I should have posted about the fucking 5k sooner than now so that it would be a bigger deal than it feels like it is. I ran 5 kilometers, bitches! Without stopping! Or walking! And I finished in a respectable amount of time! BITCHES!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I also had a sweet, satisfying cigarette on the drive home. Pumped up on aderenaline and pride at my accomplishment, I dragged that delicious smoke into my just-worked lungs and felt the nicotine course through my body, cheering me like an old, congratulatory friend.
But that was November 1. A very good day. And yesterday, November 20, was a different kind of good day. The kind of very good day that’s a really fucking bad day.
It was the day I quit smoking. And right now, the pure pissivity that I feel feels like a much bigger deal than some stupid 5k race.
I picked November 20 because it was 4 weeks after I decided to pick a quit date, and the Internet said to pick a date 2-4 weeks in the future. It was also, coincidentally (as in I didn’t choose that date because of this), the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, or the day everybody is supposed to stop smoking allllllll together.
And leading up to that date, I felt pretty positive about it. It started getting cold outside, and I actually thought, sincerely, “I can’t wait until I don’t smoke anymore and I won’t have to go outside in the cold several times a day.” I thought that! With my thoughts! And a bunch of other positive thinky things, like “I won’t smell like stinky cigarettes anymore” and “I’ll be a positive role model to my children” and “People can’t judge me for smoking anymore, and I’ll have the bonus of feeling morally suprior to people who still smoke.”
And then when I woke up yesterday, I was pissed. Pissssssed. In part because I didn’t go to bed on time the night before, but also in part because I knew it was the day.
So it’s been 39 hours since my last cigarette. I feel like a Sim who wants to turn off the TV but can’t because something is blocking the way. I keep having the “go smoke a cigarette” action idea bubble pop up over my head, and then I realize I can’t do it, and I want to gesticulate angrily and curse in some made-up language. And my cigarette “want” meter is deep, deep in the red, which is dragging my general happiness meter way down with it.
Ugh. Shit, damn, and fuck.
So anyway. I ran a fucking 5k three weeks ago. It’s a 5k put on by the school where I went to kindergarten. I “ran” the same 5k with my dad in kindergarten. We were going to do the kids’ one-mile “Fun Run,” but once we got to that point, we said, “What the heck? Let’s do the whole thing!” Me with my short little five-year-old legs and lifelong aversion to intentional exercise, and my dad with his not-especially-running-friendly boots.
We took so long that the clock was stopped by the time we reached the finish line, and my mom was like, “where the fuck were you, and what took so goddam long?” (Not in those words. Probably.)
This time around, I finished the thing in 34 minutes and 37 seconds, and I placed 554th out of 1,272 officially registered participants.
My Running Mates did a similarly kickass job of running the whole thing and placing respectably. Our Facebook posts were all about training for 10 weeks and feeling accomplished and proud.
As well we should. Running even 60 seconds, let alone 3.1 miles, was a struggle at the start of our Couch to 5k training, and the idea we’d soon become capable of running a 5k seemed dubious at best. And yet we did it. We fucking did it! We worked hard, we were consistent, we pushed ourselves, and the day of the race, we all ran longer than we ever had before. We are fucking rock stars.
We also haven’t stopped training. We are running another 5k tomorrow, and my Mates are running yet another next weekend. Can’t stop, won’t stop, bitches!
I pondered this accomplishment during one of our subsequent evening runs. I thought, you know what? I ran a fucking 5k. I did that shit. And you know what else? I went to the fucking gym. I can do anything. There is nothing I can’t do. I can do fucking anything.
And that means I can quit smoking. As much as it sucks ass and balls and all manner of other unpleasant things, I can do it. I can do that shit, and I fucking dare you to tell me I can’t.
I’ve accomplished things before in my life and experienced that feeling of, “Holy shit, I did that, and I didn’t think I could!” That’s an incredible feeling. If you go too long without feeling that, you forget what you’re capable of. Your baseline becomes “I can’t,” and you might not even realize it. You have to remind yourself that you can, so you can get to where you can say, “I did.”
There’s a ton of shit I’ve done that I didn’t think I could. I gave birth without an epidural. I learned a bunch of shit about cars and earned a property damage license. I got a master’s degree. I sang in front of people. I changed religions. I left my husband. I changed a tire–lots of times. I started going to the fucking gym. I ran a fucking 5k.
And I quit smoking.
I can do this shit. I can do anything.
- Favorite part: finishing a fucking 5k.
- Least favorite: riding the roller coaster of emotions in a car of pissivity. Somebody stop this ride; I’m ready to get off.