I Have a New Fitness Goal


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  120 comments   :  18,040 Views

When I took inventory of my life for 2010 and shared it with you, there's something I didn't tell you. I hope you can forgive me. I didn't intentionally leave it out, and it was really firmly planned then. However, it's something I think you should all know about.

See, I have trouble labeling myself as athletic or fit. For the first 26 years of my life, I loathed running ("I only run when chased," I said.) and couldn't really ride a bike. I worked out to keep my weight in check, but I hadn't yet found a form of cardio that I enjoyed. Yoga was the only form of exercise I liked then.

In the last two years, much has changed. I rode 85 miles in one day on my road bike, became a yoga teacher, did 10 "boy-style" pushups, conquered my fear of headstands, and ran my first 5K, a second 5K and my first 10K.

Though I work out six or seven days a week, run regularly and teach yoga to others, I have never really considered myself to be an athlete--or a runner.

This new challenge I've set for myself will change that.

I am training for my first half-marathon.

I started training two weekends ago for the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon on May 2. I'm running with a few friends and training at a running store here in Cincinnati called the Running Spot.

Like so many of you, I have a weight-loss story (another tale for another time). I lost 40 pounds five years ago and have kept it off. But long before that, I was a skinny bookworm of a kid who wore skirts to get out of gym class, cried when her mom tried to sign her up for T-ball and thought being skinny was more important than being strong.

When I look in the mirror these days, that girl is long gone. In her place is a woman who filled out a bit, signs herself up for fitness challenges and built some muscles.

I have plenty of friends who grew up being active. Though I danced as a young child and was always busy and skinny, I preferred stationary activities: reading, cooking, talking on the phone. Walking for 30 to 45 minutes a few times a week was my only form of cardio.

I was clumsy, self-conscious and hesitant to try new things.

It's no wonder I have trouble labeling myself as athletic or fit today. But I am. I can't run a six-minute mile, I've never competed in anything physical except for dance competitions, and I still don't enjoy organized sports. But I can keep running--and trying.

I'm not making excuses. I cleared those hurdles, and I'm looking forward to this challenge. I don't have a goal in mind, other than to finish.

And starting now, with this confession, I proudly will call myself a runner.

(I have to end this blog by thanking Coach Nancy, who encouraged me to sign up for my first 5K, who hugged me after I crossed the finish line and assured me I was a runner. Without her loving push, I wouldn't have signed up for that first race.)

Is there a goal you've been apprehensive to share with others? What was it?

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  • 70
    Embrace your inner athlete, way to go! And besides, a Yoga instructor, that should be an art... WOW... amazing sport, I am glad you are seeing yourself for what you are! Congrats on keeping the weight off for 5 years!

    -Steph :)
    365 Days with the 330 Pound Woman, you can find my blog on blogger at
    spot.com - 1/27/2010   10:40:14 PM
  • 69
    WOW there is a lot of similarity in my story. I too was a skinny kid who didn't have to worry about things until I found myself 25 pounds over weight and very out of shape. I hated exercise and tried to avoid it all the time. I recently discovered I LOVE yoga and the muscles I am discovering in my body. I really enjoy working out which is good because it balances the time I spend at the computer writing and doing homework. Kudos to you for making this goal. I think I want to be able to surf and hike this coming summer...not ready for a marathon though. - 1/27/2010   10:18:22 PM
  • 68
    Wishing you the best of luck! - 1/27/2010   9:42:10 PM
  • 67
    Awesome! Good luck to you. I am currently training for my first half marathon, also in May . I've always wanted to try it, but was afraid, & wondered if it was too big a goal for someone who only ran occasionally. However, reading lots of peoples running sucess stories I was inspired to go for it. I am sick right now, but will be training once I feel better.

