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Feb 22, 2016

How I Became a Runner


Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger Theresa Walker - BeachBody Coach



I'm a runner, I've been running for almost 5 years. It wasn't always something that came naturally to me; I used to tell people that the two things I hated most were math and running!  That was up until a friend lent me The Beginning Runner's Handbook.   She of course was a runner, but coming from a good friend who knew my struggle and desire to rid myself of some pregnancy weight and get fit; it was fate!  Note: I still hate math.


The plan in the book was easy to follow, it was a basic run/walk routine.  You start at 60 minutes of walking for 3 minutes, running for 1 and repeat, until the 60 minutes are up.  It moved on to walking for 2- running for 2, then walking 1- running 3 etc.  Most days it was 45-60 minutes worth of running/walking.  Similar to Couch to 5K programs, you work your legs and lungs up to running for greater periods of time with less walking.  I liked that it was based on time, not miles.  I was able to work myself up quite quickly surprisingly and ended up editing the plan towards the middle to make it more challenging for me.  I couldn't believe it, I enjoyed running!


Why did I enjoy running?  I enjoyed the challenge, something I never thought I'd be able to do, I was doing.  I enjoyed reaching a new goal, with each mileage increase.  I enjoyed spending the time outdoors in the fresh air, when normally I'd be cooped up.  I enjoyed it for my health, my sanity & the alone time.  My kids were younger at this time- 4 and 1.   The bonus was that I did get fit, I did drop weight and I reached my goals; within 5 months I was running  6 miles at one stretch, no walking.  Another plus, my kids were learning by my example every time I laced up those shoes.
 

After that first year, I was bit by the bug!  I ran a 5K to start, then a 10K, and then I took at leap and singed up for the Detroit Half Marathon.  Each step of the way, I was working towards something that was mine, something I could say *I* accomplished, on my own.  Being a stay at home mom, I didn't have a lot of things that were "just for me".  I didn't have stories or accomplishments to share from a job, as I was home raising my boys.  It gave me something to focus on, something to talk about with others, I felt like I was getting my identity back, although new and improved.



As I mentioned, I was lucky to have a friend who was a runner, and before long I met several other ladies who were runners.  One of them was kind enough to lend me her jogging stroller, which made it possible for me to go for a run with my youngest in those early days.  Finding friends to run with made a HUGE difference in my outlook on running.  All of a sudden, running was even more fun.  They understood my excitement over accomplishments or my frustration if a run was difficult.  Quickly, instead of meeting up with friends for dinner and a movie or drinks, I was getting up early to meet friends for a long run at a local park.  It is so great to have something to do with friends other than sit and eat and drink!  While I enjoy those things too, having friends to be active with solidified my love for fitness.  I don't know if it wasn't for them, would I have set my goals on a full marathon this year.  The memories alone of the runs we have shared I will always cherish, it's a bond.  There were days I wouldn't have finished, if it wasn't for a friend who took my mind off that little voice in my head doubting myself.



To anyone who is considering running as a sport, I recommend the above book, or any similar couch to 5K plan. There are also several running apps you can get on your phone to help monitor your mileage and pace, Nike has a good one.  You don't need to go out and buy a bunch of gear to start.  Give it a couple months and see if you enjoy it, if it's worth investing in.  If so, I'd recommend going to a running store and having them fit you for shoes, not everyone needs the same kind, there's neutral shoes and stability shoes etc.  Shoes are #1.  #2 I'd say it's worth finding a local running group to join, Hanson's running store has one, and there are a lot on Facebook where you can network to find local running buddies.  I like Michigan Runners and Century Club (that one is for long distance runners).  I continue to make new running friends and find support and motivation through those groups vital!  Along with my newly acquired running coach whose experience is helping me train for the Bayshore Full Marathon at the end of May.


You might be wondering why I am sharing this with you.  It's not because running is for everyone, it's not, you may try it and hate it.  It's not because running is a superior sport; because it's not about what you are doing, it's about doing something, whether it be swimming, kick boxing, yoga or tennis.  I'm sharing this with you, because a friend shared with me her love for fitness and running, and inspired me and that helped transform not only my health, but my life!  I'm here to say, if running is something you want to do, you can do it!  I did it.  I went from not being able to run one mile in high school and hating anything that left me sweaty and out of breath, to not being able to live without it.  It's all about motivation and the right training.  More importantly, be it through running or not, if getting healthy is something you want to do, you can do it!  I'm here to say, it might be hard work, but it is worth it.  Your health is worth it.

My goal and hope is that if even I inspire just one person to run, or find an activity that gets them closer to being healthy, I'm be happy.  If that person is you, and this blog has inspired you, please visit my page Inspired Health & Fitness where I will continue to share my journey, including adventurous healthy recipes, quick fitness tips and videos, ideas for busy moms trying to fit in fitness, motivational quotes and many articles on anything health/fitness related.  Feel free to reach out to me as well, I love hearing from readers!  We've all got one life, let's live it to the fullest. This is a quote from the bag I got from a race I ran, I think it sums it up perfectly:

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