Challenge: ACCEPTED.

The death of Operation Hotmother was a good thing on many levels: it made me less of a crazy, weight-obsessed person; it kept me from pressuring all of YOU into being crazy, weight-obsessed people; and it allowed me to breathe a GINORMOUS sigh of relief.

However, that sigh might just be getting a bit too long-winded.

While I don’t want to be a scale-watcher, I would like to be in better shape than I’m in right now. SHOCKINGLY, maintaining a healthy weight isn’t as easy now as it was when I was fifteen. Maybe it has something to do with the thirteen years I’ve aged and the baby I’ve birthed.

JUST A GUESS.

Regardless of the reasons, I’m no longer the awe-inspiring, exemplary specimen of athleticism (*cough*) I once was. And although I don’t want to revisit the Hotmother, I would like to be healthy. And also I’d like for my pants to fit better.

Oh, Rubber Band That Holds Up My Pants. You and I have a long, sordid history together. (Important: This is not a picture of me.)

But how will I accomplish these seemingly UNATTAINABLE goals?

Trickery and self-indulgence, natch.

I’ve often fallen into the Sign Up For A 5K To Trick Yourself Into Running trap. The last time was December 2009, when I signed up for the Jingle Bell Run. You probably have one of these in your city: everyone dresses up like reindeer or elves or whathaveyou and jogs / skids on patches of ice / crawls toward the finish line.

This man: officially my HERO.

The race started off with, no joke, a NINETY DEGREE INCLINE and went downhill (not literally) from there. I ran about half a mile before deciding it would be MUCH more pleasant to stroll. After all, the Jingle Bell Run goes through this old, beautiful neighborhood, and I enjoy a good 1920’s-style house as much as anyone. So I walked and made mental comments about everyone’s porches and Christmas decorations.

Not the best use of A) $30 or B) a freezing Saturday morning.

I signed up for the 5K in an effort to trick myself into becoming a runner. I figured that by the time the 5K rolled around, I would have trained for it and discovered a SECRET PASSION for running that had lain dormant within me for years.

Well, that didn’t happen.

See, I don’t like to run. But it’s the best way to get in shape, and I really WANT to like it. If I could just ENJOY running, I wouldn’t have to force myself to do it. But part of the reason I don’t like it is that I’m not in good enough shape to do it.

Do you see the Death Spiral of Crazy this has become?

Against my better judgment, I’ve decided to try again. I’ve signed up for the Jingle Bell Run on December 10. But this time, there’s something at stake.

Something I want REAL BAD.

My husband, in his constant effort to Encourage Me And Be The Best Husband Ever, has stated that if I finish the 5K in 32 minutes or less, I can have a WHOLE WEEKEND TO WRITE.

BY MYSELF.

For someone like me with a full-time job and an almost one-year-old, that is some motivation like WHOA.

SO.

Challenge: Finish the Jingle Bell Run in 32 minutes or less.

Preparation Time: 26 days.

Current Athletic Status: Questionable.

Reward For Success: One weekend of uninterrupted writerdom.

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29 thoughts on “Challenge: ACCEPTED.

  1. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    That’s a pretty awesome incentive. I kind of want that. But I probably wouldn’t run a 5K for it. Much less in 32 minutes. Couldn’t you do something you love instead to get in shape? I feel like you’ve written about playing sports on here before–what if you joined a local league for a season and THEN were rewarded with the weekend to write?

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Jamey, you are describing my dream. HOWEVER. I only know how to play one sport, and that’s volleyball. And there are zero volleyball rec leagues in Birmingham, unless you’re a high school girl, in which case there are dozens. There is also the time commitment factor with rec sports. Running can be done quickly!

