I am not an athletic person by nature. Sure, I played outside and ran around with my friends. But I never played a sport until high school – and that was only because I wanted to get out of P.E. class. I’ve exercised on and off over the years, but have never found something and stuck with it long term.
Now that we are done having kids, I decided it was time to get into gear and get healthier. I started watching what I ate, and then decided to check out our local Planet Fitness gym. I have had memberships in the past that ended up being a total waste of money, but this one appealed to me because: it was cheap ($10-$20/month), there was no contract, and the level I signed up at allowed me to bring a guest every single time I went.
For a while I stuck with the elliptical, because I could easily do it for an hour and burn a ton of calories. My friend Amanda was starting the Couch to 5K (C25K) program, though, and I (half-heartedly, really) decided to give it a try too. I won’t lie, it was a little disheartening at first – I could barely run 60 seconds at a time without being completely winded!
Now, though, I’m almost done with week 7 of the program, and I am amazed. Amazed that I’m able to run 2.5 miles now, and amazed that I’ve stuck with this for 7 weeks. Each week was a challenge, but achievable. And week 5, day 3, when I ran 2 miles straight for the first time, was an awesome experience that started to give me confidence that I could really become a runner.
I know I’ve got a long way to go. After all, my first real 5K where I attempt to run it all is coming up at the beginning of May. I’ve been running on a treadmill for the most part, and I know running outside is much more challenging. I’m planning on getting in a couple of outdoor runs before the 5K to prepare a little more for that, and I’m trying to mentally stay strong, reminding myself that I can do this. That I never thought I could run one mile, let alone 2.5, and look where I am now! And that I can keep doing more and running farther if I don’t stand in my own way.
The challenge of becoming a runner hasn’t been easy, but it’s been more rewarding than I could have imagined. I won’t lie – my 2.5 mile run last night was tough. But I powered through and finished, pushing out any thoughts that I couldn’t do it… and the ability to do that is just as valuable to me as being able to physically run the miles.
I also have to give credit to some people who’ve specifically inspired me on this journey. Amanda, of course, got me into this whole C25K thing to begin with. My friends, Chemese, Nathan and Megan have all overhauled their eating and exercise, and their running is what first planted the seed that maybe, just maybe, I could do this too. And my friend Jennifer, who is on this running journey too, is a great motivator and encourager.
I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes that have been inspiring for me. The first is one my boss mentioned to me as being her favorite, and I love it for any aspect of life. And the other is a running quote that is helpful for me to remember when I feel like I’ll never be as fast as all the other runners around me. And please, if you’re thinking of starting something to better your life, take the first step. The end goal may seem so far away, but you know you can take that first step. You’ll quickly discover that the next step is within your reach… and the next, and the next, and the next…