December 8, 2013 by seriesofassortedevents
So I obviously haven’t done shit here on this blog, college calls.
To update all the readers [who no longer read this blog]:
1. I chose UL Lafayette instead of CU Boulder. It’s small, it’s cajun, and it’s surprised me. You don’t need to go out of state to enjoy college, don’t need mountains to be somewhere beautiful, and legalization never stopped nobody ;). Happy Collegekah, mofo’s.
2. I slowly stopped running after my half, slowly stopped working out when I started babysitting, and slowly stopped doing anything physical over this Summer. In the beginning I missed it, I really really did. It was part of me and I felt it fading, but eventually I relaxed into my life of slumber and got used to being a slob.
My life of slumber grew to include a little faux-friend known as Camel Turkish Royals. I don’t know how it happened or how I let myself go from the occasional drunk cigarette to a pack a day, but it happened. I never accepted it well and was constantly mad at myself with every pack I bought, but every morning I thought I needed a joe. After every meal I thought I needed a joe. Between classes, the stress, oh my- time for a joe. Hannah, what the actual fuck?!
Without seeing it coming my daily coping method for life shifted from sweating to smoking. My self-perspective changed, “you’re a smoker now, not a runner.” My body changed- I’ve lost 7 pounds since coming to college. I lost my thunder thighs. I lost my abs (hell, I lost my core strength period. Since when is my booksack heavy?) I always felt dragged out, tired no matter what. My hair lost its luster (not that it was ever very luster-ous but you kno). 5 months of smoking changed me. However, quitting smoking has also changed me. 🙂
I say that only two days “clean,” but it’s like when you sign up for a race and know you’re going to finish it. I’m not a smoker, I’m a quitter. I’m nowhere close to where I was 7 months ago, but I’m not running backwards anymore. It’s exciting that every time I do something fitness-esque I feel like I’m myself again. Except better, because now every time I choose to do something good for me- weather it be a 15 minute run or controlling a cigarette craving (cravings are bitches btw), it’s a stronger decision because it’s a choice I actually have to make now. Before my little trip to the opposite side of the fitness world, everything I did was automatic. I ran because I had to run X amount of miles that day at X pace. Every Tuesday and Thursday were strength days. Every Saturday a long run. Every Monday speed work. There wasn’t any decision, and although I was passionate about running I never personalized the passion and worked from a “I run because I want to run today” mindset. I was on a schedule and that was it.
Last Tuesday, after a little run in with Mr. Popo (without that badge you a bitch and a half), I was a smidge stressed. I hadn’t been this stressed since starting college, and the last time I had been this stressed I was in the habit of relieving it by running. So, what did I do this time? First I chain smoked. I think 4 or 5 cigarettes in about an hour? But after those little cancer sticks I realized that my body was still full of adrenaline and my mind couldn’t stfu and stop thinking about what had happened, sooo.. “hey what would happen if I ran?”
I think I went something like 1.5 miles at something like a 9:50 pace. It doesn’t matter, I could have literally crawled on all four and still felt elated after. For the first time in 5 months I had to wait for my Garmin to load, I heard the steady rhythm of my feet, I felt my muscles tightening as I kept going, and I FINALLY had to make the personal decision “eh should I stop here? Just to change the song real quick?” I think that’s when my brain jumped back into Hannah mode. I was finally just enough out of my comfort zone to have a challenge in front of me. Five months of easy living will make you mentally lazy and this was like the first time to prove myself to myself again, I loved it.
Since then I’ve ran once again (2 miles at 8:44), and since this I haven’t smoked a single cigarette, nor do I want one. I’ve had cravings, but smoking finally feels beneath me again. I don’t know where my running will go from here, I don’t want to jump the gun and sign up for another big race again just yet, but I’m Hannah again and I’m happy, very very happy.
I’m not glad that I picked up smoking or turned into a sloth for a couple months, but I am glad that I had the chance to re-evaluate my shit in that time. You can’t make a decision until you know all your options; now I have lived the other option and returned to my first decision to be an insane runner person. I appreciate my body more and have a higher respect for my strength of will after quitting, so I really think this will help my running. It has also reminded me why I really loved running in the first place, after a long time of running from expectation or requirement, now running is exciting again, it’s challenging again, it’s fun again, it’s what I want to do, not what I have to do.
If you’re a smoker and considering quitting, I suggest you grow a pair and do it. The first time you go without your routine cigarette (your morning cig, perhaps?), you’ll probably think you’re dying; just get over it. It’s going to be absolutely terrible. You’ll hate everyone for a few days, you’ll feel groggy for a few days, you’ll feel weird without a cigarette when you usually have one. You might cave and bum one or two or three, just to satiate the craving. That’s okay, it doesn’t mean you failed. Stick it out for a few days and your misery will be replaced with pride. Your addiction replaced with power over that stupid little pack. Imagine never having to leave to smoke ever again, never smelling like an ash tray, never wasting any more money on cigarettes, never feeling limited by your addiction, ever again. Just make up your mind and do it, capeesh?