The Marathon

I started running back in 2012. It was really out of necessity. I was two kids in and could not run after them at the park when they took off on me. It was pathetic. It was also the cheapest thing I could do to get in shape and didn’t take a lot of time out of my already busy day.

Fast forward 8 years. I’ve run three half marathons, a handful of 10ks and many 5ks. And then the pandemic hit and I stopped running. (Okay, so I shouldn’t really blame the pandemic – several other things happened like a major depressive episode, my dad moving into a retirement home and a busy life with three kids). But suffice it to say, I got lazy. And soft.

One afternoon while sitting on my front lawn with my neighbors for a “physically distanced drink” my girlfriend texted me about having to walk her London marathon virtually and asked me to join her for a portion of it. I was a glass or three in when I wrote “I’ll do it all with you!”

So I started going for more walks to train. I started walking 10 km once a week to work and it felt good. About once a week I force myself out for a run, which is really mostly walking with some running. Every October where I live there is a big race and this year it went virtual, of course. The race organizers offered a deal where you can sign up for all four distances (5 km, 10 km, 21.1 km and 42.2 km) with the stipulation that you have to complete them during the month of October. Participants can run or walk the distances.

So, I signed up for all four races. I mean, it’s just walking, right? Can’t be that hard, and I figured I would run a little too. It was the motivation I needed to get my ass off the couch and exercise

The 5 km and 10 km races were easy. Not my best times to be sure, but that was to be expected given how lazy I’ve been all year.

I set out for the half marathon two weekends ago. By 12 km I started flirting with the idea of just doing the marathon. It had been weighing on my mind a lot. I was rightly scared of the distance and as I imagined finishing the half marathon I realized that I might not want to start over again another day to do the full. So after some back and forth texting with my husband who was at home with our 3 kids, I decided to seriously consider doing the marathon.

And I did!!!

The second half was grueling. My brother and his wife met me around 30 km and walked 4 km with me. The distraction was exactly what I needed because by then my hips started to hurt, the blisters on my heels were burning and I was feeling defeated. At 40 km I started texting my husband to meet me. I tried running a little because that didn’t hurt nearly as much as walking did.

And then I looked at my watch and saw it.

I became a marathoner.

And I’m pretty sure I will do it again. But maybe in a year.

Advice – or, the art of avoiding it

Do as I say, not as I do. Pretty simple, especially for parents.  This also applies to doctors as well.  Recently a patient reminded me of it.

During a check up, I routinely ask patients about their exercise and diet habits.  I review the medications they take, both prescription and over-the-counter (including vitamins).  I reminded one patient to in her late 40s to take Vitamin D.  She then asked me, “Do you take it?”   Hmm… well, I’m not in my late 40s, so the reasons I suggested it for her do not apply to me (she is peri-menopausal).  And I told her this.  But she persisted.  So, I admitted that no, I don’t routinely take Vitamin D.  I do give it to the kids, and when I remember, I give myself a few drops. That’s when she said, “Do as I say, not as I do, right?”

Which brings me to exercise.

Exercise:

1. bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health: Walking is good exercise.

2.something done or performed as a means of practice or training: exercises for the piano.

3.a putting into action, use, operation, or effect: the exercise of caution.

4.a written composition, musical piece, or artistic work executed for practice or to illustrate a particular aspect of technique.

5.Often, exercises. a traditional ceremony: graduation exercises

I ask my patients regularly about exercise.  I am often quite impressed how many of my patients actually do fit in exercise in their busy lives, be it by riding their bike to work, working out at lunch or waking up extra early to get a workout/run/jog in the morning.

I have been talking about getting back on the exercise bandwagon for months now.  Literally, months.  First,  I was going to get a gym membership.  Then my husband convinced me to save my money and just start running.  So, I thought about running for a while.  Never actually tried it, just thought about it.  Oh, and then he reminded me of all those Gilad workout tapes I have in the basement.  I have used them – about a year ago!

Then I remembered I had a bike.  So, this week, I got my bike fixed and rode it home yesterday after picking it up at the bike shop. It was a 15 minute ride home.  I was huffing a bit, back of my throat hurt, my ass hurt at the end and my legs were burning.  15 minutes, people!  I am so embarrassingly out of shape.  I take the four flights of stairs up to my office on most days and it’s not getting any easier.  A girlfriend of mine keeps asking me to go running with her – she’s run 1/2 marathons!  I wouldn’t last 5 minutes with her.  I’d probably need an ambulance to take me home.

Sigh … I know exercise is good for me.  I know it will help shave off those last 10 lbs I need to get back to pre-pregnancy #2 weight.  I just can’t get motivated.  It’s so unlike me.  I used to have such discipline when it came to exercise.  Back in residency I would go to the gym 4-5 times a week, I was in the best shape of my life.  But now?  It’s far easier to plop myself down on the couch and cross stitch for hours on end at night.  Help me, blogosphere… motivate me!