Could I be becoming “fitfluential?” I see that cute little pink and black logo streaming across my twitter feed all the time, and I see all these athletic, healthy people hashtaging it up as #FitFluential ambassadors. I always thought to myself, yeah right, I will never be fitfluential to anyone!
But my mom often reminds me of the things I said I would never do, and how every day I amaze her because I end up doing them. Back in the day (that would be like my entire life up until December 2011!), I fought tooth and nail against the idea of walking. It seemed so boring to me. I used to dance, for the love! When I realized that I had to fit some sort of activity into my life, and I was incredibly out of shape and couldn’t hardly dance anymore, I started doing Wii Fit. I found I only like a certain set activities, and I even hurt myself doing that! I decided that I would just make myself walk. I have a treadmill, but found that I was so bored and so aware of how slow the time was going by that I couldn’t stand it. Fortunately, the winter was mild enough that I started walking outside. I found myself actually enjoying it sometimes. (I say sometimes because even now there are days that I really just don’t want to be doing it!) It was sort of my time to meditate… and think… and notice nature… and the world around me. Even stranger since I am not an outdoorsy person, but now I love to walk outside!
So I started small, like 20 to 30 minutes. And I said I will never walk an hour a day! I mean, that just sounded even more crazy and time consuming. I found myself often saying, well, why don’t I just do one more lap. I was almost enjoying challenging myself to do more. (gasp!) Well, I currently walk 52 minutes to 1 hour and 7 minutes about 5-7 times a week. (I know strange exact time frames, huh? Those are the current minimum times I need to get 4 or 5 Activity Points in the Weight Watchers tracker. As my weight goes down, my time has to increase!) And there have been some days that I have even done and hour and a half. And on days where I know I am going to a festival or something where I will be walking a lot, I still try to walk before I go to try to get in 20,000 steps for the day. So, so much for that never walking thing!
I also recall another moment when I first told a friend that I was focusing on getting healthy this year, and she asked if I wanted to sign up for a race with her. I thought she was crazy! I told her that running was not my thing! And really at the time, I could barely get a walk in! But somewhere along the line, I was forced to get on my treadmill to walk again (it does rain from time to time!), and I was so bored, so I thought I would try to run. I remember the first time that I ran for 2 minutes in a row on about 3.9MPH and I was so proud of myself. Yep, before that, I could barely run for a minute without dying. I think I ended up running for a total of 10 minutes in 1 minute spurts out of the whole walk, but I did it. A few times I even added a little bit of running to my outdoor walk, but only a little bit. It even prompted my reasons I don’t workout at the gym post because even though I was running for only a few minutes at a time, I was grunting and sweating profusely and it wasn’t pretty. And then I sort of got into the groove with walking these longer walks outside, and being outside in front of others I couldn’t grunt!, and with a streak of some amazing weather, the running went away for a while.
About a month ago, I found myself on that treadmill again, and needed to get in as much as I could in a short amount of time. Not to mention, that I was bored again, and I find that when I do intervals or run, it seems to go faster, giving me short little goals. So there I was running again, and I pulled out 10 straight minutes at 4.3 MPH because I just kept saying just do one more minute because I wasn’t dying yet. I could not believe how much better shape I was in! I ran longer and faster than ever before! But not only did I pull out those minutes, I pulled a hip muscle! I tried to run again the next day, but after a few minutes, it got so bad I could hardly walk. Turns out it’s a muscle (the Tensor Fascia Latae) that a lot of runners have problems with, so again, I went back to walking. This little bad boy is still sore to this day, even with the walking, and from what I read, that is pretty much how it goes for a lot of people, so I’ve sort of just gotten used to it. I do a lot of stretching, I try to remember to do hip exercises to strengthen it, I ice it, and I deal with it.
So last Friday, I found myself on the treadmill again, and I did a 12 minute run back at 3.9MPH as to not aggravate this muscle. I probably could have done more, but I ran out of time because I had just done yet another thing I said I would never do. I got up early to exercise before work! Yep, I am decidedly NOT a morning person, but I had plans that evening and felt I should give working out before work a try. Did I mention that I was even 21 minutes early to work that day too!?! Now, don’t get me wrong, I am still a night owl, so this morning workout will not become a regular routine, but I know I can (and will!) do it when I have after work plans!
