Am I Out of Shape Because Running is Hard, or is Running Hard Because I’m Out of Shape?

Hi. <guilty smile like someone who said they’d call, never did, then bumped into you in line at the grocery store.>

Yeah, things are good here. Work’s good. Oregon’s good. Weather’s been weird though, huh?! How are you? Have you been watching Scandal??? How bout that snow on the East Coast!?

<other awkward small talk rapid fire>

Alright enough of that bullshit.

I was running the other day – yeah, that’s happening, sort of – and was feeling all janky and clunky and wind-sucking… all around pretty shitty, to be honest. I’m out of shape, an unmentionable amount of pounds heavier than I’d like to be, and delusionally believe my lungs are still acclimating to the small increase in elevation. (just under 4,000′ in Bend from 3-below sea level in Newport.)

The problem wasn’t really how bad I felt though. Feeling bad during exercise is part of it, right? Means you’re working hard!

The problem was, I was embarrassed. With how I looked – everything jiggling, gasping for air, a mix of desperation and anger on my face – and how I felt. I let myself fall stupidly out of shape, and all I wanted was a sign to wear around my neck saying “I used to a pretty o.k. runner! Swear!” so everyone wouldn’t think I was just out for a blobby jog to burn off my Thin Mints.

<Don’t think about Thin Mints… Don’t think about Thin Mints… Don’t think about Thin Mints…>

blargh

Sorry I uglied up your prettiness with that face, Shevlin. Rough times.

But then I realized, I wasn’t going to get any less blobby by not running. If my pasty, jiggly thighs weren’t out there plodding around for a few miles, how were they going to get any less jiggly? I needed to be out there. I wanted to be out there!

I don’t want to have to stop for a breather 10 minutes into a run. I don’t want to google “spanx for exercise” and mean it. And I definitely don’t want to skip group lunch runs at work anymore because I’m scared I can’t keep up.

So, I’ll keep stuffing my squish into my spandex and plodding around, knowing that each run gets me closer to my old self. As uncomfortable as it is, it doesn’t have to be embarrassing. If anyone actually cares whether I have a muffin top over my tights or I have to walk up a hill to catch my breath, they can go right on and fuck the hell off. I’m doing this so some day I won’t.

Embarrassing would be continuing to carve out this ass imprint in the couch while shoveling handfuls of chips in my mouth and washing them down with beer, and then whining about being out of shape.

So that’s how I’ve been. Good chatting, we should do it again sometime soon! Promise I’ll actually call this time.

Sarah OUaL

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19 thoughts on “Am I Out of Shape Because Running is Hard, or is Running Hard Because I’m Out of Shape?

  1. I went out on Saturday and my Garmin auto-paused. While I was moving. Fuck you, GPS. And time hop keeps making me cry by sending me photos of old runs, you know, when I used to be able to run. So I’m right there with you, spandex muffin top, especially.

    But you’re in Bend! Run more. Write more. I need to do a little vicarious living, or at least sightseeing. And damn you for mentioning Thin Mints. Damn you.

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  2. Oh my gosh Sarah, I really needed to hear this! I have slacked completely in my fitness, I was doing a couple of random runs a week and then some yoga but honestly no rhyme or reason to what I have going on, no goals in mind. No motivation. But like you I have gained some weight and sadly I have been going through some depression and while I am a smart girl and I know that fitness will help me get through both of those things, I still don’t do it. But this will help motivate me because you are right, in order to get through this, you need to be out there logging the miles, whether its 1 or 10. Great job girl!

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  3. I have been thinking about you and wondering how you have been! I was happy to see this post pop up in my reader and as always, giving me a good chuckle. Looking forward to hearing more about how you are doing! I hope Bend is treating you well and I am looking forward to reading more about how things are going!

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  4. Oh sista, I feel ya! The first runs/miles after a break are hard because your head still thinks you should be in shape, but your body has other ideas. Honestly though, it will come back. More quickly than you think and usually better than before. Glad to hear you’re settling in and loving life #inBend — see you this summer??

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  5. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post. This is my life right now too. It sucks. And for the last couple of months rather than do anything about I just sit around and bitch about. Counter-productive indeed.

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  6. We just moved yo Arizona and the change in elevation is very similar to what you are experiencing for us. Our elevation is 4600 thou g and it is kickin my but. I am struggling.

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  7. My thoughts exactly. The bad thing is that I am in the middle of marathon training and still have a horrific muffin top and ugly love handles. SOB I swear the more I run the worse I look! Almost forgot…. My hair is a train wreck too. Stringy and thinning but cutting it short would surely make people think that they had a new six foot MALE friend. Things can only get better. Hopefully.

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  8. The term “blobby jog” made me LOL. I feel your pain, but you are right in that every run you go on gets you back to where you were and beyond. Some days I miss the paces I used to run pre-injury, but I know the only way to get back there is by running. One step at a time girl!

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