  2. Starr Parnell says:

    How fun! Go Anne! You can absolutely do it! 😀 Not gonna lie, running brings out the absolute worse in me! Ugh it is like torture – so there is my encouragement! ha

  3. Connie Keller says:

    I’ve been a runner for a lot of years. And I hate running. But I make it more fun to run than not run. When I run, I use the treadmill and my Kindle holds the latest spy thriller I’ve borrowed from the library. (I used to use “real” books, but the Kindle is easier.) 40 minutes of totally self-indulgent reading with no interruptions. If the book’s good enough, the time’s over before I know it.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      I have tried to read and run, but there is so much bouncing. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE BOUNCING, Connie? Share your wisdom!

  4. Alicia says:

    I agree with the sports comment. Find something active that you enjoy then you won’t realize you’re exercising. And you will be more likely to maintain it. That’s tennis for me. I know the Y’s in that area offer leagues, clnics, lessons or whatever and have babysitting services. Just a thought.

    Otherwise, take your music/audio books with you and try to enjoy it. I found I learned to (gasp!) like running more when I used it as a wind-down for my stressful days.

    Have fun, you can do it! (BTW, I love reading your blog. You always make me laugh!)

    1. Anne Riley says:

      I know, I so wish I could do a rec sport! It’s just the scheduling, and they’re not usually cheap enough (read: free) and also I just don’t really know how to play anything. I’d rather run by myself than humiliate myself in front of strangers while paying for it.

  5. Rosie says:

    Reading this really did put me in a good mood. Hahaha. I loved it and laughed out loud a bit… but I do have a bone to pick: now I’m considering signing up for a motivational Christmas 5k myself… and being content in my laziness was more comfortable.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Do the Jingle Bell Run! You and I can run together. Although we might be tempted to talk and laugh instead of run. So maybe that’s not the best idea…

  6. Grumpy Grateful Mom says:

    Your post made me laugh! Mostly because I saw so much of myself in it! Sadly, I am also not quite an awe inspiring, exemplary specimen of athleticism, but I’ve been thinking about running again. If only there was a Jingle Bell run near me.

  7. Alexandra Shostak says:

    Omg is 32 days enough time to train for a 5k??? I feel like I’d need at least 200. I hate running. You can usually trick me into exercising by challenging me to some sort of game or asking me to go swimming (as long as the pool is warm) but running…blech, no way.

    Good luck!

        1. laura says:

          ANNE. ok, i have a friend who told me about a program on the internet called “couch to 5k” and how it was very easy to go from doing nothing to being ready to run a 5k. i haven’t looked at it yet (surprised?) but this will inspire me. if i know that i can run the 5k with you, i might just do it. what do you think?

        2. Anne Riley says:

          I’ve done it before! Didn’t work the first time around, but see, there was nothing at stake. And yeah! Run it with me!

        3. Anne Riley says:

          Alexandra: Because I’m supposed to run it in 32 minutes or less, probably. See? You’re not that crazy.

  8. Elle Strauss says:

    Why did hubby chose 32 min? Why not 35 or 30 (though I understand why you’d want those 2 extra minutes) Great challenge!

  9. Reenie says:

    I thought I was the only one who used the rubber band trick. LOL I don’t know why I’ve hated running for as long as I can remember. I made the basketball team in high school, but stopped playing because it was too much running. Someone asked me to try out for the soccer team, I said are you crazy! Unless you need a goalie. But you are right you don’t love running unless you are in the kind of shape to do it. So Good Luck on your 26 day quest to the Run. I can’t wait to see how you do.

  10. Connie Keller says:

    Oops. Sorry, I’m just checking back now (I have a child with chicken pox.) A track coach taught me that bouncing is wasted energy–you need to run w/o bouncing. Your upper body should have very little movement except arm movement. I know it sounds weird, but it’s totally doable (I learned and I’m hugely uncoordinated.) Watch marathoners or pro runners–they don’t bounce. It only takes a little practice–you’ll be able to run much faster too–more calories burned in less time!

  11. Hands Free Mama says:

    Now that is what I call an awesome husband! I think I could SPRINT a 5K if it meant a whole weekend to write. I can’t imagine what that would be like! I will be cheering you on! Oh and I live in Birmingham, too!

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