You can do this.
Yes, running makes your ankles hurt. Yes, thinking about running is making your ankles hurt right now, but do you care? No. You know you can do this. You have to do this. You’ve gained twenty-five pounds in the last five months. None of your clothes fit and your very small daughter is now spending her days singing you funny songs about how fat you’ve gotten. You can’t even see your own face in the mirror anymore—just the moon, with glasses on.
This is about getting yourself back. Don’t worry about running making your boobs ‘saggy.’ Your boobs are beautiful. They are so beautiful, in fact, that your little daughter likes to stand outside the shower as you get out so she can smile up at you and say things like, “Mommy, I love how long your boobs are.” Besides, you have just spent $70 on a specialty sports bra that claims it can contain a five ton mega-blast. Holding your boobs up should be cake.
So go. Go into the basement and dig out your one pair of stretchy workout pants from the last time you thought maybe/possibly/kind-of/sort-of you might want to exercise. You don’t have to worry that they’ll fit. They’re stretchy! They’ll just slide right over that extra twenty-five pounds of butt mass you’ve put on and hug your curves like they’re still curves worth hugging. That’s right. Put them on! And go grab your smart phone. Get that other daughter of yours (the one who can’t talk yet) into the giant, sail-like jogging stroller that you bought and head outside.
Good. You’ve made it to the driveway. No, don’t turn on your training app yet! You have to stretch first. If you don’t stretch, you might get hurt, and if you get hurt, your ergonomically-obsessed husband will nag you about how you didn’t stretch properly in the first place. You think he’s bad now, but just you wait. Inside that nerdy engineer is the worst nag that ever wore a beard. You won’t even be able to type without him telling you to warm up your fingers first. So you stretch, baby…STRETCH!!!!
All right…start the app. Turn up the volume, because you don’t want to miss what Computer Lady has to say. Now head for the road; it’s time for your warm-up walk. That’s right. Walk, baby. Kick your heels out like you own the place! Sure, semis are blasting by like hurricanes, kicking gravel into your face and blowing you off the shoulder, but you can take it. You’re tough. Think of all the great things that are coming your way if you just stick it out— sexiness and sexy clothes and a sexy body, like the one you wanted when you were a fat girl in a skinny-bitch high school. That’s right. Keep walking. You gon’ be sexy!
Hey, why are you still walking? Computer Lady just told you to run. So RUN! Launch yourself into the air like a gazelle! Oh, you’re beautiful! You’re beautiful! Your…
Pants. Are. Falling. Down.
Grab them, sweetie! This road is BUSY, and you’re about to flash more coin slot than a broken bank. You hike that thing up in back. Hike it up in front, too. The last thing you want is that c-section fat-flap of yours shoving your pants back down. And stand up straight! You can’t call it ‘running’ if your entire body weight is supported by the stroller bar.
What, they’re falling down again? Woman, why did you wear these pants? You knew they were too tight. That spandex is going to keep squeezing you out like a tube of fatty toothpaste. No! You can’t stop running! Just grab them. Run! Grab them. Run! Grab them…
Ah, thank god, you can walk now.
Wait…that’s not walking. That’s just there standing and puffing. You have to move, sweetie, and you have to do it quick before Computer Lady says…
Walking’s over! It’s running time, and look! You’re at the bottom of a big hill!
You’re going to conquer that hill! You’re going beat the very earth into submission. Move those feet. Pound that pavement! You’re doing it! You’re doing it! You’re…
Walking again. Ah, sweet Jesus, that was intense. Sure, you thought you weren’t going to make it, but you know what? You did. That’s right. You ran flat-out for thirty whole seconds. You went the distance, baby — you ran five whole feet. You hear that music? That’s the sound of you, winning your own Olympic Gold.
It’s like I told you. You can do this. You know why? Because, really, you don’t care about living skinny. You care about living in your own skin. Waking up in the morning next to your favorite engineer. Feeling good. Enjoying the sunshine. You don’t need to run a marathon; you just need to outrun your children when they are running towards danger. You want a life without borders. Nobody can give that to you, honey. You’re going to have to make it yourself.
So keep working. Finish your run. And even if you never run again — even if you take up snowshoeing, or power-walking, or ditch-digging — it doesn’t matter. You’re not here to run your 5K — you’re here to run your life. This is your show, baby. Rock it. And when you get home, I want you to do yourself a favor….
Go buy some pants.
(This article was also published on Medium.com. Happy Reading!)