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Becoming a Runner – Frugal Novice

Becoming a Runner

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RunningModelI 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…



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  • Terra Heck April 25, 2013 at 3:38 am

    I wish you all the best during your first 5K. I get very winded when I run, therefore I don’t do it unless I’m being chased. With that said, I applaud those who can do it and have the willpower. My 14 yoa son participates in several 5K runs throughout the year and enjoys it.

    • Christi April 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks, Terra! I TOTALLY got winded when I first started. And I definitely think I had to get in the right mindset before I could get myself to really stick with it… because I’ve learned that running is as much mental as it is physical!

  • Nathan the FFK April 25, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Great post and thanks for the shout out! So excited that you have gotten in to running. I’ll just tell you now though, once you start running outside, you’ll never want to run on a treadmill ever again lol. Running outside isn’t as challenging as some people make it sound, it’s an amazing experience! Anyway, we miss you guys a lot. The next time we’re in A-Town, we’ll all go for a run! (I’ll work on figuring out a way to trick Brian into running too…I think it will involve tying a Zelda toy to the end of a stick so he’ll chase after it lol.)

    • Christi April 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Ha! If you can get Brian running you’ll deserve an award of some kind. ;) Oh and we’re going to try to come to Tallahassee sometime this summer so we’ll definitely try to connect then, too!

  • Whitney @ It's Gravy, Baby! April 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Awesome post and it is so encouraging! I had *just* started running last summer when I broke my leg and ankle and I haven’t been able to get back to it yet. I’m hoping after baby #3 is born, my ankle will be recovered and ready to get back on track. 2.5 half miles is impressive to me. Way to go!

    • Christi April 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks, Whitney! I can imagine that a break like that would be hard to overcome in regard to running, so major props for even having the willpower to WANT to!

  • Danielle @ We Have It All April 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

    LOVE those quotes! Well, I will be right behind ya… so I may be leaning on you for some support. I signed up for a blogger thing so I have to start a workout program and a diet. I *used* to be a “runner”. I put it like that because I ONLY went to the gym to get a break. My kids were 3, 2 and 1. I was allowed 2 hours at the gym with the kids in the babysitting place so I took advantage of it. I stayed on the elliptical for one hour and could hit 6 miles. Boy I miss my body. So… now that I *have to* do this blogger thing, I figured I’d start running again. Wish me luck!

    • Christi April 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Ok, you’re my hero for having gone to the gym with three that little! Anyway, best of luck with the running – will you be following a specific program for the blogging thing, or can you do your own program as long as you’re working out? Either way, I’m sure you’ll do great!

  • Shop with Me Mama April 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Good luck to you hon!! I need to start getting into some sort of routine and start jogging again!

    • Christi April 29, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Thank you! :)

  • Jenny @ MyLittleMe April 26, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I have just started c25k and am where you were. It’s hard getting through only 60 seconds of running right now. It is very nice to hear that you have stuck with it and can actually do it now though! Makes me hopeful!

    • Christi April 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Jenny, it’s seriously amazing how well the program works. I REALLY doubted that I’d be successful with it, but it’s always just enough of a challenge to push you without being overwhelming. Best of luck with your C25K journey!

  • Jenn L April 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    How awesome! You have such dedication and this is really inspiring to me. :)

    • Christi April 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Thank you! :)

  • Laura April 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I run on my elliptical and have been snubbed for calling this running {I’m a little bitter about it}. I would love to be an outdoor runner, but I have a really hard time getting out of the house to do so pregnant and with a 4 and 2 year old with me. I am hoping after baby #3 arrives to get started and really carve out some me time for this. Good luck to you!

    • Christi April 29, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Laura, I don’t get the people who criticize others’ approaches to exercising. I LOVE working out on the elliptical and think it provides great results (and it definitely gets your heart rate up, and works your legs!). And I’ve got to give you props for doing the elliptical while pregnant – it can be so hard to have the energy (especially with two little ones to chase after).

      I ran again outside yesterday after having run on the treadmill Friday night, and it was considerably harder. I read on one fitness forum where people were saying those that run on treadmills v. outside are not as “legitimate” of runners. But then, who cares what they think? :)