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See Jane Run

By Justine Dorton

pickrunningshoes-main_full1I am a runner. I get up to run every morning at 5:30 with my faithful friend. We pound out the steps in the inky blue blackness, watching the sky start to lighten over the eastern mountains. During the summer, the suns rays will shoot over the mountain top toward the western valley, but we run in the nook of the eastern foothills, hidden in shadows for at least another hour. We run, we walk, we huff and puff up impossible hills, smile and sprint down blessed declines. We choose to sweat and struggle, pounding our knees, wondering why we didn’t wear three sports bras instead of just two.

I have seen myself running on film exactly once. I was smiling a stupid smile, not knowing that the gelatinous body I own was jiggling all around me, arms flapping in the sunlight, breasts in desperate need of duct tape. I have since dived deep into the recesses of the mountain’s shadow, running where only my partner can see the spectacle. But the point of this discussion is not about jiggling, or Relief Society arms or sports bras, or even sunrise, so I’ll just move on.

I really hate running. I wake up every morning with a thousand reasons I don’t want to go. I rub my eyes and get dressed only because I know Jane* is waiting for me. I walk into her driveway and always – always – say, “I’d be ok if we just walked today. I’m feeling…” then insert an appropriate ailment, malady, stressor, sadness. Every day, we start to run “just to get warmed up”. By the time we hit the end of the first mile, I’m resigned to keep running. Last summer, we would run four or five miles each morning, but since I had a slight mis-hap last summer, we’ve started over and are only going around three miles a day at the moment. By the time three miles comes, I would like to borrow someone else’s lungs. Or throw up. Or maybe just punch something.

But here’s the part that might make me crazy. Every night, as I lay my running clothes out for the next morning, I get so excited. My head sounds like this: I really want to push it tomorrow; it’ll be so great if we could get up the cemetery hill in under 3 minutes; I bet we can get closer to four miles if we go up toward canyon park and back; that would be so great; I love feeling sore, it makes me feel so alive; maybe we could even just go five miles and see how it feels; I’m so excited!

What the freak is wrong with me? What happens during the night? I can’t figure out which feeling I need to work on – why I get so lazy, or why I get so excited. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got a couple of different people kickin’ around in my head. If I don’t go running for a couple of days, I get antsy and start longing to go. As soon as I hit the ground with my first step, I want to crawl back into bed with a pan of brownies in hand.

Does anyone else have this trauma going on in their head? And it doesn’t have to be about running. I also feel that way about cooking on occasion. I get so excited when my Cook’s Country magazine comes – I want to try everything in there. I buy all the ingredients with glee, schedule my time to do it happily, and arrive at the appointed time with dread.

I am clearly disturbed.

*name has been changed to protect the innocent viewer of my jiggliness.

About Justine Dorton

Justine is a mother to five children, and has a husband lodged somewhere (probably in the den). She is not very fond of speaking of herself in third person.

32 thoughts on “See Jane Run”

  1. Maybe it's not the running but the getting up at 5:30 that's getting to you. I wouldn't want to do anything that early! I admire your keeping doing something even when it's not always fun!

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  2. Strangely, I have many of the same feelings about both running and cooking. You're not alone! I don't run because I'm 51 and chubby – but I want to. When I see someone running or hear about someone who runs (like you) I'm jealous. I think it would be cool to make my body do that! Maybe I will try someday, I'm just worried about getting hurt. I really don't enjoy cooking, but sometimes I get excited about it, for just a minute.

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  3. There was a time when I walked for a good two or three miles a day – a brisk walk, hips swaying ridiculously – and I found I liked the feeling after I was done. I've gotten out of the habit. I think our bodies can actually crave physical activity at times. Now getting up before dawn – that is crazy! I applaud you for going so steadily. Keep it up!

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  4. Yes, I do feel that way, although not about running. (I wouldn't run if I were being chased.) I work veeerrrryyy early in the mornings during the week, so my one day to get up early for the gym is Saturday. Every Friday night, I get excited about going to the gym, but by Saturday morning I just don't want to go.

