At some point during the month of January, I realized that I had lost my mojo. The me who had once been excited about lacing up her running shoes and hitting the road, even in the cold weather, had disappeared and been replaced by someone who was always making excuses not to run. It was too cold. I was too tired. There wasn’t enough time. I was going to fall and hurt myself on the ice.
Looking back, I realized that my mojo had started to fade just before Christmas, when I discovered to my dismay that I had outgrown my very large sports bra. In spite of a workout regimen that included running, swimming and strength training, I was gaining weight. I mentally checked out of the idea of exercise. I mean, what was the point?
Disgusted with my body, I threw in the towel. Now the time has come for me to pick it up again. Apart from the fact that the sight of towels lying around drives me demented, there are a few reasons.
I can’t run for autism if I don’t run. It was the opportunity to do something for the autism community that got me off the couch almost eight years ago. Since then, I have run over forty races, including eight autism fundraising half-marathons, inspired by my own son with autism. If that’s not enough to keep me motivated, nothing will. And I wouldn’t be invited to participate in cool stuff like this video:
I kind of have a couple of races coming up. Six weeks from now I’ll be running the St. Paddy’s Day 5K with my eleven-year-old son, the same kid who ran the Zoo Run in 29 minutes and asked, when I showed up at the finish line six minutes later, what had taken me so long. Three months after that, I will be running a half-marathon on the Toronto Islands. I don’t have time to be wussing around complaining that my sports bra doesn’t fit.
I need to give myself a break. I am a 47-year-old woman in the throes of perimenopause. My estrogen levels are more volatile than the current state of American politics. My body is doing weird things, like gaining weight when it shouldn’t and burning up when it’s minus a gazillion degrees. My doctor assures me that this is all perfectly normal. Now is not the time for me to hating on my body.
Life is too short for excuses. Being too tired is not a reason to forego running. Neither is being short of time, or averse to poor weather conditions. If I really want to run, I will find a way to run, even if it means hitting up the lab rat machine at the gym. The only valid reason to not run, as far as I’m concerned, is if I have a broken leg or a punctured lung.
Running suits my goal-oriented personality. Some people are motivated by processes. Others are motivated by the results. I definitely fall into the latter category. The process of running a half-marathon is, to be frank, a bit torturous. By the time I hit my customary 18K wall, my legs are an agonized knot and sweat is pooling in all kinds of uncomfy places and making me chafe. But when I see the marker for the final kilometre and hear the finish line crowds, I get an energy kick out of nowhere, and I am able to sprint across the finish line. My final kilometre of a half-marathon is always my fastest. As I clutch my finisher’s medal and wrap my foil blanket around my shivering shoulders, I feel like I’m on top of the world. That moment makes all of the pain worthwhile.
So what does all of this mean? I’m going to compile a training schedule, order a bigger sports bra, and go out in search of my mojo. Sooner or later, I will find it. All I have to do is keep on running.
By Kirsten Doyle.