I have a confession to make: I like running.
Not the most earth shattering admission, to be sure, but for me this is mind blowing. You see, for most of my adult life I have had a love/hate relationship with this type of exercise and by that I mean mostly a hate relationship. I have started running many times over the years, only to stop over and over for reasons ranging from tendonitis to a lack of time. I have also invested in countless pairs of specialized shoes, fancy leggings, supportive bras and sweat-wicking socks. Each of these also was a “culprit” for quitting. The shoes just didn’t work with my plantar fasciitis, the leggings were too hot, the socks bunched up and the bras weren’t supportive enough. You get the idea.
So what’s different this time, you ask? I’ve been trying to figure that one out. For starters, this past year I’ve packed on some unwanted pounds without changing much about my diet or lifestyle. I’ve also been feeling sluggish and irritable and definitely not my usual perky self. Added to all this is a general malaise and a desire for more challenge in my life. I definitely want to recapture my energy and enthusiasm. And while there is so much we can’t control, we can definitely control our exercise. So off I went in search of some new physical challenge.
First in my quest was a personal trainer at the YMCA and a program of weight lifting and cardio, along with my regular Pilates regimen. All went well for a couple of months and I really loved how my body was changing and becoming more toned and defined. But one morning I awoke with neck pain so severe I could not move my head. This continued for a couple of months and even with a lighter weight load, the pain and stiffness persisted. So I stopped the weight training.
I have several friends who are runners and I began quizzing them on why they like it and how they train. One friend calls running an “efficient” form of exercise. She can accomplish some high level problem solving and planning while she runs. Another runs so she can enjoy a foodie lifestyle with her husband. Another just likes to sweat. My weight trainer is also a runner and she didn’t start until after she turned 40. She was my best cheerleader and encouraged me to just get out there and set small goals.
Once again, I invested in some great shoes, fancy leggings and a supportive bra and, joined by my new puppy Bentley, off I started. The area around my house is very hilly and not much fun so after several weeks of hell, I headed to the local greenway, a flat nature trail that goes for miles. The first day I decided to just run without tracking my speed or distance. And I’m not going to lie, for the first 20 minutes or so I kept thinking of excuses to stop. But I focused my gaze on the road ahead and kept going, Bentley at my side. I’m not sure how far I ran that day before turning around and walking the last bit, but when I finished I felt great! It was still hot and humid, but the feeling of accomplishment, of pushing myself to my limit, was exhilarating!
I’m now a couple of months into this running experiment and I have been tracking my speed and distance. I’ve worked up to running 5 miles at a fairly good clip. I’ve participated in two races, a 5K where I had my personal best time and a 5-mile where I ran and walked with my daughter. I’ve lost weight, I sleep more soundly, I have found my energy and I feel like myself again. I still spend the first mile or so thinking up reasons to stop, but so far I have been successful in keeping my gaze fixed on the road ahead, setting small goals to stay motivated and finishing what I started. Efficient, challenging, good cardio; Sounds like life.
I really like running!
Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.
Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.
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