Recently, I started training for a ½ marathon. It’s crazy. If I were to go back and tell the 25 year old me that I would be running this much at 34 I would tell myself to piss off. But here I am, 34 years old and not only running for exercise 3-4 days a week, I’m actually paying to run in these races.
There are many benefits to running and being just generally active like this. I originally started working out and running to lose weight. In 2014, I was tired of not liking the way I looked or felt. Some people are able to drop the weight no problem but because it was hard for me it was so difficult to stay on track and actually stick to a routine. I need that instant gratification and if I don’t get it I’m off the wagon as soon as I see a piece of pie.
When I began working out in 2014, I would only walk. I couldn’t run very far honestly. I could maybe run a mile but then I would get really tired and my mind would start getting distracted with wanting to do other things. I needed a way to be able to track my activity and my food. Fitbit had been around for a while but they had recently updated their interface with the ability to track several different things. I was able to track my food, activity and water intake. I was able to set up goals on there and it would give me a number of calories I could eat along with how much activity I needed to do in a day to burn those calories off. I do realize the Fitbit is not perfect. It doesn’t track things like spinning very well and occasionally it’s hard to input certain foods. It did help me though, get a general idea of what I was doing per day. When you can see with a number that you have barely moved all day, that can be a huge motivator. It can get you out of the house for a walk or get you to opt to walk to lunch instead of order in. Those little decisions add up and ultimately can get you to change your routines. And when you want to lose weight or change your eating habits the first thing (and hardest) you need to do is change your routines.
Back to the point, my fitness journey did not start with me running 5 miles a day. It was a very slow transition to be able to run long distance and by the way, I consider even 2 miles long distance. I walked for a long time. A few months into it, I signed up for the 10 mile Solider Field run. I was reading the description and thought that finishing a race on the 50 yard line at Soldier Field sounded pretty awesome. In the back of mind, I knew if I couldn’t actually run 10 miles, I could definitely walk it. I had been only walking for months now. Then my father signed up. Now, a little back info about my dad, in short he’s an amazing running. My dad has been running his entire life. He genuinely enjoys running and for a man in his 50s, he’s pretty great at it. There was no way I could walk 10 miles in a race that my dad ran in. I wasn’t concerned with whether or not he would beat me because I assumed for sure he would. I just couldn’t walk an entire race or even part of it when I knew my dad would be sitting at the finish line for over an hour waiting for me.
I only had 2 months to train and what I did was not train at all. One of the dumbest things I could have possibly done. I was going to wing it at the 10 mile race when I hadn’t even run over 2 miles straight prior to that. The morning of the race I had a bagel and I just tried to be confident about it. Somehow I did it. I ran the entire race and I cried at some points of it. It’s a miracle I didn’t really hurt myself honestly and looking back I definitely should have trained. The pride I felt when I crossed that 50 yard line was one of the best feelings I have ever had. I began to see why so many people sign up for these things. I was feeling pretty great with my accomplishment but I came home from that race and could barely move for the next three days.
Although, it was very dumb not to train, it at least showed me that I could actually run that distance. Before that I was convinced I didn’t have the strength or patience to run that far. However, now I knew I could albeit very slowly and painfully. I signed up right away for the 10 Mile Soldier Field race for the following year. This time I really worked on being able to run. I didn’t care about the speed as much as I cared about the distance. Slowly, I began to really enjoy running. I found that running not only made me feel good but that it relieved a lot of stress. It also was a huge reason I was able to lose the weight that I did so ultimately the act alone became associated with how good I was feeling.
By the time the race came up again I was in a way better position to run it. I did pretty well and didn’t cry once during it. That was huge.
1st Year of the Race – Crying….Half Dead
2nd Year of the Race – 15 pounds less and not crying
(Enjoy the watermarks….I wasn’t paying for pictures of myself running)
It is crazy the difference a year makes. I have been running this race now every year since then. 10 miles always seemed like the perfect amount. Not the marathon but not a 5K either. This year they even used one of my pictures from the race as a promo photo! Hilarious that they are using this photo as enticement for people to hurry up and register. I love it though!
Earlier in January, I was feeling pretty down (bloated AF & had my period) and somehow my friend Julia knew that this was the perfect time to get me to agree to do the ½ marathon. Within minutes of her asking I had bought admission to the ½ down in Louisville. She really didn’t have to do much convincing actually….she has super powers and knew the exact moment I would say yes.
Anyway, now I’m full blown training for this. I’m on my fifth week and I feel like it’s going pretty well. I’m pretty proud at how far I’ve come with running. I really never thought I would be someone who is a “runner” but now I finally get why my dad enjoys it so much. Life is stressful and whenever I complete a good run it just feels really nice to have that win.
Running also just played such a pivotal role with my weight loss at the beginning and I am very happy that I came to love it so much. It helps me feel good and keep a great balance with food so that I don’t have to diet constantly.
For anyone thinking that they can’t run or just are not the running type, I was there. I was in that exact spot. Unless you have physical restrictions that prevents you from being able to run, then you can do it. You can do it and it will change your life.