It’s 4:40 a.m. and the alarm is ringing way too loud! I hit the snooze button, roll over as I cover my head with a pillow, and I try to take my ass back to sleep. This is how my morning starts when it’s raining, snowing, extremely hot, extremely cold, or the weather is just right. But I have to get up, get dressed, have some peanut butter, lace up and hit the pavement. Why do you ask? Someone is looking at her watch and waiting for my arrival. That someone is my running buddy, my accountability partner. Everyone can use an accountability partner. After we finish our morning run as the sun rises over the Baltimore skyline, I make my way back home to a breakfast of oatmeal and egg whites. Then, believe it or not, I’m ready to conquer the day! I feel like I’ve accomplished something already! But first I have to prove that I ran by posting it on Instagram. Don’t judge me.
Running Became My Drug of Choice
Four years ago after going through one of the many life changes that only women deal with, my exercise routine became less routine, and that emotional eating crept up on me again. Essentially I relapsed with my old lifestyle! As a result, I picked up a few pounds. I wanted to burn it off quickly, so I decided to start running again. After identifying and recognizing what triggered my relapse, I tweaked my diet, treated my feet to some good running shoes, joined a women’s running group, and hit the pavement again. Joining the women’s running group was one of the best decisions I made at that time. That group has been the source of many lasting friendships to this day.
The women’s running group was awesome! The group consisted of women who were career focused, educated, teachers, mothers, nurses, wives, you name it. Most notably, we were all goal oriented with a like goal – improving our lives. We would meet twice a week to run different neighborhood routes and chat about life. The group offered me support and encouragement not only with my running but with any life issues I was dealing with, it didn’t matter how big or small. Running with them was equivalent to going to therapy without a co-pay. Those were the mornings I actually woke up before my loud ass alarm went off!
Often times, we would run long distances if we were training for races. The group encouraged me to train for my first half marathon. I never thought I would be able to run 13.1 miles nonstop. Not only did I finish, my time was under 2 hours! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was and the feeling of accomplishment I had! But first I had to prove that I ran a half marathon by posting it on Instagram. Don’t judge me. Completing my first half marathon inspired me to run many more races, including two full marathons.
Do you see what happens when you have girl power behind you? I’ll tell you more about my tribe at a later date.
Everyone is goal oriented to some degree. Everyone’s goals are different. I replaced my goal of feeling better via food for a new goal of feeling better via running. My objective with running was to achieve the desired speed. In order to do that, I needed a plan. Step 1: I did extensive research on what I ate, how much, and what time I ate. To run at my optimum speed, I had to stick with a healthy diet. Step 2: I started paying attention to food labels taking note of sodium and sugar content, two ingredients I wanted to avoid. Step 3: I even read a book called Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald for tips on improving my performance. The book covered dieting, achieving peak performance, and specific strength training activities for runners. In addition to that book, I got a subscription to Runner’s World Magazine and constantly searched for other running articles to keep up with current exercise trends. Although research is extremely helpful, nothing replaces good accountability partners.
If losing weight is your goal and you are struggling, I would encourage you to find an accountability partner or two. I have several. Your partner depends on you to keep him or her motivated. Or when you’re just not feeling it that day, your accountability partner’s willingness to meet up will inspire you to get it together. If you can’t find a partner, put your headphones on and listen to Cardi B while you work out. I bet that will get your ass moving!
One of the expert tips for resilience mentioned in the latest edition of the Time Magazine titled The Science of Happiness is to “find an exercise regimen and stick to it.” Do something that brings you joy and helps you to spread joy to others. Be mindful of what you eat. I can’t stress that enough. Your body truly is a temple!
Reader, what did you have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today? Which hip-hop artist brings out the beast in you while you’re working out?