Runkeeper tells me that I became a runner on June 27, 2012 at 3:05pm. That was the very first run I tracked by GPS. I did 1.72 miles in 36:37, a pace of 21:18 per mile.
That’s slower than I walk a mile now. But it was the first time I had succeeded at running, and I am still proud of that.
Unfortunately, I have not felt as though I’ve succeeded at running in a very long time. I don’t think of it as failure, but I definitely haven’t been a success.
In October of 2014, I ran a half marathon in 1 hour and 56 minutes. I was running over 100 miles each month during the year that led up to that race. That was my high point as a runner. Over the next year, I kept it up pretty well.
Since then…well, it hasn’t been so good. From June to August 2015, I went from 112 miles to 46 miles to 6 miles. Since August 2015, my peak monthly mileage has been 25 miles, and my totals for 2016 and 2017 so far are embarrassing: 95.1 in 2016 and, so far in 2017…40.
I simply have not been running. And a person who doesn’t run certainly is not a runner, despite having identified primarily as one for the past 5 years.
so what happened?
A few things. I had tons of injuries in a row: a stress fracture in my right good, runner’s knee in my left, and a debilitating case of anxiety. I’ve chronicled my struggles intermittently on the Health Hacks podcast and other places, so I won’t go into that much.
But it’s important to note that the anxiety, depression, and bipolar II did play a major role in my losing focus on running because my life felt like it was falling apart. I was dealing with family issues, too, and I was trying to get a handle on which medications would work in the long-term to stabilize me (it ended up being Cymbalta and Lamictal, in case you care).
After about a year of that, I was ready to transition out of a decade-long career as a college English instructor into being a freelance WordPress developer and web designer. Needless to say, I was a bit preoccupied there, too.
Running and health (other than my mental health) wasn’t even on my radar. I meditated, did some yoga, but I ate like garbage and rarely did anything that got my heartrate above 120bpm.
In the end, all this coalesced into my gaining 41 pounds (currently at 196 versus my 155 in October 2014), two shirt and pant sizes, and pretty much total apathy when it came to my physical fitness and well-being.
Most importantly, however, all of this has culminated into me simply not knowing who the hell I am anymore.
who am i?
I’m not a teacher, an academic, nor am I a runner or fitness junkie. Not anymore. I’m a newbie web dev (despite having a lifetime of hobbyist experience that probably puts me above a lot of people in the field, even now). I’m a dude who loves brightly colored sneakers, but doesn’t lace up a single pair of the ones he owns.
It’s kind of an existential third-life crisis. I feel like a cliche. A stereotype. Even a statistic.
I mean, I’m me, but I haven’t felt like me in a pretty long time. Back in 2010, when I started losing my weight and getting in shape to begin with, I redefined who I was.
The thing is, I liked the guy I became a lot better than the guy I had been for the previous 27 years. I made a conscious effort that my primary interests were fitness and health. As I progressed, those interests focused in on running and nutrition. I really liked being that guy, and I haven’t been him in a good long time.
I’ve drifted away from them to the point where I don’t really have any defining interests or identifiers. I want to become that guy I liked again. I want to become a fitness junkie again, a nutrition nut, and most importantly, a runner.
what am i going to do about it?
I’ve broken it down into a few easily managed steps for myself:
give a damn
start running regularly
stop eating like garbage
Pretty straightforward, right? Even simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. But by golly, fitgeeks, I’m ready to be a runner again.