    - 1/27/2010   9:28:32 PM
  • 66
    I hated running, but there is a 10K that my office mates always run every October and I wanted to participate this year. I am now doing the C25K program and I must say that it's not as bad as I thought it would be. I cannot say that I enjoy running, but I am looking forward to achieving my goal of running a 5K first and then the 10K in October. And calling myself a runner.... - 1/27/2010   9:25:18 PM
  • 65
    Well, I haven't thought of a goal that great..I'm just started to get it all together. But now that I have read your story..instead of sitting in the stands when T-ball starts I will be walking and slow running while the games are on. I can still cheer for those grandbabies each time I come around. Congratulations on such accomplishments and I'll be cheering you on as well. Looking for your posts! - 1/27/2010   8:24:55 PM
  • 64
    Congratulations! Our stories are very similar :) I lost 40 pounds last year and ran my first 5K, and this year I have my first half marathon on the agenda! All the best to you - I know you can do this!! - 1/27/2010   7:51:39 PM
  • 63
    I can totally relate. I've done several 5K's, and 2 half-marathon. I'm also signed up for the Cincy HeartWalk 15K but still can't call myself a runner. I do a run/walk sequence but have never built up where I can run for more than 10 minutes at a time. - 1/27/2010   7:16:00 PM
    You inspire me. Not only in your accomplishments, but also as an example that all people can change and grow. I am pretty much where you were at the beginning - trying to find exercise I enjoy. You did it and I will too! - 1/27/2010   7:06:12 PM
  • MICHELLE33686
    You are a great inspiration, and I am so happy you shared this. I was very healthy in highschool with my 5'4" height and 110 pound frame, I than thought I was fat.
    I am begging to even get close to that skinny body I once had.
    Thank you again, successful stories like this help me know that there is hope. - 1/27/2010   6:22:46 PM
  • 60
    Congrats Stepfanie!! Thats awesome news to share! :-)

    I love the Running Spot....I got my first pair of "running" shoes there recently - and I LOVE them!! :-) - 1/27/2010   4:49:24 PM
  • 59
    I never liked runnng either, but I run now! One of my goals this year is to attempt a half marathon too! - 1/27/2010   4:49:04 PM
  • 58
    touching post... - 1/27/2010   3:52:08 PM
    My unshared goal for the last ten years or so revolves around my attempt to lose weight. I have started and stoped more times than I can count. I have never suceeded at doing anything vaguely positive until I "got the spark" about a month ago. While I am making progress and enjoying the ride I am reluctant to share it with anyone for fear of failure. Sorta silly, huh? - 1/27/2010   3:32:48 PM
  • 56
    This is totaly amazing! WTG and GL with the Half Marathon! - 1/27/2010   3:19:05 PM
    You are an athlete...as with everything they come in different, sizes, shapes, sports etc. - 1/27/2010   3:10:21 PM
  • 54
    Good for You! - 1/27/2010   3:06:08 PM
  • 53
    WOW, I am so proud of you. You truly are an Athlete! - 1/27/2010   3:02:00 PM
  • 52
    My goal is to run a 5k by the end of the year. I had ACL replacement 3 months ago and I am walking a 24 minute mile, but thats it so far. I still have 11 more months to go. - 1/27/2010   2:35:05 PM
    Good for you, Stephanie. I thought of myself as fit when I was size 8 and exercised daily (or very close to it). Now that I've regained a size and exercise only 4 or 5 days a week, I haven't been thinking of myself the same way. I guess it's time to change my perspective! - 1/27/2010   2:19:56 PM
    Thanks for all the wonderful comments! It means a lot to have a great network of supporters.
    To anyone else running the Pig: we should organize a SP meetup on Friday night! And to those in the Running Spot group: Say Hi! and introduce yourself next week. (I'll be out of town and will miss Saturday's run.) I'm usually in a light blue jacket. - 1/27/2010   2:18:09 PM
  • 49
    Great, inspiring story! We can all strive for new challenges if we set our minds to it. I, personally, cannot run. No high-impact or step aerobics are in my foreseeable future due to a knee problem. I can't even use a treadmill! However, I can walk a track or outdoors, and there are plenty of other things I can do, too. I'm going to be working through The Spark soon, so I'll see what goals I end up with this year--and I'm looking beyond my weight loss goals, too, to a brighter future in several areas of my life! - 1/27/2010   1:45:29 PM
  • 48
    I hesitated calling myself a runner even though I was running more than I was swimming, which was my primary source of exercise. I think the glory behind running and all the talk of what it means to be a runner can be a little intimidating, so I was reluctant to own up to the title. Finally, I decided that I was a runner and that I would call myself that, and it wasn't based on anything - not others' opinions, distance run that week, pace times, or level of body fat (let's face it - " hard-core runners" are skinnay) - other than my love of running. As you venture more and more into the running world, don't let others take that joy away from you! There are "purists" out there so beware! - 1/27/2010   1:21:25 PM
  • 47
    I am glad for you and all other runners. I am here to stand up for those of us who do not run.

