For the first time in years I stuck to a New Year's resolution; I wanted to start running again and finish a 5k. In the dead of winter I made my way to my local YMCA track three days a week. I downloaded motivating music and used the Couch to 5K app that had been languishing on my smartphone. It took several attempts to get past week four but by June I was able to run for 20 minutes straight and I had completed a 5k with my kids.
Running at 36 is quite different from running when I was 20, or heck, even 28. Back then if I got out the door consistently my body would adjust quickly and I'd be able to run 30-60 minutes in just two months. At 36 it took 6 months of three days a week running to get to 25 minutes of running without walking and I still had to walk part of the two 5k races I participated in.
I'm currently a stay-at-home mom of three school aged kids, so finding the time to run was easier than when I had two and three babies. This school year I would drop the kids at school and run in the mornings at the YMCA on their track since I'm not a treadmill person. Once the weather warmed up I started running outside which was another adjustment from the even ground and stable temperatures of the gym track.
I've encouraged my older children to run with me but most days it’s either too early or too hot for them. Which has given me the bonus of quiet time to myself. I started running this year because I'd had health problems and I knew from my past that when I was exercising regularly, my health was better. I'd hoped that by getting myself moving my health would improve. Along with proper medical I'm happy to report I'm healthier than I've been in 5 years. My husband and doctors are thrilled. I'm pretty happy too.
Running at 36 has other differences from running when I was younger. Joints ache more, I'm slower, the heat effects me more, and I have to maintain hydration and proper eating habits or they impact my runs. Despite these challenges, I'm proud of the goals I've achieved this year. Running over the summer has been challenging in ways I wasn't expecting (hello a month a 90+ degree weather!) but I'm proud I've stuck with it. I can't wait for the cooler days and races of the Michigan fall.