I Am Barely Breathing, I Can’t Find the Air

I have the ugliest toenails on the face of the Earth. Well, maybe not the absolute ugliest (because I have seen some really nasty pics of toenail fungus), but they are pretty close to the top of the list. Thanks to my new love of running, the toenails on both of my second toes have turned black. One of them has fallen about halfway off. It’s like a badge of honor that I force my husband to admire every day. The other is still holding on strong in all of its thick, black glory. I’m hoping that when they eventually fall of completely, they grow back as unblemished as they were the day I came into this world.

I really didn’t come here to talk to you guys about my talons, though. As you know, I’m a runner now. Go on; get all your laughter out of the way. I’ll wait.

As I said, I’m a runner. I can call myself that because, well, I run. Not as often as I need to for a chick who’s about two months away from a half marathon, but I do run. I got on the treadmill at work yesterday, and cranked it up. At least it was cranked up in my opinion. But then the running guru in my department hopped (quite literally) onto the treadmill right next to mine and scoffed at my speed. “Dude,” he said loud enough for me to hear him over the music blasting through my Skull Candy ear buds, “you need to pick that up. Seriously. How are you going to finish your half marathon in 2.5 hours?” That’s an ongoing debate with us. I have no desire to finish this race in 2.5 hours. My goal is to finish before the streets are reopened to traffic. I don’t care if it takes 5 hours. Despite our differences in goals, I increased my speed from 4 miles per hour to 6. Then I immediately started to drop the speed back down because I’d just remembered I had the incline up high, and only a crazy person would combine that speed with that incline. Running guru made me leave it though, telling me that I wasn’t pushing myself to do what I was capable of. So I left the speed at 6 miles per hour for a full minute. At the highest incline I’ve ever attempted. If I hadn’t been so hesitant to part with my music for a few precious seconds, I would have snatched my ear buds out of my phone and whipped the cord at him relentlessly. But then I saw the “proud papa” grin he was sporting and decided to let go of the rage I’d been holding in.

I really do a sorry job of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I know I talked about that in my last post a couple of weeks ago and promised I would work at it. And I have been working at it. I just have these limitations in my mind based on my weight prior to losing 37 pounds (yes, I finally got the ball rolling again and lost two pounds this week!). I remember how tough it was at my starting weight to walk up a flight of stairs, let alone run on a treadmill. But yesterday, I drifted between speeds of 3.3 and 6 miles per hour at a ridiculous incline (at least by my standards), and I’m still alive to tell about it. Never mind the fact that I was huffing and puffing like an old woman trying to blow out 90 candles on a birthday cake. The worst part is that I forgot to bring my Polar FT4 along, which means I didn’t get to see how many calories I burned. I need to see that. It is absolutely essential that I have visual proof of my workout in the form of numbers on my little pink watch. Otherwise, it may or may not have happened in real life.

Although my hijab was soaked with sweat and I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to wash the stink out of my tech tee, I’m heading back to the gym again today. Running Guru won’t be there to encourage me, but I still plan to give this run everything I have in me. I have a major craving for that endorphin rush.

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