Today, a part of me died. The part of me that has been a dominant presence in all 35 years of my life was squashed and stomped on today like a barrel of grapes. She is that incessantly annoying voice in the back of my brain that always shouts "You can't DO that! Just quit now and avoid the pain and humiliation of trying!!" She was replaced by a thinner, stronger voice that said "You can do this. You will do this. And if you try and you still can't do it, try once more." I like that voice.
I went into this weeks runs with the mindset that there was NO WAY I could physically handle three minute intervals of running. I mean, I barely made it through 90 second intervals and now they wanted me to do that TWICE IN A ROW?? Sacrilage!! I emailed and texted everyone I knew who was supposed to be doing this challenge with me to see if they were still doing it, looking for even one scapegoat to make it ok for me to quit. No one responded. Which tells me 1) they were too busy running to respond or (and most probably) 2) they all quit or died during the first week. So I was stuck, once again, being accountable for myself and what I chose to do. And it kinda sucked. Because one thing I have learned is that personal accountability is kind of a pain in the ass. If you are making all your own decisions you have no one else to blame.
Take for instance, my broken and pained knees. They hurt in ways that are not human. And it's because of this running I keep doing. And no one is telling me to run. I am doing it of my own accord. Therefore, when I need to someone to call an asshole, I have to look in the mirror and that's just no fun. Because I already know I'm an asshole. Otherwise, I would have quit running two weeks ago.
Last night I went back and forth on whether or not I should run today. My knees seem to take longer and longer to stop hurting each week. But I have to wonder if it's the "no pain, no gain" kind of pain that comes with the strengthening of muscles I have NEVER used. So, my first instinct was to keep running with the hopes that it would subside over time, and pretty soon I would be one of those super cool, yet annoying runners with my iPod strapped to my arm as I ran the streets in my sports bra and lycra pants, holding my hand up to cars as I crossed the street, and rocking a neon, rainbow sweatband. I know, awesome right?? But then, the horrible nagging "You can't do this" voice said, "But, what if it's real pain and it gets so bad that you can't exercise anymore and then you become the fattest woman alive, all because you thought you were still cool enough, and young enough to run? Asshole." And I can't give up my daily Biggest Loser Yoga workouts because I broke my knee trying to run, right?
This saga played over and over in my head while I slept. And while I shopped. And while I ate lunch. And while I layed on the couch watching reruns of Grey's Anatomy for the thousandth time. And then.....I said fuck it. And I put on my sneakers and turned on the treadmill. And I ran. And I made it through the three minute intervals. Without cheating. No, wait. I didn't just make it through the three minute intervals, I made them my BITCH. Who's the asshole now?
So, while a part of me died today, a part was also born. The part of me born doesn't back down to a challenge. She doesn't take a beating lying down. She jumps at the chance to do the things she never thought she could do before and kills the naysaying voice with ninja stars of death. Because while my knees still hurt, and I may very well still be an asshole, I am an asshole that can run.