My body and I do not have the best relationship. As much as part of me would love to be a bare-it-all blogger when it comes to health issues, I am just not there yet. If I ever met Dooce or the Bloggess, I would high five them for helping to pave the way for other folks to speak more freely about mental illness, but there aren't many well known champions for chronic illness of the physical variety. Or...any that I can think of, actually. Health issues are viewed as weakness. And I admit, I do not like to be viewed as weak.
I am guilty of this perspective. It's not fun (or healthy or productive) to view yourself as weak. Which is why for the past several years I have seized control of the parts of my life that I can, exercising regularly and challenging my body to take on new activities. I experience a high when I think about how much more deeply I can now go into most yoga poses, how much higher an intensity I can work out on the elliptical, and how much more I can run around in my daily life because I have built up strength and stamina through working out.
Be smart when working out. Get cleared by your doctor first, get fitted for proper running shoes (Orlando folks, I recommend you go to Track Shack, those guys always fit me in the most comfy of shoes) or whatever gear you might need for your
And then I popped out a baby and lost my ability to go to the gym whenever I wanted to exercise. Running is something I had tried in the past, but it was never the best fit for me...and I found it boring to boot. But thanks to a jogging stroller my mother picked up at a garage sale, it was now my best bet at exercising while easily keeping the kiddo entertained.
Back when I completed week 1 of Couch to 5k. My running buddy slept most of the way.
Back in August, I started the Couch to 5k running plan. In the past, I had always stalled out around week five of this program, either from health issues, boredom, or a combination of both. I knew I needed a motivator to keep me persevering past that point, and the fitness blogs I keep up with were always extolling the virtues of racing. The cheering crowds! The pressure to keep up with the runners around! The scenic views! The support of the volunteers, water stops, and safe places to run! The money you have to pay to sign up that has you telling yourself, YOU BETTER RUN THAT RACE SO YOU'RE NOT OUT FIFTY BUCKS!
The 2012 Disney Family Fiesta 5k is the one I decided to sign up for (hi, have we met? I'm a Disney nut. Can't think of a better motivator for me than the chance to run through Epcot.). I expected my training to go more slowly than the nine weeks they say it takes to go from couch to 30 straight minutes of running, so I wanted the buffer of extra training time. And boy oh boy, did I need it. I essentially never progressed beyond day one of week five, which involves five minutes of running followed by three minutes of walking.
Obstacles are not unfamiliar to me. When coming up against one, it is necessary to decide if it is one to scale or one to walk around. Once I came to terms with not scaling this one since jogging longer than five minutes at a time wouldn't get me 5k-ready in time for Disney, I changed my training to increase the number of five minute intervals I could do. Walking around this obstacle would take longer, but it would get me much closer to my ultimate goal of crossing the finish line.
And it worked. I ran my first non-race 5k at the end of November. I was positively giddy, and I came straight home to give El Hub a sweaty hug. That was when I knew I had a shot at actually achieving this goal of mine.
Golf claps to me for not falling off the still moving treadmill while taking this photo. Apparently I have decidedly less physical common sense when giddy.
It was still a bumpy road. The latest stumbling block was so inane, a simple cold. But if the timing had been one week later, I would NOT have run this 5k. Thumbs up to folks who can run with a hacking cough and without the ability to breathe through their nose, but I am not one of them.
My running buddy would be sleeping in on race day, but being the sweetheart that George is, he went with me to pick up my racing packet.
El Hub did NOT sleep in, and instead hung out in the cold to give me a proper send-off and await my very first finish line crossing.
The three Caballeros are my favorite Disney characters after Figment. And this race? Was at Epcot, home of Figment. It could not be more perfect.
Well...it could have been an hour later. That would have been a nice touch.
According to my running app, it took me 46 minutes, which was about what I trained for since Disney requires a 16 minute mile or faster. I had 46 minutes to think.
I thought about all the training I did. I thought about El Hub at the finish line. I thought about how I want George to grow up feeling that exercise is fun and freeing and empowering. I thought about my body and how I wanted to own it.
The stars aligned. My training paid off.
I ran my first 5k. No one, not even my own health, can ever take that away from me.