it’s a journey filled with potholes.

i quit smoking.

on january 16, 2012 i put down my last cigarette. now, understand something about me and smoking. we were more than on a first name basis. it was a committed relationship of ten years. a pack a day. for ten years. now i know that there are people out there who will say (and my dad is one of them) it’s just a matter of willpower, mind over matter, blah blah blah blah. well, the fact is, it’s the single hardest thing i have ever done in my entire life. moving out of my dads house? no big deal. buying a house? psshhht. facing down four hours of hand written comprehensive exams to obtain my masters? cakewalk. six months in and almost every day i still get that feeling of wanting one.

anyone who tells you quitting smoking is easy is either lying or never was truely addicted.

that being said, i think it’s time for me to take stock of what i’ve been up to the past (almost) 6 months. i quit drinking for three months (because we all know how well drinking and smoking go together). st patricks day blew all that to hell in a handbasket, but, i didn’t smoke. i was triumphant, elated, and severely lacking in my usual tolerance level. but that day was a milestone for me. i cut loose in a social setting and was able to retain that responsible part of me that said “nuh uh… you’ve worked way to hard for this to give in now.” oh! did i mention that the first three weeks after you quit smoking you desperately want to murder everyone?

it seemed at this point that everybody and their brother was running. i suppose that could be part of the college town thing, in march spring break looms like some kind of sand filled, oh-please-let-me-hook-up-with-someone-attractive loomy-thing. however, i thought to myself, what better way to hasten the process of returning my lungs to their pre-nicotine state than to run? bonus round? if you run and you smoke, it hurts worse to run. thus, in stephanie logic, it would help me keep quit.

running? also hard. nothing like kicking an addiction, but really? everyone makes it look so easy! the first day i put on my spankin new brooks shoes i (a) fell on my face and scarred my shin and (b) realized i couldn’t run a mile. not even a half of a mile. quarter of a mile? nope. i could run without walking exactly 1/10 of a mile. pathetic. and i’m not an inactive person, never have been. i hike, i ski, i swim, i even occasionally went to the gym. it was pathetic, but, nothing worth doing in this world is ever easy.

so i get the whole runners high thing now. no, i’m not a marathon runner, not even close, but i can run a half a mile almost without walking. and on the elliptical, i can finish a 5k in under 30 minutes. i’ve had to contend with shin splints and blisters that have necessitated cross training, but i really can’t complain about that. and progress hasn’t been as… well… progressive as i hoped but hey! it’s all about the journey right? not the destination? i actually feel bad if i don’t get exercise.

i get that i sound like i drank the kool-aid. maybe i did. or maybe i should have drank it ten years ago so that i wouldn’t be so far behind now.


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