It is a cold (for the Willamette Valley in Oregon, anyways) fairly windy day. 29F at the moment, with 5-10 mph winds. But after I post this blog I'm headed outside for a run. I want to beat the Blerch.
Let me explain what the Blerch is. This Christmas, my 30 year old champion ultra running daughter visited. She gave me this great graphics comic, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Oatmeal (aka Matt)...This is a great, inspiring story about why Matt runs and all the excuses he makes for not running (and what running does and does not do for you). It made me laugh. It rang so true. It made me realize that I love running, and have loved running for many years, while at the same time I've constantly and diligently been fighting against running, against being fit, against keeping my weigh off.
I'm my worst enemy...the voice inside my head that says I'm not worthy, why not just take it easy, you can always run tomorrow....blah, blah, blah.
I laughed as I haven't laughed in a long while reading this comic. Thanks, Jordan, you've given me hope and inspiration for the future...and you've made me really, really happy about myself. A short version of the comic and Matt's website can be found here:
Let me share a bit more about Blerches (and how they can bring us down).
Here's some choice words from the comic Beat the Blerch Comic: "I do not believe in the wall, I believe in the Blerch. The Blerch is a fat little cherub who follows me when I run. He is a wretched lazy beast. Slow down, captain Speedy Pants. Let's go home. We've got gravy to eat and naps to conquer. Also the Netflix Robocop trilogy isn't gonna watch itself.... He tells me to slow down. To walk. To quit.
'Blerch' is the sound food makes when it is squeezed from a tube. 'Blerch' is the shape of my tummy after a huge meal. If I am sedentary at a time when I have ZERO excuse for being sedentary, I call this 'blerching' The Blerch represents all forms of gluttony, apathy, and indifference that plague my life...."
I could quote more, but the point is, the Blerch isn't insurmountable...as long as you keep moving he can be silenced. Matt says, "I run because it's the only way I know how to quiet the monster. I run, because deep down, I am the Blerch."
Like Matt, I too have been battling the Blerch my whole life. I was a chubby kid who liked eating and sports. I was better at eating than sports. I'm 61...and have been running on and off and off and on since my 20s. I took quite a break. But got back into running the last time I seriously tried to lose weight. I ran my first marathon in 2004, my last one in 2013. This past year I had resigned myself to half marathons as I didn't feel up to training for a marathon. I suffered injuries this past year to my calf and got bursitis in my knee. I battled my weight and again, it went up and down.
But I still persisted running. Because it is a fundamental part of what makes me, me.
Last Friday, I went out with my daughter and ran 8 miles on the Leif Erikson trail in Portland. It was muddy and squishy. I was wheezing up the first two miles of hills. I had a blast. I rocked the run. Especially the last two miles downhill.
Sunday I went out on another solo run said to myself...don't walk up the hill unless you absolutely have to, and I recorded one of my best times all year-- an 11:01/mile average pace for 4 miles. Yesterday, since it was cold, I ran on the dreaded treadmill. I did it and felt better after. Today, I want to run outside. I want to feel that cold in my face and beat the Blerch. I'm up for it!
I know every day I won't be able to Beat the Blerch. But I'm gonna try. I'm running inspired.
What has been holding me back with my weight and running this past year (they are intertwined) has been the belief that I don't deserve being that fast (after all, I am getting older) and that skinny (after all, my metabolism is slowing down as I age). That's the Blerch talking in my ear.
I'm so tired of that negative self talk.
So New Year's Resolutions for me except for this one: This year I'm going to work my darndest to overcome the Blerch, to silence that negative self talk. And to enjoy my runs.