    You know what, though? I've given in to the temptation to stay in bed and sleep a few times and it honestly makes my Saturday miserable. But if I go to the gym? Fabulous Saturday. Every time. Go figure.

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  5. I am NOT a morning person. I hate waking up. The bed is at least 1000 times more comfortable in the morning than it is at night. Getting up is just wrong. And I love the solitude of a quiet night. Given my own way with no obligations, I prefer my eight hours of sleep to be between 4am and noon.

    But the mornings I make myself get up, the nights I make myself go to bed, despite all the 200 things I find to do at night, those, I'm afraid to admit (because if I admit it then it means I know it and I should do something about it) are the best days.

    Running, on the other hand, is a drug for me, and I love it. I've run two marathons and have at least two more in my future (I need to run Boston at least once). I never feel more alive or have a clearer head than when I'm running (except maybe in the temple). Other forms of exercise just aren't the same.

    So I applaud your running. But I'll be out there with you more around 7am because of that darn waking up thing.

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  6. Yeah, I have these internal battles as well. I'd like to be someone who is way more active than I actually am, but my brain gets in the way–justification city. "Last time I pulled a muscle in my foot." "I need more sleep or I'll get sick." "I can't run outside. It's too hot/cold. I'll swallow a bug." "Who will watch the kids anyway?" And a million other "excuses" flood my mind until I've totally talked myself out of it and really believe it would be better not to go.

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  7. I used to be this way about swimming! Oh, how I loved to swim! Injury has kept me out for now – but I can remember the – oh, I hate changing there etc etc, then I would get in the water – ohhhhhhh yesssss!

    I also get this way about cooking – and about cleaning. 2 weeks ago I awoke and it was just I know I am going to do this today – I cleaned the "junk room", as it became, and 3 closets. After it felt sooooooo good. Now I don't feel guilty quilting.

    I do aerobics and tai chi each day now. I love the feeling of MOVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Oh, my gosh, I could have written this! Except now that I'm pregnant, I've used it as the ultimate excuse NOT to go (I haven't been running since December). But when I was at my peak –this was me! So excited to go; so not wanting to go.

    And YES! It does spill into other areas of my life: cooking, chore charts, rigid morning schedules, studying the SS and RS lessons, organizing the office, working on academics with the kids, etc.

    But when I had a running partner? It was probably the only thing I actually did faithfully because someone else was relying on me. My only question is: Why can't I use that attitude on the the things that my CHILDREN rely on??

    I am also clearly disturbed!

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  9. I am so not a runner.

    But that is exactly how I feel about writing. I love it, I am jazzed about it, I plan it out in my head, and then I sit down with my laptop and start wondering who updated their status on Facebook or their blog.

    But when I actually buckle down and finish a draft (or even a word quota) it's an incredible high. Even if it's terrible writing, and it frequently is, it's just so good to finish something.

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  10. Ah, Emily, I feel exactly the same way about writing. I will do everything I can think of–including scrubbing a toilet or two–to avoid sitting down at the computer to write. I dread that moment when it's just me and a blank computer screen (and like you, once I finally turn the computer on I check my email, check my Facebook page, check out the stories on Yahoo, see what's on sale on the Gap website….)And then when I'm finally writing I'm thinking, "This is drivel. I hate this. Why did I ever think I could write? I want to kill myself." But the more I write, the more the words start to flow, and by the time I'm done I can see I've written a few good lines, and it feels so good, like you said, to actually finish something. It puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. I've had this love/hate relationship with writing my whole life–I dread doing it, it's an excruciating process, but I can't live without it.

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  11. Emily, writing does something so wonderful to me and yet….I know exactly what you are saying. And for some reason more guilt about writing than other things – maybe because we are immobile when we actually do it. But i am a better person in every area of my life, when i allow myself to write.

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  12. A psychologist would call this an approach avoidance conflict. I feel this way about making decisions and other things.

    Other people might call it procrastination. I don't think it is uncommon.

    I suppose the antidote if there is one is self discipline.

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  13. I have to agree with Claudia here – the antidote.

