In one of my classes this week we were discussing motor behavior, and my professor told us it takes 21 days to form a habit. Force yourself to put your seat belt on every time you get in the car, and after 21 days, you will put your seat belt on without second thought. My first thought was “hey, I know of a girl who started a running blog based on this theory”. My second thought was “I think I’ve just proven this theory myself…uh oh”
You see, in the past 21 days I’ve fallen into some habits, no doubt about it. It started off innocently enough, but in the blink of an eye, it appears they’ve become the norm in my life as of late. For example, in the past few weeks it appears I’ve mastered:
-staying up until midnight, often later, watching reality TV while playing bejewled blitz on facebook
-hitting the snooze button and sleeping in, putting off my morning run for the afternoon because I’m too tired
-skipping my afternoon run because I’m too tired
-consuming probably quadruple my daily normal calorie intake in donuts, candy, and mountain dew.
-being generally lazy, and using school and my kids as an excuse. And no, I’m not exaggerating. Other than my 5k (4/10) and my tri (4/18) I’ve logged pretty close to NOTHING. Let me present to you, exhibit A, my training profile from dailymile:
In case you can’t read the small print…that’s 11 miles, TOTAL, of running for the last 4 weeks. Yes, pick up your jaw, I, Heather, who generally has the enthusiasm of Richard Simmons and is entirely too stubborn to miss more than a few workouts without throwing a MEGA temper tantrum, has spent the last 21+ days evolving into a donut munching, couch surfing, running procrastinator. All while studying for final exams in things such as sports nutrition and exercise testing and prescription. Ironic, isn’t it?
From the learning point of view (always the student!) I’ve realized how EASY it is for people to make excuses. And once you start making excuses, you start to BELIEVE in the excuses. Then before you know it, your fitness has taken such a nose dive that you begin to dread getting back out there, because you know it’s going to suck. And not in that “oh yeah, time for speed work, this is going to hurt but I’m going to love it” sort of way. No, more the ” crap I feel like I’ve never run before in my life, and…wait… are my thighs rubbing together? When did that happen?” sucky sort of way. And you know it’s going to feel that way, so you tell yourself “you know what? I’ve had a rough day. I’ll deal with that tomorrow” all while stuffing a powdered donut in your mouth. But tomorrow comes, and the bed, it’s just so darn comfortable….so you don’t even think twice when you hit the snooze button. Maybe the next day…
It’s a vicious cycle. But in the spirit of making excuses, I will say this: I forgive myself for the last month. In my eyes, it was a long time coming. When I became pregnant with Rowen, I stopped sleeping well. When he was born, I stopped sleeping all together. Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m not exaggerating when I say for the first 18 months of his life (yes, a year and a half) he woke up every 2 hours through the night. EVERY TWO HOURS. And when he started sleeping in increments of 4 or more hours, I found myself pregnant again, and even less able to sleep the second time around. Almost 4 years later, we have hit the 18 month mark with baby Kain, and finally, FINALLY, 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep is mine. ALL MINE! So like I said, it was only to be expected that I took a little lazy time for myself.
Alas, the lazy is not feeling so good anymore. Especially in the areas of fitting comfortably in my clothes, and the fact that I have a marathon to run in 4 weeks. Oops.
So last night, I decided to start a new 21 days conquest. 21 days of getting out of bed by 5:45 a.m. to get my training done. Not rushed, and certainly kid free. And since I’m all for taking the challenge to the next level, 21 days of clean eating (i.e. nothing processed). Not to deprive myself, not for weight loss purposes, just simply for a challenge to see if I can.
Day one: I woke up at 5:45. Thankfully I went to bed in my running clothes. I always laughed when people told me they did that, but you know what? It really puts a little more (just a little) pep in your step to get your lazy butt out of bed when you are already wearing dri-fit. I messed up morning #1 in the clean eating department when I sleepy eye stumbled around my kitchen looking for food. MMMM Nutri-grain bar! Packed full of high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of other crap I can’t pronounce, nom nom nom.
And then I ran.
And while it felt really good to be out there on this beautiful morning as the sun came up, those were the suckiest 3.30 miles of my life. It felt like 23.30 miles. And I was running S-L-O-W.
But hey, everyone’s got to start (and re-start) somewhere, right?
Here’s to a long and successful 21 days.
Happy running, and even more exciting…HAPPY LAST DAY OF CLASSES TO ME! WOOOOHOOOOOOO!