An Unlikely Runner
When I graduated from high school in 1969, that was the last time that I ran any distance, and that was only in P.E., which was a requirement in those days. All through my adult years, I only ran when I played softball on a church league or similar activity, and that was for very short distances at a time. I developed a Lawn and Landscape business that kept me outdoors, involved physical labor, and I considered that I was in pretty good shape as a 59 yr. old. However, in November of 2009, I found myself at least 20 pounds overweight and feeling sluggish with every step I took. Something had to change. January 1, 2010, I did 2 things: I stopped drinking sodas of any kind and I started walking 4 – 5 mornings a week. I did not consider myself a “soda-holic”, and I did drink the diet stuff, which I thought was better for me. I started drinking only water, and my morning walks would take me out the door for an hour, returning home to get ready for the day. In 2 months I lost 20 pounds! I had NO interest in running, for I never saw a runner laughing when I saw them jogging on the side of the road. “If it’s not fun, who wants to do that?” I wondered. Somehow, though, along the way, I found myself wondering: “Could I run to that next intersection?” “Could I run to that parked car?” “Could I run a full block?” I had not run a mile without stopping since those high school days, and I surely had no dreams of doing it now! Through a series of events, I became involved in an activity in which I was going to have to run a timed mile in November of 2010. On August 1 of that year, I went out my front door and ran one mile without stopping in about 8 minutes! Completely worn out, I thought I would die! I thought that since I had improved to this point, I may as well continue running a mile a couple times a week, then in February, 2011, I asked a friend who I knew to be a Marathon runner how this was possible. I couldn’t run another 10 feet after I’d run a mile! He told me to “slow down and join a group”. His further counsel told me where to go to join a group….the next day found me at a local running supply store, joining a group that ran 3 days a week. I learned what it is to run at a conversational pace, what it is to run hills, long runs, tempo runs, and do running “workouts”. 3 weeks after joining this group, I went on an Easter Sunday Long Run of 9 miles, hysterically enjoying every minute of it! I have since run over 10 Half Marathons, several shorter races, and have even placed first in my age group in several 5K’s! I have gone on to lose another 5 – 10 pounds (depending on the season!), and have discovered such a “can do” spirit in the running community. I absolutely LOVE my running friends, and have begun to branch out into bicycling with my local club, and have a feeling that other things may be in store in my future. (Maybe getting wet? AKA swimming). I had a Dr’s appt. for a complete physical just a couple months back, and he told me that all my indicators had improved dramatically, due primarily to my newfound physical activity! I have had to learn how to listen to my body and care for the little aches and pains and soreness that I have experienced, and am so grateful that I finally got fed up with the way I felt and made a transition to my current status as an “unlikely” runner!