was exactly what I needed, EXACTLY what I needed in order to haul myself up off the couch and go. It was cold outside. I didn't own a good pair of running shoes, a sports bra, a fancy contraption to hold my smartphone, or anything else I might have formerly told myself I needed in order to start running. All I had was this big, fat, out-of-shape body and my frustration with it. I took it, and I ran with it.

This year I'm finally doing ME, and I am determined not to care what that looks like to other people. Sometimes it isn't easy.

I did my first two runs in silence, thinking I would just use the time to clear my head. It was nice, in a way; as my feet pounded the pavement, I let my mind run off ahead. I kept my eyes down, both out of embarrassment and because I didn't want to trip and face plant into the sidewalk. I thought about what I probably looked like to passersby. I'm only around 5'6'', and I weigh close to 200 lbs. I have a small frame, with narrow shoulders, and for my height and build, 200 lbs. is a lot of weight to be carrying around.

I imagined everyone antagonistic, jeering at me through their car windshields. Then, I thought about how I feel when I see fat people out running or walking. I realized my thoughts are never antagonistic. Usually, I'm thinking, "Damn! Good for him (or her). I wish that was me out there." Then I thought, okay, so more realistically, people are probably thinking,"Oh, how sweet! That pregnant lady is trying to keep exercising, even at 9 months!" Then I thought, okay, even more realistically, people probably don't even notice me out here or think anything about it if they do. The attitudes I attribute to people in my head are really just excuses to tear myself down, to hide myself away, to think less of myself. Then I thought, "Hmm...next time I'm going to make a playlist, so that I don't think so much..."

The point is, I started with nothing, not even a playlist to accompany me. I started out wearing stretchy maternity yoga pants (My only child is 4 years old, by the way.), my beloved purple New Balance tennis shoes, a raggedly t-shirt, and a black knit cap that makes me look remarkably like Angus Young. I duct taped my phone to my waistband because my pants didn't have pockets.

The important thing is that I started at all, and that I'm determined to keep going.

Today I ran along to Pandora Radio. So in addition to the maternity pants and duct tape, I was singing Nelly under my breath: "Andele, andele, mami, E I E I Oh, oh!" Certainly no less ridiculous, but a little more confident. I'll let anyone I meet think what they will. It's MY life I'm running for, after all.


A testament to how badly we need to change our meal habits.

Today, I made a simple lunch of sandwiches, raw carrots with dip, and applesauce and called Eliot into the kitchen to eat. His first puzzled response was, "Why are we eating in the kitchen?" I told him we're making a few changes around here and we're going to eat at home more often and the kitchen table is where we eat meals. He sat down and took a bite of his ham, lettuce, cheese, and mayonnaise sandwich.

"Oh, Mom!" he exclaimed, smiling, "This tastes just like when we eat at Swubway! You should make these all day long!"



It's my life. It's now or never.

I finally hit bottom this week. Everyone's bottom is different. (hehehe. No, seriously.) I thought I'd been to mine many times, but no situation was ever alarming enough to motivate me to make actual change in my life. I've made some pretty stupid choices, choices that make some great stories I'll never tell my grandkids, and you'd think some of those times would have been my bottom, but no.

My bottom = On January 1, 2012, I maxxed out my credit card. I have $14,000.00 worth of credit card debt, and no idea how I'm going to pay it back.

Now, once again, in comparison to some of the stupid shit I've done in the past six months, hitting my credit card limit may not seem like it would be that big of a deal. But it is.

And here's why: being in debt scares me like I've never been scared before.

I'm terrible at managing money. I'm not overly fond of "things" or possessions: I don't drive a flashy car; I don't wear designer clothes; I live a pretty modest lifestyle. But I fritter away money like it's a talent, and I don't make much money to begin with. Ever since my first divorce, I've used my credit card to supplement my income; meaning at whatever point I run out of money for the month, I just switch over to ye olde magical Visa. And yes, I think I DO want to go to NYC! VISA. Las Vegas?! VISA. Chicago? VISA. Oh, don't worry, I'll pick up the tab for our pizza/beer/movie tickets! VISA. Put that Roc's tab on my VISA! Let's treat ourselves to Cracker Barrel/Red Lobster/Olive Garden/KoFusion/What's Cookin every single weekend! VISA. Four dollar coffee everyday, sometimes twice day! VISA. Yahoo! It's not REAL money! It's just my VISA!

The reality has finally kicked in that this little card is not a limitless fountain of money. I have been charging more than I've been paying on it for some time, and now my time is up. No more easy out. Nowhere to turn if it's only the 5th and I'm already broke. I've known for a long time that I need to change my spending habits, but I've known it in a back-of-my-head way, the same way I know I should probably lose weight, and I should really start keeping my house cleaner, and really, I should probably eat out less often. Ending my reliance on my credit card has been just one in a very long list of things I'm going to do, you know...when I get my shit together...someday. In some bright, shiny future, where I'm a better version of myself, I'll have my credit card paid off. I'm sure of it.

It never really occurred to me in a visceral, real way that in order for that bright, shiny future, better version of me to manifest, I actually have to make changes NOW. I can wait around for the benevolent faeries to come at night and pay my credit card bill and clean my house, and cook great meals, and give me liposuction while I sleep, but...chances are I'll be waiting a damn long time. It ain't gonna happen unless I make it happen.

It has finally sunk in that if I expect to grow, I need to first plant seeds. So here are my seeds:
  1. I cut up my credit card.
  2. I started the Couch to 5K program in a bid to get more (and by "more" I mean "any at all") exercise and maybe even shed some of these extra pounds.
  3. I went grocery shopping for real food and have vowed not to eat out more than once a week.
  4. I've made a vow not to date anyone until I've reached some of my life goals and am happy with my self first. No more losing myself in someone else so that I can ignore the work I need to do on me.
If I don't plant the seeds now and do the work to help them sprout and grow, my future me is going to be the same as my past me. I've met her, and frankly, I don't really like her all that much.

Here's to Rachel 2.0. Working towards a better version of me.