Monday, September 26, 2011
Okay...I've been at this walking thing a while now. Ever since my father died (double whammy...stroke then cancer...) I've made it my goal to combine my fitness goals (which felt selfish to me although they really aren't) with some kind of service to memorialize my Dad. So I started walking...for a cause.
First, my husband suggested I do something small. I signed up for Cancer Relay For Life and raised funds in Dad's memory and figured I would walk a couple of hours as part of a team. But something happened that night that did something to me...I felt like I was doing something powerful...and I thought about the times my Dad walked for miles and miles...just because. I ended up walking all night long...they finally stopped me at 5:45 a.m...I had walked for about 11.5 hours total (with a few potty breaks, stretch breaks and a yogurt feast at midnight!) and knowing that my body could do that affected me greatly!
You see...just to walk to the mailbox a few years ago was a major thing for me. I was 267 lbs. of heart attack/stroke waiting to happen who was suffering from clinical depression and more issues that I won't bother you with. Every morning, I woke up and the first few steps of the day were extremely painful as my weight had damaged the tendons in my feet. I also had no hope of ever losing the weight as genetically...as my doctor put it...I was "disinclined" to be able to get it off and KEEP it off. When I heard that...I took it for a dare!
And not only did I show him...I showed everyone! I ended up losing 120 lbs. I also decided to beat the stinkin' statistics as part of my life goal as well and have kept the weight off now for over 5 years.
So I went from that event (Relay For Life) feeling somewhat like a hero (my husband made sure of it)! Then my husband dropped a major bomb in my lap. A challenge...he suggested I should sign up to do 60 miles for Susan G. Komen!
I did...the fundraising was as hard or harder than the training. I worried constantly about being able to raise the funds...sold everything I could get my hands on and walked...and walked...and walked like nobody's business. I know many do this event and ride the bus but as a memorial to my Dad...I wasn't going to get on the bus unless I was injured so the training was vitally important to me. But I raised the funds and walked 20 miles a day for 3 days straight. I felt like I had just climbed the highest mountain...I suffered injuries from my walk (as I power-walked 52 of those miles...being injured in both legs the last day slowed me down for the last 8 miles) but I did it and felt like a hero again (yup...hubby is good at that!)
Then I thought what is left? I felt like I needed to challenge myself to something higher! I didn't know what to do until I realized that there are many organizations needing funds...why not challenge myself to do more than 1 or 2. So I told myself that I would do 5 events this year for my Dad...and sweetened the deal a bit by daring myself to actually RUN (gasp!) at least one mile as I had not run since I was a teenager! This past Saturday I was scheduled to do Heroes For Children in the 1 mile and 5K and this time I was doing it as a prayer for my nephew who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. This would be my 5th event and I completed it with icing on top...as I ran the whole thing and surprised myself!
When I crossed the finish line, I felt like a hero again It didn't matter how fast...what mattered was how much FUN this really was...how much I was personally pushing myself...how much money was raised for children who are victims of cancer...and how all of us was working together on a common goal while working towards a more personal goal at the same time. It was a "team" thing even though I wasn't on a team. I realized my doing this was doing something "bigger than myself". So another milestone was reached and it feel good.
I ran slow compared to some but I'm thrilled with my 11 minute miles (finished the 5K in about 34 minutes) and I ranked 12th in my age and gender division. Not to bad for a 47 year old that weighed 267 or more pounds a few years ago! What was really cool was meeting a couple of Sparkers there in their tie-dyed shirts! That was nothing short of AWESOME in and of itself! I felt like I was among friends! So reaching a milestone...meeting new folks...and hey...I even did the chicken dance with the David Chicken Band! I couldn't get my children to join me in the chicken thingy but they told me later they were proud of me and they can't wait for the NEXT event! So I guess I have another milestone/goal to set...and reach!