Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm a runner? Me? Really?

I started running last December. Let me preface that with this...I have never liked running. In fact, I hated running. I played 2 years of softball in high school and the thing I dreaded was running, not around the bases, but having to do laps. I HATED it. I can walk for days, but run, me? No way. My knees aren't the strongest so I really didn't think I could run.

I'm a runner! 

I like a good challenge, I have a competitive streak, just ask anyone I work with when it comes to games of work knowledge! I like to push myself to be better and I really love to push myself to be healthier, fitter and stronger. So then I thought "Why not me? Why should I limit myself? Why should I keep using my knees and ankle as an excuse? Why should I look at others and think, what if that was me, what if I was a runner? Why should I put off doing something that can make me stronger and make me healthier? Why not me?"

And why not you?  Why would you not want to do something positive for yourself to make you live a healthy, long life? I'm not saying running is it, but challenge yourself. Make small changes and you may just see big results! The worst that can happen is that you fail and you'll never know until you try. It's better to try and fail then to never try at all.

So I got a little bit of encouragement and thought, hey if other people can do it, so can I. I didn't have a lot of weight to lose, just really wanted to lose the extra "fluff" around my mid section. That's where my extra weight has always been, no matter what I do. I definitely lost some of that when I switched to a plant based diet, but some of it is still hanging around. I think in college I actually had a nice flat stomach...alas, those days are long gone. I'm okay with that, I don't expect to ever have washboard abs. But I wanted to do something to help get rid of some of it because it's the worst place to carry weight from a health standpoint. 

So how did this chick who hated running start running and actually like it? SLOWLY! Roxy (my superstar dog) and I have always been big walkers, there isn't a hill we won't conquer and can easily do 4-5 miles around Mt. Tabor with ease. However, I think it wasn't enough for her. She needed more, she loves to run and I figured if I could incorporate some running into our walking, that would be a good start. So we would walk for 10 minutes to warm up, run for 2-3 then walk for 3-5, and so on. Each week we would decrease the walking and add more running. And guess what? It worked. Now we can run 3-5 miles with only stopping for her "business" or for about 30 seconds every now and then to re-group and start again. 

And all this running has been working, my mid section is slimming down. My body feels stronger and I found that runners high that all runners talk about. That runners high is totally worth the work! So in order to keep myself going, I signed up for runs in increasing distance. 

Heartbreaker 5K on 2/19 (my first race ever!)
Shamrock 8K on 3/18
Hippie Chick Quarter marathon on 5/12
Inaugural Portland Rock 'n' Roll Half marathon on 5/20 (my vegan running friend is going to join me - yippee!)

I also joined Portland Fit and training starts Feb. 25. It will be good to have some official training to give me some pointers on form, etc. 

My knees don't hurt, at first they were a bit upset, but now they are used to it and because I started slow they adjusted. My only sore point is my right ankle. When I was 5 I was riding on the back of my dad's bike and all the time he would say "don't put your feet in the spokes, keep them out". Well, guess what? My right foot went into the spokes and broke my right ankle. My mom said I screamed all the way to the hospital (I was a child who could scream so loud that glass would almost break!). I was in a walking cast for about 6 weeks and I'm pretty sure that's why my right foot/ankle does not like to bend the way my left one does. It's always fun to explain that to a massage therapist or when I get a pedicure. "Sorry my foot doesn't bend like that so stop trying to make it bend".

So sometimes my ankle gets a bit mad at me, but since I treat it nicely (RICE) it's still willing to put in the work. I remember being in college at a coffee shop and a guy pulled up with his kid on a seat on the back and I saw that they now make clear plastic things that cover the spokes to prevent that from happening...only if they had those in the 70's wouldn't that have been great.

So if I can do it...anyone can and I mean ANYONE! I'm living proof. Now...about that half marathon...yikes! I'll make it, might walk some, but as long as I can finish I'll be happy! 

Now go eat your veggies...and go out and get some exercise!

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