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How I Found My Inner Jock

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eleven mile run – done! Or more precisely an eleven mile run-walk-run. I loved it. I ended up feeling great and knowing that I could run more and run faster. And I soon will. Looking forward to it. How did I go from living a sedentary existence to where I am today?

As a kid I remember being chosen last every time. I was embarrassed to run for fear kids would see my fat jiggle. My 5th grade teacher recommended dancing lessons to help awkwardness, not knowing I’d already had three years. I remember my 7th grade coach calling me a “motor moron.” How did I ever find my inner jock?

In 1998 when I hit my top weight of 212 pounds, I had not exercised for more than a decade. Before that a couple times I had started an exercise program at a gym or on my own, but that was just it. I started. Inevitably I overdid it, was so sore I could hardly walk, and would give up. I thought it was just way too hard.

In 1998 I joined Curves. That was the first time I ever exercised fairly regularly. It wasn't too hard and I didn't get sore. I lost 60 pounds, but really did not see any muscle definition nor notice any improvement in my cardio. I did not enjoy the workouts, but endured them in order to lose weight. After I hit my weight goal, I quit. I tried Curves again in 2004-2006, and was really dedicated to getting my workouts in for the first time. It became easier and easier. I used a weighted hula hoop on the “recovery stations” and started really having fun during my workouts.

I changed jobs and Curves wasn’t convenient any more. I walked regularly three days a week for 30 minutes. Pretty soon it was four days a week and then five. Usually I was a little more consistent in the summer than in the winter when it was dark when I got home from work. Then I got a treadmill and consistently walked year round.

For Christmas I got a great present, a Walk Away the Pounds DVD. I loved the indoor walking program and mixing it up with my outdoor walks and my treadmill walks. I stuck to my 5 times a week cardio schedule for several years, but my weight was creeping back up. In 2008 I rejoined Weight Watchers, having regained 25 pounds. I lost the 25 with my 5 days a week exercise routine. I was at the top of the healthy BMI range, but I wanted to make sure I kept it off this time.

That was when I found SparkPeople. I read that exercise was crucial to maintenance. I increased my cardio to 6 days a week, one hour per day. I consistently did a SparkPeople-generated strength training program, too. I added the minimum maintenance food, and was surprised when I continued to lose weight slowly for more than a year.

After four months of SP strength training I was confident enough to join a gym. At our local YMCA I found people at all fitness levels and wish I’d joined earlier. I tried a lot of different exercises – weight machines, pilates, step aerobics, stationary bike, swimming, etc. Zumba became one of my favorites and I found I really enjoyed 70 minutes on the elliptical trainer. My new MP3 player also helped jazz up my workouts.

In January 2011 at the age of 61, a poster caught my eye, “5K Road Race for People Over 50.” I wondered if I could run 3.1 miles. I jumped on the treadmill and did it without much problem. I entered the race and placed third in my age group. It was only the 12th time I had ever run and the third time I had ever run that far. I thought maybe I should start training for real! In the following year I ran six 5Ks and one 10K. Now I’m training for my first half marathon on November 18th.

If you just read the previous paragraph you might think it was foolishly impetuous of me to start running so late in life, but taken in context, the opposite is true. I found my inner jock by taking slow consistent steps over years and gradually increasing the intensity and length of my workouts.

I’ve learned if I dread a workout, I need to slow down. It doesn’t need to hurt to be beneficial; in fact, you should end up feeling great. I do!!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
GRAMPIAN 9/16/2012 5:05AM

  You've done so wel emoticon l!

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AKELAZ 9/16/2012 4:30AM

    SO happy to read this blog - and grateful to Caz for pointing me in this direction. I struggle all the time to exercise regularly and doubt very much that at my great age I'll ever be much of a runner but you are - as Caz says - truly inspirational and I certainly feel motivated to start doing more than I rather grudgingly do right now. I would like to feel that if I persevere I'll come to enjoy it. Certainly going to give it a go now, thanks to you.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/16/2012 4:30:37 AM

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_LINDA 9/16/2012 1:56AM

    Your journey has been nothing short of amazing!! So glad you found the REAL you!
You have proved age is just a number, and you can get fit & healthy at ANY age!
Keep on Running!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon m

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HILLRUNNER 9/16/2012 1:30AM

    I found my inner jock late in life too.....isn't it great!!
You've done amaziing and keep enjoying life!! and those runs!

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ARTJAC 9/16/2012 1:16AM


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BRAVEONE92 9/15/2012 11:40PM

    Congratulations for all the hard work you've done!
Caz gave me your link, and I really appreciate that
she did. I really enjoyed reading your success story. emoticon

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MOTIVEDME 9/15/2012 10:57PM

    I'm Really Impressed with your blog. we have some similarities i've been workingout at curves for almost a year soon. 3 times a week. and i have the walk the pounds dvd's also. great job k emoticon eep up the good work.

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AQUAGIRL08 9/15/2012 10:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIRAGE727 9/15/2012 10:03PM

I'm with ya, Marsha. Nov, 2010, my first 5K and I was 60! Stay strong and keep rockin'!

