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Rebuilding the machine

First, holy shit I’m actually writing something on this blog.  Right?

This is my first post in 2012 and this is what’s what.

Things that haven’t changed:  I’m still single.  I have the same job.  I live in the same apartment.  I still have 4 cats.

Things that have changed:  My state of mind, my attitude, and my body.

Over the past 5 months, I’ve come to view my body as a machine.  I was once in such good shape, a talented athlete.  But like a machine, you have keep up with the maintenance.  I didn’t.

I decided in February that I wanted to run a very popular race in Philly, a 10 mile race that requires runners to run a 15 minute mile or faster.  This was a huge decision for me.  I was running slow at the time I made the decision and needed a goal.  This race is so popular that I didn’t get in at first, but got picked in the lottery.  I felt like this was fate.

Running is hard work.  When I got the word that I got into the race, I was running 3 miles, 3 times a week at a pace of 13 minutes per mile.  I had to pick it up.  I gradually increased how many times a week I ran and increased my distance.  I got terrible blisters and lost the nail on my big toe on my left foot.  I kept on running through body aches and a tight back and bad weather.

I pushed my body until my muscles started remembering what being fit felt like.  I pushed until I could maintain a 9 minute mile pace over several miles.  I pushed until I didn’t have to worry about how my body felt because running felt like home again.  Yes, home again.  Muscle memory is amazing.  My body remembered my gait and form.  And even though I wasn’t in shape enough to handle what my body wanted to do in the beginning, once my cardiovascular system could handle it I took off.

The hardest part about running is exercising your mental muscle.  Finding the part of you that shuts the negative part of you off.  Figuring out how to let go of fear and just relax.  Learning to trust your body and realize that our machines were built for movement.  I feel better when I keep moving.  Rest only makes me hurt, both physically and mentally.  Newton was right, “a body in motion stays in motion”.  I think of members of my family who sit around and don’t move.  The ridiculous walkers or canes they use, all because their leg muscles are too weak to carry their body weight.  They have no injuries, except for a broken mind.  What’s the other cliche…”use it or lose it”?  Too true.  I don’t want to be that person when I’m 50, a prisoner inside of a abandoned shack of a body.  Who wants that?  I see the 70-year-old runners at races with their smiles and strong bodies, and that’s what I want not just for myself but for everyone.

I have changed.  I am better.  I am rebuilding my machine.

So, what’s your excuse?