    I, too, love running. I love your blog. I just gave birth to a baby girl last week, and I really REALLY miss running, reading your blog got me so excited (Body- heal now!!!). One thing I loved about running was the discipline it taught me. Not only did I love the effects of running, but the discipline seemed to extend to other parts of my life. I'd find myself saying, "I've had children, I've run a marathon, I know that I can do [insert hard thing here]."

    Oh – And I also love how the root of discipline and disciple are the same. I don't think you're crazy. It is always a battle to become a better person.

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  14. ok,so I'm really really really glad to know I'm not alone here. And Claudia, I'm not sure if I'm happy or distressed that there is a clinical term for my behavior!!

    So what is it that holds us back from doing the things that we clearly WANT to do? That's the part i just don't get.

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  15. I too love running and have found the power in a running companion to combat the early morning ambivalence (and since I live in the desert of NV, we're about to head into the really early running to avoid triple digit temps). Also, about the double/triple bagging–have you tried Enell sports bras? Thanks to this baby, I am down to one bra and NO bounce. It's a wonder.

    I think the answer to what holds us back is our failure to always choose the thing we want most over the thing we want NOW (as in, right now I would really like to sleep in just a little). Like the ability our bodies have to add mileage over days and weeks and months and build up to a marathon, I think the more we provide safety devices (like the running friend we don't want to bail on or the commitment we've told someone about so we don't want to appear flakey) that help us build the muscle of delayed gratification, we are able to store up memories of receiving the desired reward (whether it's runner's high, fitting into a smaller size dress or paying off that pesky credit card and doing the debt free dance) and how much better that feels than the momentary gratification dancing in front of our face in the moment of indecision. Self discipline is a muscle; we have to work it, but when we do, it works for us.

    And I agree with Catania, there is great power in being able to say I have done hard things, I can do this next thing.

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  16. thanks for the Enell tip, Angie. I'm going to find them online this very instant! And if I ever work up close to a marathon, I will consider myself some sort of superhero. The longest race I've ever run is a 10K.

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  17. I can totally relate to the running.
    I can't stand to go without it for more than a couple of days. (My family can't stand it either, because I get mean and cranky and edgy and frenetic.) And at night, I am full of overblown enthusiasm and ambition. I am NOT, I repeat NOT a morning person, so I admire you for the 5:30 thing. But, as I have my youngest in school all day now, I can run a little later. And, oh the procrastination and excuse making that happens before I start my run…
    But once I start and while I'm on it and then all day afterward, I'm so elated that I did it. I feel healthy and energized and full of accomplishment that I did something that took some effort. (Most of it on the leading up to the actual doing of it!)
    And I'm also so clearly "disturbed" as you have put it, because this very thing spills out in to many, many aspects of my life.
    Is there help for this sort of "disturbance"?
    I take comfort in the knowledge that at least I am still out there engaged in the "doing".

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  18. I'm not a runner, but I find it very inspiring that I'm not running for the same reasons you are–which means I could be a runner should I choose to.

    And the cooking–oh my gosh. I don't know what Cook's Country is, but every week I'm dumbing down the menus that I earlier bought ingredients for.

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  19. I'm really glad you get to run again post mis-hap!

    I totally get it. We are a little crazy or disturbed or something, right? Was it Angela the other day who said "50 years ago people who ran around outside every day were seen as crazy," not "the cat's pajamas". (er something like that) It's kinda true.

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  20. So well put. I used to have a sign that I wrote on my wall: "True Discipleship requires discipline." Except, I still don't really have the discipline.

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  21. Sage, all the little sayings I have sprawled all over my house are so true and so inspiring and so profound, but they just don't always reflect my actual state. They more reflect my wanna-be state. And I just hope that the desire alone will keep propelling me!

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  22. Most of the worlds work is done by people who probably could find myriad excuses not to do it. That information alone keeps me walking out the door each morning.

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  23. I think it's always getting out of being comfortable. "I'm comfortable in bed – why would I change?", "I'm comfortable cooking an easy dinner, why would I do something else?", "I'm comfortable taking it easy, why would I start a quilt that could end up looking horrific?"

