I took up jogging this past January after LITERALLY over a decade of thinking, occasionally, "Maybe I could take up jogging. [Non-athletic Person I Know] took up jogging, so maybe I could too." And then I wouldn't. But then my 41-year-old work bff Denise took up jogging and ran a 5k, and I think that was the Non-athletic Person I Know who finally nudged me the last inch (I mean, centimeter, since we apparently use the metric system for jogging) over my mental line to deciding I could attempt to take up jogging.
Well, that plus the fact that I finally owned a smartphone and therefore had access to C25K apps. I used RunDouble to get myself from Couch Potato to Someone Who Can Sustain a Jog for 30 Minutes. Now I use RunKeeper just to track things, but man, I give a lot of credit to that C25K app. It gave me permission to take it slow to start, and take things in manageable, bite-sized chunks, with plenty of walking in the first few weeks.
I ran a 5k one week before my 30th birthday. I'm not really a person who tries for significant timing like that, but it worked out that way, and I was surprised at how affected I was: I cried as I ran across the finish line.
And then I peed myself. No, really. Whoops. (And that is why I will probably never attempt long-distance jogging.)
After I ran the 5k, I tapered off my jogging quite a bit, down to only once a week or even less, and until this past week I'd gone 2 weeks without jogging, and when I did go, I was doing less than 2 miles (for the uninitiated: a 5k = 3.1 miles). I didn't have time, it was too hot, I didn't feel like it, I wasn't feeling well, I'd go tomorrow, etc etc etc. Even my past two jogs since last Saturday have been under 2 miles.
But tonight, I decided to jog, and once I was out there, I decided to just keep going. And I jogged for 3.6 miles. Not that far, but still my longest jog yet, shortly after a 2 week break. So for the first time since May, I got to that point in the jog where the endorphins kick in and you feel, not less tired, but like you could keep doing this pretty much indefinitely, and furthermore everything is right with the world and you are totally satisfied and happy with your life and you are at one with the world and, hey, it's finally time to tackle that project you've had in the back of your mind for a few years, because you could definitely make time for it if you just tried.
Why can't I ever remember how great that feels on the days when I know I should jog but decide not to? Ah, the mysteries of the universe. Or life. Or the human brain. Or whatever.
Over the past couple of months of much less jogging, I was worried that I was letting it slip away, just like I'd let all past attempts to get in shape lapse after a while: joining the Y, swimming laps, "running" on the elliptical...nothing lasted more than a few months. And it all cost a lot of money. I will need new sneakers before too long, but thus far jogging has only cost me a couple bucks for that C25K app, and $15 for running shorts with pockets. Oh, and I guess $22 for cold-weather running tights. Did I mention I took up jogging in January? Who DOES that? (Uh, lots of people who make New Year's Resolutions, I hear you saying? Yeah shut up.)
Upshot of all this: now I know I can slack off for a few weeks and still come back to jogging without feeling like a beginner all over again. (Sounds like a bad thing, but is actually totally encouraging for me, because slacker-y patches are inevitable, but now I know I can easily get back on the wagon.) I suspected this was true after I hiked to Upper Temple at Camp Nawakwa with 23 lb. Penelope in a hiking backpack and felt less tired than I had making the same hike weekly when I was 21. Also, I reminded myself, I took up jogging just under a year after her birth, and I am now 10 lbs below my pre-baby weight, and have sustained that weight for over 3 months. I haven't weighed this little since, I think, 2005. So, proof of both cardiovascular and body mass index benefits. And it makes me feel happy and proud of myself and less stressed. And less guilty about eating that half a pint of ice cream for dessert last night.
So that's how I'm feeling tonight. And I am one of the least athletic people you know. But I finally found a physical activity that works for me, and I'm pretty happy about it, and maybe tomorrow I'll start that one project I've had in the back of my mind for the past few years.