    Sparkers can be healthy without being runners. - 1/27/2010   12:29:22 PM
  • 46
    Thanks for sharing! I also never really considered myself a runner when I first started my journey to lose weight and get fit. But, I gave it chance and now I love it. Two years ago I never would have imagined actually wanting to go running, craving a nice long run after work. My boyfriend and I are planning to run our first half-marathon in Oct. I look forward to reading more of your posts! Thanks again! - 1/27/2010   12:17:29 PM
  • 45
    I spent the first 45 years of my life avoiding running. But now I'm in Week 2 of C25K! My first 5K is on March 27th:D - 1/27/2010   12:13:30 PM
  • 44
    Very inspiring! I'm running my first 5k at the end of February (will probably end up walking some, but I am determined to finish it) and have thought that I might do a half some day... good luck! - 1/27/2010   11:55:51 AM
  • 43
    I have also preferred stationary activities. I was not active as a child as I preferred curling up on my bed and listening to books on tape before I could read, and reading them myself when I could.

    I have been hesitant to sign up for any kind of race because it's really hard for me to see myself as active. I'm too afraid to sign up and then not be able to complete it! But I might just have gotten the inspiration to put myself out there. - 1/27/2010   11:49:48 AM
  • 42
    When I first started spark ( over a year ago), I only did my in house exercises when my husband was out of the house. I did not want him to even know I was lifting some weights and trying to do strength training.

    That has all changed since starting the sparkyourbody bootcamp. I bought myself a stability ball, and have even shown him some of the things I do with it. He isnt making fun of me either, like I though he would.

    I also have taken up jog/walking. Before spark, I figured a 65 yr. old running down the road would just be too much of a hoot for anyone to see. But now I am doing it, and in fact, in talking with some of the neighbors, they think it is great. - 1/27/2010   11:42:06 AM
  • 41
    Go Stepfanie!!! I am training to run my first 5K before I turn 50 this year! When I do that, then and only then will I call myself a runner! It's good to have goals, huh? :) - 1/27/2010   11:18:49 AM
    I will see you at the PIG!! I did my first half last year, and have yet to run the Pig. Congrats on the new challenge!! - 1/27/2010   11:06:24 AM
    You're inspiring! - 1/27/2010   10:49:39 AM
  • 38
    Hi! You have definitely earned the title of Athlete. Sometimes it is hard to give ourselves credit. We wait for others to "title" us. I am a quilter that wants to be remembered as an artist. I work on my creations almost every day. I think that that makes me an artist, although others may not think that. They just say "You make pretty quilts." My goal is also to become an athlete. I have decided that I will call myself that when I can run more than 1 block. You do not have to be paid to be an athlete or an artist. It is your decision. Love your blog! - 1/27/2010   10:36:35 AM
  • 37
    I admire you. I am similiar yet opposite. I too had an adversion to running. But, back in 2004, I picked up the habit and ended up running a 1/2 marathon in 2005. I am proud of this accomplishment. I even have won a couple of 5k and 10k locally for my age group. However, I have gotten away from running and am trying to return to a habit a running more frequently. My life lead me to be a very physical person even though it was never in organized sports. Being a very strong female has lead to me also being inflexible. My sister has lead me to yoga which I enjoy and can see improvements in my shoulder girdle. I just need to practice more consistently.

