Practice Makes

running women

That’s me in the back. Way in the back. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Carlos was still sleeping this morning after the rest of us were clomping around.  As I crept around in my bathroom, which shares a wall with his bed, it reminded me of all those mornings when I woke at 5am and tiptoed out of the house to go to boot camp.  Before I could let myself remember how good it felt on those days to get out in the dark and work out HARD before my day officially began, I jumped straight to feeling bad about the fact that I don’t do it anymore.  Lately, I have had more practice feeling bad about my body than I have had practice feeling strong.

Boot camp workouts began with some stretching and kvetching then a couple of laps around the track.  Not a race, just an easy-paced run.  At my strongest, I could hang with the middle of the pack.  My best time ever was a 9:50 mile.  At my not so strongest, I was hanging in the back of the pack, about a 13:30 mile with some shuffling sprinkled in the running.  Erraday, I’m shufflin’ shufflin’…

When the super fast women like Becky and Danielle streaked by with their pony tails bouncing back and forth, I tried not to feel like a three-legged Holstein stuck in a bog.  They were busting out 8 minute miles while keeping up a lively conversation.  I tried to remind myself that they are fast runners because they practice it a lot.  They can run like that because they practice running.  They probably can’t quilt worth a shit because they don’t practice quilting.  Yeah, I could SMOKE THEM at quilting. Probably.  Oh, here’s a funny note:  I saw Danielle at lunch today and warned her that I was going to write about “the fast girls.”  She said, “Oh, Becky’s the fast one.  I can barely keep up with her.”  Then I asked Danielle what her fastest mile was and she said…6:20.  Yeah.  One gazelle comparing herself to another gazelle.

My point is–we get good at whatever we practice.  Even the things that aren’t good for us.  If I practice running, I get good at running.  If I practice running myself down, I get good at running myself down.

I’ve been writing every day for over six months and I’m getting better at it with all the practice.  I’m mothering like I never thought I could because I’ve been practicing it for six years (EVERY damn DAY).  I have a new job and I’m getting so much more efficient and exact in my tasks because I practice.  Quilting?  Haven’t sewn in six years, so I would need a little time to get back my running stitch.

Running?  I haven’t been practicing that since Carlos was born.  Running myself down?  Been training like it’s the Olympics without even noticing.  Yes–even as much as I focus on the positive and practice gratitude and cultivate mental health, I spend plenty of time subconsciously telling myself that I’m a fat, lazy, so and so and if I really had any gumption or backbone or SENSE I could make a better effort at being…whatever it is I’m not being.  I didn’t even notice how much I’ve been practicing that kind of messaging.  Ugh.  That crap hurts worse than running.

You know my favorite part of running?  Sprints.  WHAT???  I know!  Shuffling along feeling like my thighs were going to combust then…finding that little something extra that was still hidden in my heart, that let me go all out for a few seconds.  I loved sprinting because all I had to do was go 100% for a little while.  Hmmm.  Might be time to practice that again.  Go for one of my fat old lady walks then RUN.   Oops.  I fell back on my practicing there–I’m not a fat old lady.  I’m a 45 year old woman with 45 pounds I’d like to lose.  And I can run if I practice.

What do you practice?  What’s something you’re really good at because you practice every day?

13 thoughts on “Practice Makes

  1. Natalie Camp

    Ashley, you are sorely missed at boot camp and we would love to have you out there “practicing” your running!!! Hope to see you soon but am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog on a daily basis! My mom asks me every night if you have posted something, and we laugh together as I read it aloud!! Thanks for practicing your writing!!

  2. tanyadiva

    To heck with Chardonnay, I’m drinking Shiraz! Seriously, I always say a day without knitting is like a day without sunshine, but even though I’m advanced, I need to finally tackle intarsia. There is no “perfect” in knitting, you can always improve. And don’t feel bad about missing boot camp. I hate to workout, but am forcing myself to do it. I may not be losing weight (thanks, menopause!) but I will love my body and feel sexy no matter what.

  3. Pingback: Progress, Not Perfection | Baddest Mother Ever

  4. Michelle

    I needed to read this post– I just told my hubby yesterday that I’m developing serious body issues (particularly post-baby body issues). We met someone from his work the other day, and my only thought was “I wonder if they were surprised that he has a fat wife?” I, like you, have about 40 pounds I’d like to lose and I have a 3-month old. (I want to find all of those people who told me the weight would just “fall off” while nursing and punch them in the face).
    I’ve been practicing way too much running myself down, and I’m not sure how to be kinder to myself. Any tips? 🙂

    1. Baddest Mother Ever

      #1…this is the body that FORMED that baby. It is holy.
      #2…this is the body that NOURISHES that baby. It is holy.
      #3…this is the body that COMFORTS that baby. It is holy.
      #4…drink more water. It is good for you!
      #5…take baby for a walk now that the weather is cooler. It will open your heart wide.
      #6…once you’re getting enough sleep, that evil voice that calls you fat will shut up. You are holy. And probably really tired.

      Feelings like this are real, but they aren’t FACTS. They are also temporary. Now go drink a big glass of water, eat an apple and take a nap with the baby!

      1. Michelle

        Thank you, I’m going to keep this as a reminder to myself next time I’m feeling down. 🙂
        I just re-joined weight watchers and I’m walking at the park a couple days a week with some other mamas. (Plus doing mama-baby yoga, which is the best thing ever!)
        I think I just need to be gentle with myself & give myself time!
        (Plus, no one looks at me anymore anyway when I’m out with that sweet baby boy!) 😉

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