June 26, 2014 was a turning point in my life. After years of dieting and feeding frenzies and a basement full of exercise equipment, I finally found my “thing.” On that hot Thursday afternoon I began the Ease Into 5k program, and life as I knew it changed.
Up to this point I found myself overweight, unhealthy and miserable with my appearance. It had gotten to the point that I was avoiding old friends and family because I was so embarrassed by my weight gain. I had to make some life changes, little did I know that running was what I had been missing.
Ease Into 5k is an 8 week program you do every other day. Day 1 starts with a 5 minute warm-up followed by a 60 second run, a 90 second walk that you repeat 9 times, then a 5 minute cool down walk. It progresses with each session, gradually adding running time. The program stresses that you are not to repeat sessions, once you finish one, move to the next one.
For the 8 weeks of the program I ran at home. We have a circle driveway that is ¼ of a mile. I thought it would be best to do this in my front yard in case I fell out. The first few days, I could NOT run the entire 60 seconds. If I couldn’t run, I walked it. When the voice prompt said “Run” I ran as long as I could, when she said “Walk” I walked. I did NOT quit.
Every other day I would lace up my shoes and head out. I didn’t know or care about shoes, shorts, moisture wicking fabric, sports bras, etc. Once I began running more and walking less I learned fast about the shorts and sports bra thing. There is nothing like having your inner thighs chafe so bad you have to wear Spanx 24/7 just so you can walk or having the underwire in your bra come out and nearly take off your left bosom to make you an expert on those items!!
Ease Into 5k is the only program I have ever religiously followed. I did everything exactly as laid out. I didn’t add to it or take away from it. I have had a couple of people tell me they tried it, but didn’t make it through it. Both of them tried to tweak the program. You can’t do that, you have to trust the process.
I don’t know how many miles I have logged in 3 years. I have tried to run 3-4 times a week, 3 to 5 miles a run, every week. I was sidelined with the flu for a week, sinus infection for a week, and shin splints for 3-4 weeks, but other than that I have not missed more than 3 days in a row running.
I run when it is hot or cold. I run in the wind and rain. I do not run in lightning or ice. I hate treadmills and running early in the morning, but I will when I have to. I am not fast and I do not care. I do not enter races. I have nothing to prove to anyone. There are people that make fun of me. I do not care. I have found that the running community is the most supportive group of people I have ever encountered. Any time I have doubts about myself, I always find encouragement from a fellow runner. I have also found that running has given me a world of confidence.
Please don’t think that this running thing is all sunshine and roses. I have had multiple setbacks, both mental and physical. I have suffered from more self-doubt than you can imagine. If you have read any of my earlier blogs, you already know these things. The most important thing is regardless of any roadblocks thrown in my path, I have not quit. God willing, I will not. I may have to stop sometime due to age or health issues, but I won’t do it voluntarily.
We all have a weight or size where we feel our best and I’m not at mine yet. I have returned to the gym and have added two days of strength training to help. I really, really enjoy my workouts so, fingers crossed.
I’ll end this with two things. I think it is critical to have a diet and exercise plan. Not necessarily a weight loss diet, but a healthy eating diet. (I have a lot to work on in that area.) It is also important to move, especially the older you get. Running isn’t for everyone, fine. Find what you love. On my running days the first thing I think of when I wake up is “Yay, this is a running day!” I look forward to it all day, and I get madder than hell if something messes it up. I’m fast becoming the same with my gym workouts, I look forward to them all day. Find something that you look forward to and challenges you.
The last thing is a before and after shot of me. The photo on the left is from August 2014. The photo on the right is from last week. I was a size 18 on the left, I’m a size 12 today. I don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve lost, but its in the 60 pound range. Sorry for the goofy after shot, I hate pictures of myself.
Run happy. Be fierce.