So then yesterday was just an ordinary Monday, when I happened to catch a tweet from @FabFitFun, of Giuliana Rancic’s Fab Fit Fun daily email, about a Bikini Body Challenge. I got to thinking, wow, it is June already, and I said I wanted to actually go to my pool this summer, and here it is, but I am not bikini ready yet! Ok, and really, it was more the lure of winning cool prizes for tweeting things, but the side benefit of possibly getting a bikini body too was a nice thought! It must have been fate because fortunately, it was the first day of the challenge! And the challenge was to Run in the Sun! I was supposed to commit to doing cardio 3 to 5 days a week, which I already do, and to tweet a pic of myself getting ready for my run. I thought, well, I am going to walk in the sun, so no problem! But then I thought, well, why don’t I actually try to run? So I did. And it was like my little mini-Forrest Gump moment…I just kept running (just not as far as he did)!
I started out with the plan that I would run every other song. I did a few minutes walking as a warm up, and then hit my first run song, but when the song ended, I thought well that was short, I’ll just keep running. I totally amazed myself in that for the first time ever I ran most of my walk. I estimated that I walked about 10 minutes of the whole 43 minutes I was out there. I even ran by other runners, and I thought, look at me, I am one of them now! I am so proud of myself! I ran 3.23 miles in 43:43 minutes with an average pace of 13:32 min/mi.
So, I have been pondering the idea of doing the Couch to 5K in the back of my head for some time. (Yeah, and remember I said I’d never do a race?!) But after yesterday’s amazing feat, I have decided that I will do one!
And then I thought about it, a 5K is 3.1 miles. Umm, yeah, I actually did a 5K yesterday! I may not have ran the whole thing or ran particularly fast (ok, I jogged!), but I ran most of it! So, really, I guess the C25K is sort of out the window! Well, since I walked some, I’d say I am in week 8 of C25K, at least. So I think my plan is to attempt to spend the rest of the week on that plan (a 5 minute warm up, and try to run 2.75 miles straight 3 days a week). Runners, does this sound like a good plan? I’m guessing I shouldn’t run every day being new to it and all and especially since I have this hip muscle issue going on.
The thing is, I don’t plan to do the actual 5K until November! I know, that’s a ways off. I know there are a gazillion more races in Atlanta before then, but this is special to me. I have been “participating” in the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Race for Research for the last 4 years in honor of two mothers of my very dear friends, who suffer from this incurable blood cancer, one of which passed away this year. We have raised a respectable amount of money every year through very generous donations, and through a fundraiser I organized for the last three years. But at the actual race, I walked the “fun run” 1-mile the first year, I volunteered to pass out water to runners the second year (and really, they didn’t have anyone!), and I sat back at our team tent the last two years to help my best friend watch her kids. But who am I kidding? I didn’t want to walk it and sure as hell wasn’t gonna run it!
When I decided that this would be the year that I take care of myself, part of that was deciding not to do the fundraiser, as it is very stressful and time consuming! I still struggle with that decision, but realized that we could focus on just raising money through our team website campaign and getting our friends to join us for the actual race instead of coming to the fundraiser, as our team is sadly very small! I figure what better way to get people to donate and be there if I say that this will be the first race that I will have ever run in my life?!?
So, wow. I am changing. I read an article (“Ready for a Change?” by Kimberly Goad) last night in the March issue of Fitness Magazine (yeah, I am always behind on magazines!) about how change is necessary. I loved the quote from Maryann Troiani, a psychologist and coauthor of Spontaneous Optimism, a book I heard about many years back and have been meaning to pick up one day. She tells her patients, “If you’re not changing, you’re not learning.” I’ve heard so many people say they are stuck in their ways, and I used to be one of them, but I continue to evolve!
The article also warned against making too many changes at once, which I am really good at trying to do! Now that I feel better about myself, I want to make changes in every aspect of my life! But I’m thinking that since I am not quite done with this journey of getting healthy that maybe that needs to continue to be my focus, and not the two other major issues in my life that need help (love life & career) just yet. So here are my goals:
- I’m gonna keep working toward my goal weight!
- I’m gonna run every minute of that 5K in November!
- I’m gonna apply to be a FitFluential Ambassador someday!
So, really, any runners out there have any advice for me?