It has officially been about 11 years now since I laced up my first pair of running shoes and hit the pavement for the very first time. Although that experience was one of the worst times that I can remember in all of my 40 years, what I didn't know at the time was that it was going to turn into my life, the very air I breathe and some days, my reason for going on.
I will never forget the reason that I got started with running. My older sister, who had always been active in some sort of sporting event, extending way back from elementary school, gave me a tip one day that instead of not allowing myself to eat the things that I wanted, that I should try running.
The very idea of working out scared me to death. I had never tried anything like it before. I mean I was almost five foot, eight inches tall and weighed less than 120, but in order to keep that figure, I had to monitor every single thing that passed through my lips. I would be the one at the family partys that would sit in the corner and think horrible thoughts as my entire family stood around the snack table filling their mouths with delicious bites of cheese and crackers and dip. I wanted so desperately to be able to snack like they did instead of living the skinny life and only allowing myself a certain amount of calories per day.
Well one afternoon I decided to take my sister's advice and I got out an old pair of sneakers, put on a T-shirt and shorts, grabbed my little iPod and headed to the street. I was pretty pumped to try this activity that so many people talked about. My visions of my long legs extending out in front of me with each step were quickly subsided with me stumbling and panting and twisting my ankles in the dozens of spring pot holes that I had not noticed in my vehicle and were suddenly everywhere I looked. In fact my run got so hard and ugly at one point that I had to stop because my legs were beginning to go numb from the knee area down.
By the time I had my driveway in sight, I was completely convinced that I was going to expire as soon as I entered my property. My face was beat red, I was sweating something fierce and now my legs were numb all the way down. Why on earth would I EVER want to do this again?
The next morning was even worse. I was the most sore then I have ever been in my life including the two times that my body had endured major surgery. I called my sister and asked why on earth she would suggest such a horrible activity for me to try, and she said, just wait. She informed me that running was addicting and I just needed to slowly get into shape and would soon love it.
Now here I am, thousands of miles and worn out shoes later, and I am the biggest running addict that I know. If this proves anything to you, last summer when we had a power outage, most families were worried about hooking up generaters to their refrigerators, while I was in tears over the fact that I was not going to be able to hop on my treadmill for my daily fix. I have participated in countless 5 and 10k's, several 1/2 marathons and even a full marathon.
Although my relationship with running is still a love/hate encounter, I do have to say that I now enjoy the fact that I can eat pretty much whatever I want and running has become my stress reliever. I know that this type of working out is not for everyone, but I have found my niche. I have come a long way from that horrible day where my first mile-long jaunt almost killed me. I now average over 100 miles a week.
I think that everyone that is searching for their little niche to help make them feel stronger to try running. Even if you can only begin with 1/2 mile of running and then 1/2 mile of walking, anything is a start. Every step makes you stronger and NO one can take that feeling away from you.
My other piece of advice is that you may not want to run quite as much as me. I have opted to only using a treadmill now, to help my joints. I have killed two of them so far and by the sounds of it, my third treadmill is not far behind. I will probably end up in a wheel chair before too long, but for now I am a lot happier, healthier and stronger woman because of it. I can out eat most men and although I'm not skinny like I used to be, I'm still lean looking and feel great!
Run on my friends!