    On the flip side, I think going past being comfortable is our reward – we feel BETTER for having gone for the run/exercised, we feel PLEASED to have tried something new/more difficult, we feel SATISFIED/AMAZED when we create something we have never done before. Being comfortable is good, but it's also too much of an average thing sometimes.

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  24. It's the whatever hormones that your body knows are going to be released when you start running. It remembers, and gets excited. The excitement fizzles, however, when your body says, "Screw runner's high, I want more sleep!"

    There was a short period in my life when I was a runner, too (although I might get back to it soon–ran 2 miles yesterday, woo-hoo!) and I would stand in the shower with my aching muscles and blisters bleeding on my heels thinking, "Why am I doing this to myself?"

    And the day that my friend looked at me after 5 miles and said, "one more?" and I said, "you betcha, baby!", I knew. I was hooked. Simple as that. And there's something about setting a goal and getting there bit by bit that is pretty awesome, just to see how far you've come.

    Now you've made me want to go running tomorrow morning! I'm all excited! It's 9:30 at night, though. I'm sure I'll feel differently at 5:30am….

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  25. i signed up for my first full marathon and before i actually started training for it, i tore my miniscus. so now i'm seeing a physical rehab-therapist to try and fix it. i decided i'm never going to be a LD runner. but i'd love to be able to run 3-5 miles every other day without injury or pain. and maybe a random 10K here and there. that would be grand. as it is, i feel moderately depressed about the $ i spent to register for the San Diego Rock & Roll in May. Maybe i'll go walk the starting line, and then rendezvous with my sister at mile 23 or something and finish from there. cause what a waste otherwise!

    i don't have the answer to your question though…how to make myself do what i WANT to do. I think secretly I must not REALLY want to do it. I probably just know I SHOULD do it. but if you find the answer to this, please let me know! ♥

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  26. I think maybe we all feel that way about running because it really IS a crazy thing to do. I mean…pulling yourself out of your warm bed in order to torture yourself in the cold? It's painful, and sometimes it's boring, and you get all hot and sweaty and funky-smelling. Yeah—totally crazy.

    But it's also wonderful. That feeling when you finally stop thinking "I must stop moving NOW" and you're just moving, seemingly-effortlessly? I love that. And I love the way you feel for the rest of the day. Like, at least you accomplished SOMETHING. Three miles, or five, or whatever. Failing at laundry and housekeeping doesn't feel as much like failing if I did, at least, run that day, you know?

    We love it and we hate it all at once because it is both awful and wonderful, all at once.

    I do have to say, though, that I'm envious of your running pal. I wish I had one of those!

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  27. Oh. Yes. I. Do.

    Boy oh boy… I could probably come up with quite the list of things and times that I feel just as you have described. But one in particular has me in pretty much constant turmoil.

    It is my involvement in the Church. Here's how it works for me.

    I read many lovely LDS blogs (Segullah, you're great!), I subscribe to good LDS magazines, etcetera, I have myself immersed in quality LDS *stuff* a lot of the time all while in the comfort of my own home. When I am home, at my computer or thinking in bed, I get so excited about the Church, feel the Spirit strongly, feel I have a pretty strong testimony, and really, really want to be fully active and dive in to enjoy the fellowship of the Saints and comfort of the Lord that awaits me. I know it awaits me.

    And then I've gone. I've tried many, many times. And each time, when I get up in the morning, I am full of nerves and doubt and feel just as you do when you hit the pavement wanting to crawl back in bed and back into my comfortable world where the Gospel makes sense and feels good to me. My head hurts and I count the minutes until the end of each class and scoot out hoping to go unnoticed.

    Odd, I know. I really, really, REALLY wish this wasn't the case. How I would love to feel that good, wholesome feeling that I get at home when I am in church.

    Until then I trust that I will still be loved by Heavenly father and will hopefully overcome this irrational fear.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

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  28. First of all I'd just like to say that I have never had to wear three sports bras to do anything nor duct tape. Consider yourself blessed in the breast area. Second you are so awesome to get up at 5am and run EVERY morning! This adds to my suspicion that you may be the most perfect most motivated woman I have ever met. You keep being humble and all about it but it's true. You make me tired just thinking about it.

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