I wish that I could say something poignant about change, except that it is. That every time I made a change in my life that turned out to be major, it was really one that seemed of inches at the time.

Like quitting smoking.

Like waking up at 5:45 three days a week to work out.

Like drinking 4 liters of water a day.

I have come to find that in most instances, it is far, far easier to surrender and to accept changes than it is to fight them — especially in the case of getting up at 5:45.

One would think that it seems simple in theory, and difficult in practice. My reality is that the opposite is true. It’s much harder for me to conceptually fight getting up at 5:45 in the morning than it is to physically accept it, and stumble to the bathroom to take my morning shower.

What is the true difference that the 15 minutes of extra sleep would get me? I have found that the difference for me is negligible, at best, but the rewards have been far more gratifying.

Still a Quitter

Two years ago today, I started referred to myself as a non-smoker. Ironically enough, I had to get sick (with a bad cold) as the impetus to get better again.

It’s odd to think of myself as a non-smoker after spending nearly 10 years of my life addicted to cigarettes. Sometimes, I figured I would “get over it,” other times I thought I’d never be able to kick the habit.

I wish I could tell you what the secret to quitting was, short of finally setting my mind to it, and being a Stubborn Irish Ass about sticking to it.

The last time I smoked, my brand was $5.75-ish a pack, and I was a pack-every-two-days smoker. The rough math leads to $2,100 in saved dollars and 7,300 cigarettes not smoked. I’ve plowed that money into a brokerage account with Charlie for our Someday House, and for my health, I see a personal trainer once a week, and am rebuilding my body.

It took me a long time to get to the quitting point, but I feel no shame in that, because I’m so glad I can say I’m two years smoke-free.

Goal-Setting my Way to a 5K

In this article, Mike Kramer points out the ultimate truth in any success story: the #1 indicator of success is to set goals. JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly relates goal-setting in fitness to goal-setting in finance, which I find just as applicable. In my end-of-the-year meme, I talked about finding the beauty in between the lines of the goals, and it’s an idea, I still believe in: I set the goals to become a better person when I accomplish them. But when it comes to motivation to complete the goals, ultimately, I’m not motivated by the means of a process so much as the end.

I say this because even though I’ve become such a better person about getting fit (I joined SparkPeople, and I cannot stop recommending it to people), I need a reason to get fit to stay motivated. To quote W.H. Murray, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.” I found out that Hale Farm is having their “Opening Weekend” 5K run through the farms of Bath, OH. I said, “Shit, why not?” and signed both The Boy and I up for it. And now, I can’t shut up about it: about training, the excitement, how proud I am of myself for taking this huge step in fitness….

I’m training using the C25K program, and my goal is to make it through the Hale Farm’s run jogging the entire time. If I can peg a time for completion, that’s good too – it will be great for comparison for the future. I have had a hard time being a “runner” in the past, but I really want to be, and I have the physique, the energy, and the drive to do it this time.

By setting the goal of running a 5K in June, not only am I committed to actually doing the training for running, I am committed to the strength training that accompanies training for a 5K.When I had re-started horseback riding again at 20, I rode for the summer at a high-caliber training stable which had an actual gym on the ground, so the equestrians that were training for multi-state competition could engage in cardio and strength-training programs to complement training on horseback. The concept had a major impact on me since that day, which is why I’m so committed to not be singularly-focused on just running as part of training.

Once I complete the C25K program, I’m assuming that I will graduate to a more intense program for more accomplished runners (my logic is that actually running in a 5K at the end of C25K means that I am not allowed to call myself a n00b anymore). My plan is to find another 5K to run in, and using the time I clocked for the Hale Farm 5K, train and clock in at a shorter time.

Who knows: maybe I’ll want to do a half-marathon next spring?

Saying Goodbye is Hard to Do

Like a bad boyfriend, I cannot completely “break up” with cigarettes.  Sure, I said that it was a great run, and once upon a time, we were really happy together.  But we just didn’t have the spark we used to – so we called it quits.  But I have to call up the ex and revisit the relationship.

I can’t just tell my company that I quit smoking; I have to go through a program to show how serious I am about quitting (which, frankly, I think the whole “anti-smoking system” is bullshit, but that’s another entry for another time).  This is a sort of “smokers anonymous” program over the phone that walks participants.  As a non-smoker of 12 weeks, though, none of this class applies to me.

But, the insurance company has me by the grapes, and if I want the surcharge removed, I have to successfully complete the program.  Seeing as all of this material is remedial, I’ve decided it’s much more entertaining to “people watch”.  I’m very preoccupied trying to figure out where the other participants are from, what they do for a living, if one of the others in the groups works for the same company, but in another part of the US.

Tonight and next Tuesday are the last two nights of the program.  I doubt that I will ever again think about the program or the participants, but I am rooting for the one guy who has been outwardly “meh” about the program – I hope he succeeds this time.