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WATERMELLEN 9/15/2012 8:47PM

    Inner jock . . . outer results that show every minute of every day!! Yay you!!

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MEXGAL1 9/15/2012 8:31PM

    I am so impressed and inpired. Glad you found the jock side of you!
Have a terrific Sunday.

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DEE107 9/15/2012 8:04PM

    thank you and what a great journey you are on woo hoo

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CMFARRELL36 9/15/2012 6:23PM

    Thanks for sharing. Caz gave me the link, bless her! I am so glad she did.

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DFROMTX 9/15/2012 6:23PM

    CAZ sent me to your blog....what you have done is remarkable! You should be very proud!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUDY1676 9/15/2012 6:18PM

    Wow! What an inspiring blog! Caz sent me the link to your blog and I'm glad she did!

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PATRICIAANN46 9/15/2012 5:41PM

  What a great blog. You are a wonderful inspiration to those of us over 60!!! emoticon

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CATLADY52 9/15/2012 5:04PM

    Caz linked me over...and I'm really happy I read your blog. emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 9/15/2012 4:04PM

    Very much an inspiration as I am just getting over a serious long bout of sciatica. I know I could and should have been doing upper body on the days I was able to move. I also am on so much meds and that upset me as I gained. I had just gotten below 180 for the first time in decades and then bang back to 189 argh.

So thanks for making me realize again that I can do this, I may not run but can do other stuff. I need new knees before I start my running carreer! LOL
HUGS and way to go.

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ESILBO 9/15/2012 3:59PM

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon LISE

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SHERYLDS 9/15/2012 3:44PM

    fantastic ... thanks for the inspiration.

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MANDELOVICH 9/15/2012 3:34PM

    Your journey is amazing and so inspirational!
Today I went on a 6 mile run and felt so lucky to have the strength, stamina, time, beautiful location, and desire to do it!

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JOYINKY 9/15/2012 3:07PM

    A wonderful job sharing your remarkable, inspiring journey Marsha! I totally agree it's never too late; and we're not done yet! Proud to be your friend!

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AGK3112 9/15/2012 2:45PM


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WILLOWBROOK5 9/15/2012 1:35PM

    Inspiring! Thanks!!!

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DEBBIEDAY 9/15/2012 1:06PM


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RONNIEHUEY 9/15/2012 1:03PM

    Amazing blog

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GABY1948 9/15/2012 1:01PM

    CAZ sent me here....and I am so glad she did. I absolutely agree with ARE and inspiration! emoticon emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/15/2012 1:00PM

    WOW, you are amazing!

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MZZCHIEF 9/15/2012 12:58PM

    Good for you!
Kudos on a job well done... here's to further success...

: )

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SPEEDY143 9/15/2012 12:52PM

    emoticon emoticon on your progress over the years emoticon You never gave up and found your passion emoticon for sharing emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon The 60's ROCK emoticon in more ways than one emoticon

emoticon Linda

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/15/2012 12:52PM

    emoticon What a great story line... and it has echoes of mine. I, too, was not a jock in school... although I did try, nobody had much faith in me.

I don't have the greatest hand-eye coordination, so things like tennis, softball, even basketball (that I love, but I'm 5'3" and not the greatest ball handler)... I was not the prime desired team-mate!

BUT, I still love to move. Swimming, biking, and walking/running... the three triathlon sports... are perfect for a solo act, competing only against herself and the clock!

I started running in 1991, ran for two seasons, and quit doing formal races at that point. Next time I wore a bib was in 2010! One advantage those of us who started running later in life have? No earlier sports injuries to have to work around... and we haven't worn our joints and muscles out with repetitive strain! We still have gas in our tanks!

And we are discovering joys we never knew as kids. Onward to November! We are going to have a GREAT experience! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DONNABRIGHT 9/15/2012 12:51PM


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NATPLUMMER 9/15/2012 12:31PM


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IDLETYME 9/15/2012 12:27PM

    This is a wonderful blog. As we get older (and creakier) we think we can't do anything. When I joined Spark is didn't do any exercise. Now, I do a lot with DVDs. I don't drive anymore and have no YWCA or gym close. I ride my stationary bike and have been doing Zumba.

Marsha, thank you for sharing your story. You started, stopped and started again, doing exercises that you liked. Running all of those races is wonderful.
So many people try an exercise, don't enjoy it and quit. There are so many things that you can try. Don't give up! (My Zumba is not pretty but I like it!)
Thank you for sharing your story!!! emoticon Nancy

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GERIKRAGH 9/15/2012 12:14PM

    Great job. It gives me--over 60--encouragement to keep going.

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IAMAGEMLOVER 9/15/2012 12:13PM

    emoticon It is great you found something you enjoy.

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NEW-CAZ 9/15/2012 11:57AM

    Marsha! I've said it before and I'll say it again, YOU lady are an inspiration.
It's never too late to take care of ourselves, if anything it's more important the older we get to keep active and you've found something you enjoy to keep you enthused. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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