How does one become interesting in running? Especially someone who never had any interest in running... even as a kid? It all started with getting healthier.
I have had my share of setbacks in my journey to a healthier me.
The first setback was being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in December, 2004. What??? One night I woke up with horrible back pains. Bad enough I made my (then) husband take me to the emergency room. After TONS of tests, the ER doctors found lesions on my spine and referred me to a specialist. After several visits I was told that I would need to start taking medication... for the rest of my life. The method that I chose was somewhat experimental but it would only require a once a month IV injection versus a daily dose of pills. Right before I was scheduled to start taking it, it was pulled off the market. My doctor suggested I go the daily method, but I decided to put it off. I hadn't had any symptoms in a while so I figured I'd take the wait and see approach. Years later, I've only had a couple of incidents - excruciating back pain that I get pain pills for and it goes away after a few days.
The second setback was quitting smoking. Most of the time I was a smoker I spent "trying" to quit. What a horrible addiction smoking is. I "tried" many different methods - the patch, cold turkey, lozenges... the longest I ever was able to go is a few weeks. Part of the problem is that my (then) husband was also a smoker, as were most of my friends. Finally, in 2007 I asked my doctor about a new treatment called Chantix. I got the prescription and went to fill it and it was RIDICULOUSLY expensive... $100 for one month! But maybe that is what helped me. I didn't want to waste the money. Anyway, after smoking a pack a day for more than a decade, I finally quit for good on December 1, 2007.
The actual lifestyle change started in January, 2004. After years of not taking care of myself, I found myself 40 pounds overweight. I started exercising at home with a cheap stairclimber and Winsor Pilates DVD's. I started eating right and stopped drinking beer (except for occasionally on the weekends). I lost 20+ pounds on my own at home, but I was getting bored. I joined a local gym and that's when it all started. I remember getting on the treadmill and doing the "walk with incline" for an hour and being amazed at the people that could run! Not just run... but run the whole time I walked. HOW??? So I started little by little... soon, I was able to run a whole mile without stopping. Seriously!! Now, even though I was exercising and eating better, I still was not that healthy - I was still smoking a pack a day... one mile was about all I could manage. But I managed to lose a total of 45 pounds! I've maintained my weight (within a few pounds) since the summer of 2004.
So. How did I start running? After I finally quit smoking, I spent more time at the gym. The more I exercised, the less I thought about smoking. I started going to the gym right when they opened at 5:00 in the morning! It started out with just seeing how far I could go. For months I managed to run 45 minutes and I kept increasing the mileage I could do in that amount of time. I signed up for my first race - the Bolder Boulder 10K road race, and ran it on Memorial Day, 2008. I was already hooked, I just LOVE the competition!
I kept up my schedule of morning runs for about 6 months until my (then) husband and I finally separated for good and the divorce proceedings started. I was no longer able to get my runs in before work, and now I had childcare to worry about. I started going to the gym after dinner, taking advantage of the daycare at the gym. So while I can't really say that I love running, I love the competing and I love the feeling I get when I cross the finish line.
No matter what your background is, what your goals are - I am a firm believer that determination and dedication can help you achieve your goals.
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