Yesterday, I put on my running shoes, put my hair in a ponytail, and went for a run. It was the first time I've ever done so of my own free will (i.e., not as an angsty teenager in gym class). I finally felt like I was healthy enough and in good enough shape to start working towards something I've always wanted - to be able to run long distances comfortably. Oddly enough, I've always wished I could jog, but I've always felt like I was too out of shape to try it without alarming other pedestrians.
Yesterday was a great start. I ran 1.5 km (just under a mile) in 10 minutes, constantly, without needing to stop to walk. I got a little bit of a stitch in my side partway through, but because I've learned a lot about cardiovascular fitness on SparkPeople, I took that as a reminder to breathe more deeply and evenly, and it went away pretty much immediately. I was tired when I got home, but the pride I had in managing to run the whole way on my first time out made me feel amazing. It's another one of those achievements that reminds me that I'm constantly making progress in this weight-loss journey.
So now I feel like I can call myself a "runner" - being able to run for ten minutes straight is a fabulous first day. I have a schedule I've worked up to run 3 days a week with rest days in between so I don't over-exert myself. It seems to be my cardiovascular endurance that will hold me back - my legs weren't experiencing muscle fatigue at the end, but my breathing was not going to let me hold out much longer. Because of that, I'm going to focus on running the same distance at the same speed for now, until my endurance builds up enough that I can push my legs to run farther without getting extremely short of breath. I know the main mistake rookie runners make is running too fast, too early and getting injured and/or burnt out. I don't want to make that mistake, so I'm sticking to the plan. Once I'm comfortable running this distance, maybe I'll think about using the SparkPeople Spark Your Way to a 5K ( www.sparkpeople.com/reso
) to build up to running the loop I measured in my neighbourhood that is almost exactly 5 km long. Once I can comfortably run two miles, then I might use the Spark Your Way to a 10K ( www.sparkpeople.c
) just to build up endurance, but it's going to be a while before I'm there. It is exciting to see that I could actually jump into the 5K jogging program, though, since I can easily run half a mile as of right now!
I honestly never thought this was possible - but now it seems so straightforward and doable. A lot of people who notice my weight loss (because it's noticeable now!) make comments about how "hard" it is to lose weight. I know they're just admiring my achievements, but I really don't feel like it's "hard" at all - it's just about paying attention to eating and making time to exercise. I still get to eat the chocolate cupcakes I baked on the weekend. I still get to eat meals I love. I still get to go out for dinner with my fiancé - wait, did I not mention this yet?
I suppose I also haven't blogged anything about my other life-altering event this month - I got engaged! So I'm getting married - probably in the winter. After losing 1/3 of the weight I want to lose up to this point, my wedding should be incentive to continue to lose the rest on schedule. But it's nice to have started this journey before the ring ever appeared, because I know I'm doing it for me - not for a dress, not for a wedding, not for the photos or the guests; for ME. I'm hoping to lose all the weight in time, since my goal was always the end of this year anyway, but if I don't, I know I will afterwards - no last-minute I-must-lose-20-pounds crash diets for me! I'll be happy with what I've achieved at that point, since I know I will have worked hard for every pound lost. At the same time, I'm so glad that I am changing my life now so that I'll always know I went into getting married feeling confident and proud of my achievements. My fiancé is very supportive, too, which is a plus - he's been my rock, especially during the initial ups and downs of this lifestyle change. So I certainly think I've made a good choice in him!
Anyway, I was saying that I don't find weight loss "hard", like people seem to say. I'm just a more athletic (never thought I'd describe myself that way!), more confident, and more accomplished me. I still eat the foods I love. I still have fun doing the sedentary things I like to do (knit, play video games, read, etc.) - but I also do some active things. I'm just achieving goals at the same time - like becoming a runner!