It seems like it’s been a long time but I really just began training and eating better about 13 weeks ago.
That “old” me seems a distant memory in a very short time. Habits I thought I would never be able to break don’t even occur to me anymore. I used to go to bed with a sleeve of saltines just to snack on after the kids went to bed and that unleavened bread hasn’t made it past the cupboard door in over 2 months!
Yay. No more crumbs in bed!
I swapped out my carbonated drinks for water, increased my exercise and what began as a small training session of walking the distance of one lamp post to another and then running to the next in intervals to reach a mile, now has blossomed into a 3 mile run/walk 5 days a week.
It’s hard to believe that 1 mile was so difficult for me in the beginning. I actually never dreamed that my “first” mile would be just the beginning of my workout, whodathunkit? Me. 48, overweight…tired, sluggish and an emotional eater could actually break those habits and turn over a new leaf of health?
I’ll be honest. I was a glutton just a few short months ago. I overindulged, pigged-out, over ate, drank way too much alcohol, ate way too much cheese and meat and didn’t even think twice about it. Over the past few months, cutting out those fatty foods, reducing my alcohol intake to just a few light beers on occasion or a glass of red wine has sped up my metabolism and reduced my weight by calorie counting and exercise by 32 pounds.
I feel refreshed and renewed.
I even had my very first 5K race yesterday. I entered by myself and just hoped for the best.
Over the past few weeks, I bought a book on beginning running and decided to get up every day and increase my run/walk time ratio. Where I used to walk more than I ran, now I can run more than I walk and it all began with an increase of running gradually over the past 8 weeks. If I had a day where my legs were overly sore or my knees had an unfamiliar “pang” of tenderness, I laid off and walked the next workout. I warmed up easily, stretched before and after and took up Yoga twice a week in order to increase my flexibility because I felt like I was building up muscle but becoming more rigid in the process.
It really helped. In the past two weeks I was able to step up my runs and increase my distance by another 1/2 a mile until I was running over 2/3 of my entire 3 – 3.5 mile trek through the woodland trail and the road sections I use on my route. The mulch path really worked muscles I had never used before and it also provided comfort for my feet and absorbed some of the impact and protected my old lady knees so I could feel less stiff later in the day.
About 3 weeks ago, my son Benjamin brought home a sign up sheet from his school regarding a Japanese class sponsored 5K event to benefit the Yuko-En friendship garden in our city. He told me I should sign up and I decided it was time to test my wings…er my legs. And honestly, I was nervous. Really nervous. But I felt like it was time to try something new and I needed that commitment to keep me focused and accountable.
The day of the race, I felt a little out of place among so many advanced runners; but my husband reminded me and so did my friends that if nothing else, I could walk the 5K. Since it was raining and unseasonably cold, I almost stayed home, but I figured if nothing else, I would show up and see what happened from there…just take it one step at a time and see what happened next.
It was unbelievably cold outside. The temperature was around 45* and dropping and I was surrounded by some seriously fit, seasoned, runners and I was a little intimidated by their lean legs and lightweight, fancy running gear. I was donned in my “Mother of Three ensemble”: Wal-mart capri leggings, bike shorts, my XL mens t-shirt covered by my sons old hooded sweatshirt, my daughters gloves and a head band on my already wet head from the drizzling rain that had been dropping on me for the past 20 minutes. I was almost too cold to warm up but I began stretching anyway and then before I knew it, I was sharing my obvious secret, that this was my first 5K race.
Hello world, I was a newbie.
Everyone that I spoke with was so supportive. Words of advice and smiles crept across the faces of some of them as they congratulated me for even showing up under such uncomfortable circumstances. I felt welcome and renewed and even more determined to do my best. I met a particularly lovely mother named Michelle and her young daughter was running in the race and I felt like she was there to cheer me on too.
We lined up and started at the the sound of a blow horn that had me feel like a bucking bronc ready to run from the gate; but instead I began with a whimper and not a bang as I brought up the rear of the group down the slippery hill because I was fearful of slipping before I even had a chance to run…I kept repeating to myself above the drone of AC/DC blaring on my headphones…”Slow and steady Margie…slow and steady…you can do this…just FINISH. That’s your goal…just to finish.”
What started as a goal to just finish a 5K, ended with an extra little piece of happiness hanging around my neck. I had no idea I had placed third in my division and I contemplated leaving before they announced the winners because I was so cold and wet and exhausted but I decided to stay and clap for those people that had inspired me so much earlier. So when they called my name I replied with a “Hey! That’s me!” response that truly caught me off guard. I was genuinely surprised.
So now, I can say I ran a 5K.
Don’t know how I can really top that feeling.
Except for maybe finishing another one next month.