I ran my 10k on Saturday with 6,000+ other women, that’s me on the left, top row. The energy was amazing and there were runners of all ages there. I still am sometimes surprised to hear myself described as an athlete and/or a runner. I was overweight and out of shape when I was in my late 20’s. I started exercising and was faithful to the gym and working out. But running? Nope, not me. If you chased me I’d run but I really had no interest in it.
When I did finally give it a try I was pleased with my results. I hit my goal weight and was running about 3 miles 3 times a week. Then my chiropractor told me to stop, it was hurting my knees and lower back. I listened because what did I know? Now I know I could do exercises to strengthen my quads, hips and core. I no longer get much back or knee pain from running.
Then when I was 40 I was bored and looking for a new challenge. I signed on with Team in Training and started training for a half-marathon. Yes, when I put my mind to something I jump right in. I didn’t like running even then. I’d listen to music, say some mantras, talk to fellow runners, and occasionally curse – anything to get me through the damn thing.
But you know, my legs looked good and my butt was up where it belonged. I tend to have pancake butt so that made me especially happy. Walking hills was becoming very easy, as did running for the bus. The bus driver even asked me if I had run track in school. I explained that I was a newer runner but had been training with a coach. He told me he could tell because my form was very good. So I kept running, hey – vanity is a powerful motivator.
After I completed my half-marathon I liked running. I started running for a challenge and to raise money for cancer patients but I had gained so much. I had more self-esteem, I knew if I could run 13.1 miles I could do almost anything. My body looked and felt better, I had more energy, and my thinking was clearer when I ran. Exercise stimulates new brain cell growth and it also stimulates the area of the brain where problem solving occurs. No wonder I was able to work things out when I ran.
Now when I am unable to run I get bummed out. My husband just looked at me the first time I complained about being unable to go for a run. Then he asked me if I ever thought I would be the woman who was annoyed because she couldn’t run. No, no I never imagined those words coming out of my mouth. And now? There are days when the run isn’t great and I can’t wait for it to be finished. I think about what I did that maybe hindered my run and change it for the next time. But most days, I love to be out and running.
What exercise works best for you? What gets you excited to be moving?
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