I was never an athletic kid… some might find that hard to believe not knowing me very long but it’s true. I was a very active kid, considering, I climbed trees, rode bikes, roller skated, got down and dirty in the mud… but I never understood all that athletic/competition stuff.
In the 70’s being in front of the TV with Twinkies or Ho ho’s (my favorite) was a common thing for kids to do and I was a common kid.
I tried to be a runner a few times as a kid and young adult but would go so far and give up. My heart felt like it was going to explode! It wasn’t until I met him and quit smoking for good that I decided to try again, and not give up as easily.
“He” is Max, and I started walking him regularly almost from the day I got him because I had watched It’s Me or the Dog and Victoria Stillwell said that was a key thing to do to keep him calm and happy when I was at work. It worked really well. In fact, I’ve never had to have his nails trimmed, as a side bonus. We go different places in the neighborhood, and to the woods-every day. Somedays I’m not as thrilled as other to do it, but I still do it.
After a while though, I started to feel bad because I could never let him off the leash to run, and also, I had gained some weight from quitting smoking and I knew I needed to exercise but between my 3 jobs and walking him I didn’t see where I’d find extra time. So one day while walking him on the bike trail, I tried to run.
I ran for exactly 20 seconds and stopped. Man that was enough for life. My heart was ready to burst out of my chest. But I looked into those eyes…and then at my big butt.. and I tried again. Then, every day, I would go a little, tiny bit more, and some days not. Still feeling like I was going to spontaneously combust at any moment but trying to breathe through it. Somehow this time, at 42 years old, I was able to continue and get better. I looked up running questions on the internet, bought appropriate seasonal gear and just kept going. It took months and months of trying through all the seasons but I didn’t give up.
Then I did something crazier. I signed up for a 10K in January. Sadly, I couldn’t bring my Max and since I was so used to running with him I wasn’t sure I’d be able to without him. But I did, and I finished in the middle of the pack–during a snowstorm along the lakefront!
Before and since then, I have gone through just about every injury that runners get, but I haven’t given up. I did a 5K in April, and on September 9th of this year, God willing, I will do my first Half Marathon, yay!
“If you push through the hard days, then you can get through anything,” – Gabby Douglas after winning the Gold for Gymnastics all-around, London Olympics 2012
Never more do I believe that is the absolute truth than having been there and done that myself. Sometimes I wish I would of gotten to this point sooner in life, but you can’t look back. But if I can go from couch potato to runner, I’m telling ya, you can do whatever you dream. Just do it, right!