I seem to blog in fits and starts. I like keeping a written record of my activities and thoughts, but sometimes I just like to experience life without too much analysis. I’ve been in a “just do it” phase here recently, but I’m coming back around to a more reflective approach again. Maybe it’s the colder weather and shorter days.
While I was away, I took up a new hobby – running. One I fell into very accidentally. Technically, it’s not really a new hobby. I used to run track in high school. But in high school I was a sprinter, and not a very fast sprinter. Nor did I really enjoy running in high school. So, I never ran again after I graduated. In all honesty, I don’t know why I ran in high school, other than a couple of my friends talked me into it. They convinced me it would be fun. I didn’t think it was very fun back then.
Fast-forward over 20 years later……
I decided exactly 11 months ago, after a not-so-great physical, that maybe it was time to spend a little less time with my knitting needles and more time being active. I wasn’t really overweight, but I was not in good health. I joined a gym but hated what I refer to as the “gerbil machines”. One day instead of going to the gym, I decided to run around the block. So, out my front door I ran. I ran that 800 meter distance, came home and practically collapsed on my living room floor. As I was gasping for air on the floor, and the kids and the dog stared at me curiously, a wonderful, euphoric feeling crept over me. The next day I tried running again. Each day I ran a little more. Before I knew it, my then 10 year-old, who is a member of the school’s Cross-Country team, had me talked into running a 5K with him this past June. So I did. I was embarrassingly slow, my son beat me by a good 10 minutes, but I ran across the finish line.
In October, I tried my second race. It was a 5.5K trail run at my favorite park that raised money for the local food bank. I wasn’t expecting much from this race, but I actually did well and won my age group. It was a small group, but that small win still felt good considering where I started from.
And after an 8.5 mile run the other day, where I actually had fun and enjoyed the entire run, I feel like I can call myself a runner. I’ve got my eye on a half-marathon next year, and last night I found myself discussing triathlon strategies with my younger brother. Finding the time to train is sometimes challenging, but my husband has been very supportive so far. He’s been making sure I find the time and has even committed to joining me for some of my shorter training runs.
So far I’ve lost 20 pounds, which is 10 more than I set out to lose. While I was more interested in feeling healthier than losing weight, the weight loss was still a nice bonus. More important than the weight I’ve lost, is that I feel fantastic – both mentally and physically. I have more energy, I’m more confident, I sleep better, I’m more patient with my family, and my creativity has resurged.
I’ve also learned that as mothers, sometimes we spend so much time taking care of family that we forget to take care of ourselves. I’ve found the biggest obstacle to my training has been a unhealthy dose of “mom-guilt”. I feel guilty when I go off for a couple of hours each week to run through the woods. I’m slowly learning though, that “me time” is very important to a happy and more confident me, which spills over into a happier family life.
I’m not planning on turning this into a running blog, but I’m sure I will post a few milestones when I reach them, along with whatever interesting photos I snap along the trail; like this cute turtle I nearly trampled on the trail. (However, I’ll make sure future photos are in better focus.)
Have you tried anything new recently?