Doing the Impossible, My 1 year Sparkaversary, and Running a 5K

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." St Francis of Assisi

When I saw this quote a few months ago I knew that I had to make it my mantra & inspiration when struggles and setbacks occur in my new way of life. It all started on 08/30/10 when on vacation with my cousin, who had dragged her scale along because she was in a SP biggest loser competition & didn't want to let her team down while away. I watched over that week as she tracked all of her food, tried working exercise into our day and I asked a lot of questions. At the time I was 48 1/2 yrs old, had reached my highest weight of 335, my legs were swollen from travelling, my plantar fascitis made my feet ache, I was tired all the time and blamed it on working night shift, and I had trouble catching my breath going up one flight of stairs and sometimes just laying flat and that was scaring me. I made up my mind on that trip and decided that I was ready for a change and that I wanted to feel better in my 50's than I did in my 40's!

When I returned home I joined SP and made a lifestyle change using baby steps. Don't get me wrong, I had dieted before and I am good at it, over the years I have easily lost (and gained back) over1,000 lbs. This time feels different as I started working the plan into my daily life, not totally eliminating any foods but worked on portion control, making better choices, & being accountable for every bite eaten. I still find that tracking food, water and exercise is one of the keys to success!

First I changed my diet and started to move just a little more, I found and joined some great SP teams and made friends along the way. Signing up for teams and challenges helped keep me accountable and challenged. I also knew that support and encouragement was only a keystroke away.

Since my feet hurt I started exercising using a recumbant bike. Wtarting out I was winded in less than 5 minutes but gradually was able to increase my endurance. After losing about 70 lbs I started the SP Beginning Walking program, that was in March and had bought a treadmill by then as our winters are generally harsh. Then I heard several in-laws, nieces and nephews talking about how much they were enjoying the Couch to 5K (C25K) running program and participating in 5K runs. I just knew that I would enjoy that too giving me goals to work forto keep me motivated to keep exercising.

So in April I started the C25K program and the first day I felt great but on my last running interval shut my eyes trying to finish strong and flew off the back of the treadmill. Before SP that would have been enough of a setback to have me giving up but instead I signed up for a Virtual 5K on SP giving me a specific goal to work for. A week later, after the soreness was gone, I redid Week 1 Day 1 and started on my C25K journey! Around this time I also joined a Biggest Loser Challenge and a few beginning running teams and found wonderful support with great team mates! I figured as I was still >250 lbs I would have to repeat weeks, or workouts but was pleasantly surprised that although running WAS hard it WAS possible and I was able to follow the program as written.

In week 5 of the program my DH (Ron) was going to a conference in Boston for his work and I was able to go with him. I signed up for a running tourof the Freedom Trail (definite lifestyle change here). I found this was a little above myh ability at the time but with the help of a few of the seasoned runners I was able to complete the 3 mile tour and I was hooked on running! I overdid a little on that run and had to take 10 days off for knee soreness, but again was able to pick up where I left off which was the 20 min jog without a walking break and I DID IT! I was ecstatic!

In June I ran/walked my 1st 5K and met my secret goal of completing it in under 45 min, and I felt great. Then the very next week (W8D2 in C25K) on my 28 min run I felt hip pain when I hit 25 min but was able to finish the run. Was feeling fine 2 days later but my run ended after only 12 min with severe hip pain. I was able to walk with no problem, I just couldn't run. I was really worried that this would finish my running career before it barely had begun. When to see the Doctor - x-rays fine but also sent me to Physical Therapy. Within 2 sessions it became apparent that I had IT Band Syndrome (tendonitis) and I started learning how to better stretch and strengthen (I now spend quality time with a foam roller and stretching after running). I couldn't believe how much I missed running during the 6 wks that I was not allowed to run (walking and biking only).

Then at the beginning of August I was able to start running again only 5 min at first on a treadmill at 0 incline - no pain but I was really winded! By the next appointment though my breath was coming easier, was able to increase to 8 min, then 10 and finally 20 min with no walking breaks and I was released from PT. To celebrate I ran/walked a 5K on that Saturday (Aug 20) and actually took a minute off my previous personal record after only 3 weeks since restarting any running at all.

This last Sat. (Aug 27) just days before my 1 year Sparkaversary I ran with NO walking a complete 5K! Again, elated! I now have a goal to do a half-marathon in October of 2012 and I know now that anyting is possible!

Who would have thought that 1 year ago at 335 lbs that today I would be over 100 lbs lighterand running (well jogging actually) a 5K! It amazes me what a year can bring and I have already reached the goal of feeling better and I haven't even hit 50 yet (not until Dec)!The best is still to come! I'm sorry that I couldn't add pics as I am not on my home computer, but feel free to visit my Spark Page to see Pics!

I am so appreciative of the SP friends I've made along the way and to team members that have been so free with praise, support and encouragement. A special Thanks to Alice for making me realize that even though I'm not really comfortable with sharing my thoughts and feelings that this blog is long overdue and needed to be written with the hope that it will encourage others the way I have been encouraged.

Will leave with another fav quote from John "The Penguin" Bingham: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

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