Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Running Start...well, kind of

I hear so many of my friends talking about how discouraged they are when they start to workout. Those who don't know me well will sometimes comment on how "lucky" I am that it comes so "easy" for me. Ha!!! Easy. That makes me giggle a little bit. Let me tell you about the first time I decided to try getting back in shape after my 3rd child was born....
     My friend, neighbor, and elite soccer star Annie had also just had a baby. One morning we were sitting around, nursing babies, changing diapers, and sipping our cold coffee and Annie cheerfully announced "We should start running!"
     My eyes bulged out of my head a little bit and I had to put the baby down so I could cough up the 5 hour old coffee I started choking on. I laughed out loud.  Yeah, *SHE* could run.  *SHE* was a runner.  *SHE* was a brilliant and talented soccer star! *I*, on the other hand, was just a flabby and exhausted mom who couldn't run 100 yards if Mike Meyers was chasing me with a knife.  Well, okay, maybe if he was chasing me with a knife, but for no other reason.
      Annie finally convinced me to do it. I did not buy new running shoes or a jogging stroller because I knew I would hate it.  And you know what? I DID hate first. I made it about 100 yards before I was panting and my lungs were on fire. I told Annie I had to stop and walk.  She was so patient and understanding. We continued this way for 3 miles: run a little bit, walk a little bit, run a little, walk a little. Annie carried on the conversation the entire time because I could not speak, run, and breathe at the same time.  Her patience, encouragement, and hilarious conversation carried me through my first runs.
       I decided I did like this running thing a little bit. Well, maybe not the running part, but the part where I got to speak with another adult....alone....without 3 little people hanging off of me. I LOVE my children with all of my heart, but a person needs a little breathing room. Running gifted me that.  Eventually I started buying running shoes, running shorts, jogging bras (more on those in a later post) and eventually I even found a double jogging stroller at a consignment shop for $25!!! I would love to say that I was just able to go right out and run 3 whole miles, but that would be lying.  I set tiny goals for myself: "Today I will just run to the stop sign" or "Today I will just run past 2 fire hydrants". I usually ran further than my goal, but I gave myself permission to walk if I needed to. That first time I ran 3 miles pushing 2 babies in a jogging stroller felt so good!!!! I was so proud of myself, but also so humbled by how much work it was. It took a lot of mind games to talk myself through a run.  I'll share some of those in another post.
     I set a goal for myself to run a 5K that year.  That was it.  I was determined to meet that goal.  Well, because of support from my friends and my husband, I ran a 5 k, a 10k, and a half marathon within 8 months of that very first run with Annie. Because of the support I got from amazing people around me, fitness is now a regular, normal part of my brushing my teeth.
     I encourage you to find that support system. I found it helpful to surround myself with people who were 1) more fit than me so that they could encourage and coach me, 2) people who were just like me and struggling to get fit, and eventually 3) people who are just starting out that I could encourage and feel proud of when they met their goals.
    The people you surround yourself with make a big difference in  your health. I hope you can find those positive people in your life to cheer you've already got me:)


  1. You ran all those in the first 8 months? Wow! I didn't know that. Very cool. I still hate running, but the more I do it the "easier" it becomes. I still hate it LOL! I love your determination!

    1. Thanks Amy! Determination is so much nicer than!

  2. I love your blog! What a great idea, Steph! I trying to get back into running so this will be great motivation for me.

  3. Keep it up, Stephanie!! I've been doing classes at the YMCA diligently and watching other people be committed makes it easier to stay committed:)

  4. i love your blog !!! -tabitha patrick