Last month marked my four -year Runiversary. Four years ago, I was out for my daily walk, and I decided (after much phone prodding from my sister), to see if I could run to the end of the block. I made it, but it required a few moments of gasping and trying to stuff my lungs back into my chest. I was mortified when I realized that I had become what I was pretty sure I would never be: the lost-her-mojo middle-aged-woman who preferred sturdy walking shoes and had a paunch that suggested more than a few over-loaded plates.
I told my sister I couldn’t do it, I had almost died running down the block. She suggested I slow down. I said, “how much slower could I possibly go?” Turns out, not exactly a crawl, but a wog–a half jog, half walk. But by employing the wogging technique, I was able to go a little farther. I bought a pair of running shoes. Every day I ran a little farther and made a game of running to the next driveway and the next after that before I paused to stuff my lungs back in. Pretty soon, I was running thirty minutes. Then I started tracking miles.
I was afraid to sign up for a race because of a fear I would come in last. My sister said, “join a group.” Well goodness, I was just as scared to do that. I knew I would be so slow that I would hold everyone up. I knew I was too old and too big to hang with a group of real runners. But I went. Imagine my surprise to discover a lot of people like me, who had come to the sport later in life, and who just wanted to try. Some of them belonged to bike groups with the same idea–just get on a bike and try. Some of them went to yoga, like me, and couldn’t touch their toes without bending their knees either. And, like me, they all felt better about eating a burger and fries after running a few miles. Hooray! I had found my peeps!
In the last eight months I have run two half marathons. I am not very fast, but I have built up the endurance to go the distance. I always take pictures of myself at these races and make everyone on Facebook look at me. I talk a lot about the burgers I am going to eat after the race, because that’s what it’s all about–eating burgers and fries completely guilt-free. People responded to those posts and talked about what they do for fitness: running, biking, walking, swimming, zumba, chasing kids. I realized that I like to talk about the fitness thing, and so do others. So, I set up a new page, Running for Burgers. It’s a place to hang out for support and inspiration for our health goals, no matter what those goals might be. Each month, I am going to choose someone who has made it to their burger for a special treat from me: a Running for Burgers victory charm and one of my signed books. I hope you will join us.
Have you ever tried something you were certain you couldn’t do and discovered you could do it? What is your activity of choice? If you were running right now, what treat would you be running for? Have you stopped by Running for Burgers yet?