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Journey to My First 5k

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I was never the kid who liked to run. Actually, my stomach would turn in knots when spring came around bringing track season with it. I dreaded the week I knew we would run the mile and stayed up at night just thinking about how much I hated it. Funny part of all this is that I was not overweight as a child and was actually was very athletic. I adored soccer and football and would ride my bike or skate for hours. Make me run one measly mile and my life was truly ending.

Flash forward to my thirties where I have gained weight but maintained my love of physical activity. I hated not being able to do the things I love with the gusto I was accustomed to. My Roqui brother would suggest running since he was a recent transplant into the world of runners. I would roll my eyes and shake my head. I would never be one of those people. Those people are skinny and in great shape. Those people were not me, or so I thought.

I began eating more healthy and doing my yoga and pilates. My husband, daughter and I even joined a martial arts studio which, unfortunately, turned out to be less than adequate. However, the owner was a jerk who insulted everything wonderful I had been doing which gave me the motivation to prove him wrong. I had started doing jumping jacks, jump rope and running in place at his gym, and most of the trainers had complimented my flexibility and strength. I figured if I could do that and not die, or vomit, then maybe I could be one of those runners.

I looked into running plans for fat gals but didn't find too many. I found great blogs here and there that seemed wonderful but had been deserted. While somewhat disheartening, it was still possible that someone was doing it. I found the couch potato to 5K system and began with that. For the most part, it got me motivated, but really didn't seem to take extra weight into consideration. Some may disagree, but I see it as a great plan for those who are not overweight but who may not be in shape. Still, it was a good starting place.

I decided to research and come up with an individualized plan. As a former special educator and counselor, that's what I did for clients. It would be the perfect system based on my skills, abilities and time restraints.

I don't want this to sound like it was a quick and easy solution. Through trial and error this has taken me over four years to really solidify this plan. After losing about 10 pounds I decided running would be the catalyst for the change I needed to spark my metabolism. Unfortunately, I decided to run a 5K which required most of the training in the ARIZONA.

So, through 110 degree days and evenings barely dipping below 100 degrees, I have come to the end of my training, for this race at least. My first 5K is on Sunday. I will be completing the Race for the Cure 5K in downtown Phoenix. Luckily, my Roqui brother will be running with me for support. I had been spending much time figuring out how ridiculously slow my finish time will be. I was focusing on the negative instead of looking at the positive change I had made in just about five months. I am also now running while dealing with a case of shingles and it's okay.

I have met amazing runners through message boards and from my friends and family who run. I've learned it's not about your finish time, it's about doing it. It's about the pride in crossing the finish line. This isn't something every one will do in their lifetime, but it's something I can say I did. I'm already looking for the next level of race after a get a few more 5Ks under my belt.

So, the girl who stayed up nights worrying about running a mile is now getting ready to purposely run three miles on Sunday weighing a hell of a lot more than I did back then. My daughter called me "a runner" and there is no way I can explain the pride I feel in knowing I can be a healthy role model regardless of my weight. It's all about making changes that will stick with you and start a snowball effect that will reach others around you.

Take the step toward change and never doubt the possibilities. Had I stayed in the stagnate thinking about my physical abilities I never would have learned that I actually am a runner.
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