For the first three decades of my life, I was effortlessly thin. Skinny, even. You have no idea how many times I have been compared to fun objects like stringbeans, and sticks, and my personal favorite – zippers.
I didn’t think that I liked being skinny.
But then, in my mid-thirties, child number five was born, and the inevitable occurred. My baby weight did not automatically fall off. Suddenly, I was no longer skinny. A new, much larger person would look at me in the mirror each day. I didn’t have a single pair of pre-pregnancy pants that I could fit into.
I did what any sensible person would do – I lived the next six months in denial.
And then I went out and bought larger clothes.
I seemed to be getting even fatter. Drastic steps would have to be taken. I was faced with three choices:
1) Stop eating dessert with every meal.
2) Start exercising.
3) Give up altogether and start wearing a mu-mu.
Since life without ice cream simply would not be worth living, and as stylistically challenged as I am, I do have some limits, I decided to try exercise.
I talked Todd into buying Wii Fit for Easter. Wii Fit is FUN! But not very effective. And also, I don’t know how to turn it on by myself. Don’t judge me. As long as I don’t know how to turn on the video games, the young’uns can’t spend all day pestering me to play them. See, there is a method to my madness after all.
I then tried to do aerobics with a group of friends. This was also FUN! Until I realized that the rest of my friends were actually serious about working out (what was WRONG with them?) and that I could only cover up my extreme ungainliness with lame jokes for so long before they were going to kick me out of the group. The tribe has spoken.
So I turned to my last resort. Running. This was not FUN! But…it was effective. The pounds were starting to come off. Clothes were fitting better.
And then…Surprise!!!! Baby number six was on her way!
Sadly enough, Bitsy’s gestational period turned out to be far and away my most effective weight loss tool, and within a week of her birth I was right back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Which was not a weight that I was happy with. So I went back to running.
In theory, I should be a good runner. My legs are so long that I really only have to take one step to everyone else’s three. And I can walk really fast. Like turbo fast. Even faster than Nancy Pelosi can ram an unread bill through Congress. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
But the reality is, I stink at running. I hate running. I despise running. And I am so slow that I am constantly being passed by small children and their grandparents happily jogging down the trail. Not kidding.
I asked a friend for some advice on how to make running less miserable.
“You need to listen to some good music while you run,” she said. Which I could do, if I owned an Ipod and knew how to operate it and didn’t feel like my head was filling up with squishy air whenever I tried to put in the ear buds. Scratch the music idea.
“Run with a friend,” she suggested. Um, does anyone out there want to run 3 – 5 miles a day with a really slow whiny chick? No? I didn’t think so. Scratch that one.
“You just need to run farther – you need to push past the pain,” she said. What?!?! Was she absolutely out of her ever-loving mind? Why on earth would I want to run twice as far as I was already running?
But desperate times called for desperate measures, so I tried it.
And she was RIGHT! After the first three miles of torture, I loved running! I felt like I could run forever! I could run marathons! Maybe I could even fly!!!!
But I was still ridiculously slow. Bummer.
So a few weeks ago, I had a brilliant thought. “Maybe it’s the shoes!”
You see, I was still running in a pair of super cheap Walmart shoes that were way beyond their mileage limit. Way.
So I logged on to my trusty old computer and started doing some research on running shoes. As in, REAL running shoes. And immediately realized that they are way too expensive for me. And that they are supposed to be replaced much too often for my liking.
I researched some more, and finally found the perfect footwear. They were totally affordable, rarely (if ever) needed to be replaced, and actually compatible with my freakishly high arches and wide feet.
I sent off for the shoes and spent the next two days pacing the house in a state of anxious anticipation.
This is the envelope they arrived in:
This is what they looked like:
Joshua seemed skeptical.
But after some fun with scissors, drills, and matches, this is what they looked like: (Um, sorry about the dirty bench. I didn’t realize how filthy it was until I saw these pictures. And I have GOT to figure out how to adjust the settings on my camera. And the sandals have about fifteen miles on them in this picture, so they are dirty, too.)
Say it with me now, “Awwwww.”
I love them. They really are easy to run in. But after a few weeks with my adorable huaraches, I still was not running at the blinding speeds I yearned for. And I received an unexpected bonus check in the mail.
So I sent off for these bad boys:
You should see the looks I get when I’m wearing them. But I am pleased to report that since starting to run in them, I have shaved my minutes per mile pace down by 20 seconds. Twenty seconds!!
Which still leaves me at penguin level. But at least I’m improving.
And hey, if I can’t be a fast runner, at least I can be an interesting one.