    Keep on pounding that pavement and enjoy crossing the finish line! - 1/27/2010   10:35:37 AM
  • 36
    Congratulations on your decision to do a half-marathon! I'm also training for my first half marathon in April and am getting excited to run the longer distance. As for calling myself an athlete, I'm not quite there yet... Thank you so much for sharing your story! - 1/27/2010   10:14:47 AM
  • LADYDJ22
    You are an athlete! You have inspired me to face my fear of failing... - 1/27/2010   10:05:41 AM
    I started running at age 50. I was just getting over surgery and decided to take a firm grasp on my life for the better. Now at 64 still running or try to. - 1/27/2010   9:49:53 AM
  • 33
    Getting my black belt. I was just two belts below (single black stripe) when I injured my knee a year ago last November. I had hoped to get my black belt by my 50th birthday. It's apparent I'm not going to make that goal, but I still hope to get it the YEAR I turn 50. But I was away from karate because of the injury for SO long and I'm starting to go back and it's SO disheartening, all that I've lost in terms of flexibility, strength and stamina. I went to class yesterday, and I sucked (no balance, falling out of my kicks, etc.), and I groaned afterwards to my daughter (who already has her black belt) that I just was having a hard time believing I would ever get the belt. I'm coming to reluctantly accept that this knee is permanently impaired. I want the belt--badly; I just don't quite believe I can do it. She told me, with the eternal optimism of the young, that of course I can.

    I'll just keep going to class, I guess, until I convince myself. - 1/27/2010   9:43:24 AM
  • 32
    Thanks for the lift! Good luck on your training. - 1/27/2010   9:37:37 AM
  • 31
    Congrats for signing up for a half, they are so fun! I did my first one last May, did another this past September, and am doing my 3rd in the middle of March.

    I was never, ever a "runner" before 2 years ago, and crossing that finish line for the first time was an overwhelming feeling.

    Good luck with your training, you will do great! - 1/27/2010   9:36:40 AM
  • 30
    Well I guess I may get to meet you tonight!! I'm also training with the same group in Newport but I'm in the slow group. - 1/27/2010   9:31:49 AM
  • 29
    good article..........you go girl.........good luck. I never thought of myself as an athlete but I guess I am. I do cardio 4 to 5 days a week and I do strength training 4 days a week. - 1/27/2010   9:29:16 AM
  • 28
    Very inspiring! - I now want to start training for the Walk for Hunger. - 1/27/2010   9:28:30 AM
    You are an inspiration. I ran my first 5K the year I turned 50 and did a 10 K last year.
    My goal is to run a HM this year but have not had the courage to
    sign up. After reading all the comments I have decided to go for it. - 1/27/2010   9:25:52 AM
  • 26
    Thanks for this blog! I never wanted to run either until I started this healthy journey a little over 2 years ago. I started my exercising by walking slowly & gradually increasing it as time went on. After my walking got faster, I decided I wanted to do a walk/jog combination. I now love doing that; I still don't consider myself a great runner but I do love the combination & will do it as long as I'm physically able!!! - 1/27/2010   9:24:46 AM
  • 25
    Your blog could be me! I can totally relate to your posting. Good luck! - 1/27/2010   9:20:00 AM
  • 24
    I am currently and have always been a "run for my life only" kind of person. I detest it. Years ago I would do a walk/run going around the track. But I don't think I have ever run more than 20 feet at a time. Maybe one day. - 1/27/2010   9:14:44 AM
  • 23
    What a lovely story! I am inspired. Thanks for sharing with all of us. - 1/27/2010   9:14:42 AM
    sounds to me like you were already but it took a while for your heart to catch up. I am so proud of you! I think you became a runner the day you decided to run another race after your first 5K. sounds like somebody has the bug! :) :)

    Woo Hoo! - 1/27/2010   9:06:34 AM
  • 21
    I came across this blog at just the right time!!! I signed up for a half marathon a while ago...It's only 1 month away and ive been thinking CAN I DO IT?! now I know I can!!! It's all in the mindset.
    Congrats to you YOU ARE A RUNNER!(and so am I hehe) - 1/27/2010   9:05:42 AM

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