Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Step At A Time

(Photo from West Torrance High School cross-country team, 1989)

I used to love running. It has served me well at many stages of my life. It was an easy way to fit in somewhere as I transitioned into high school, providing me an instant family of sorts, and my affinity for it seemed to grow from there. Running was something I could do easily, something I was naturally good at. It built up my confidence and boosted my self-esteem in the years I needed it most. As life continued, I slowed down. A lot. I became a wife, then a mother. I had other responsibilities and rarely made the time for exercise in any form. But running remained a way to clear my head if something was bothering me.

The last time I really ran it was a way to deal with grief... and I over-extended myself.

So I stopped running. I had injured myself physically and emotionally. Running was something I now associated with sadness and pain - something that I did not want any part of.

That was 8 years ago, and I have been pretty lackadaisical about my lack of exercise. Except that lately there's been this one thing on my mind: I am getting older, and keeping my body healthy is not going to get easier.

Let me dispel one common misconception: being thin does not equal being healthy. For me, being thin just means my metabolism is amazing. This is something we don't hear much about because, let's be honest, when a thin person says they are out of shape and need to exercise others pretty much just roll their eyes and hate them. But I'm going to say it, because it's true: I need to make my health a priority. There is so much I need to change, but I am always at a loss as to where to begin. Diet? Exercise? Eating habits? The easy route was to put these concerns at the back of my mind, so I did.

Until last Friday.

I read a post on this blog that gave me a change of perspective. I read about true determination. About reaching a milestone & achieving a goal. And amidst tears I thought... wow. What an inspiration. And then... you know what? I can do hard things. I can set goals. I can make myself a priority.

I can run again.

So I did it. I ran on Monday morning for the first time in 8 years. It was a 2-mile loop, and I had to stop numerous times to walk and catch my breath, but I did it. I have run every day since then and plan to run consistently until March when my goal is to complete a local 5K race without walking.

I can do this, and I will. One step at a time.


rorymckm said...

I am the same way with cycling. I'm hoping to get back in the saddle one of these days; just as soon as I can leave Zoe for a bit. I wonder if they make a kid seat for a road bike.....thanks for the inspiration!

Anaise said...

Way to go--I'm rooting for you!

Katie said...

You better be careful Gerb.... my sister decided to do that and then she wanted to run a half marathon and then another and another and then a full marathon and now she's on to a triathlon. It's addicting. AND good for you!!! It's worth it and it's the perfect stress reliever. :)

Gina said...

As always, you are an inspiration. Good luck with running. If I am lucky, I make it to through/to the food pick-up line before they give my order away. Honestly, I am such a slow hobbler these days. I can't even imagine walking fast! HA

~j. said...

You can do it! You're awesome.

(Is it the same 2-mile loop that I do? The one betwixt us? There needs to be some serious bug control on that loop.)

Gerb said...

Rory- We do what we can, when we can, right? Now that school's back in session I have to go early. You can do it!

Anaise- Thanks! I'm rooting for a happy, healthy baby for you. Sometime soon!

Katie- If triathlons didn't have that whole swimming thing they'd be a lot more appealing. But if you saw how painfully slow I am going I think you'd see there is not much chance of my ever doing a marathon.

Gina- YOU are the inspiration, my friend!

~j.- I believe it's the same loop. It needs some serious skunk control as well... phew! When do you run? Mornings? Evenings?

Brown Thumb Mama said...

Good for you! I, too, get the eye-rolls and sighs when I say I need to get in shape.

Yoga is my exercise of choice and it seems to be doing the trick. Extra bonus: not skunks or bugs!

stageoflife said...

Hi...I actually came across your blog by accident today. It was the mention about the "stage of life" in the beginning that triggered my Google alert service to send me here.

I wanted to say I really enjoyed your point of view.

I'm actually looking for people and writers to share their wisdom, thoughts, and experiences from their stage of life. I think our readers would benefit from your perspective.

Do you guest blog? I'm interested in featuring you.

Please reach out to me via our site or my blog if you're interested in contributing to our project.

Take care,


Gerb said...

BTM- Yoga! I did that at a gym twice before I got kicked out. I couldn't help but giggle every time the instructor said, "Up, dog" and everyone moved up. I loved how it worked me, though. Maybe I could do some yoga (at home!) to supplement my running. Hmmm.

Eric- Thanks for stopping by and for your kind offer.

Corine said...

Good for you, Gerb! - Way to go! :D

I am a rollerblading addict (used to be a cycling addict), but my wheels are worn out (yesterday I went out and discovered that one of them won't even turn anymore! I realized that I'm going to have to start running today until I get the wheels replaced. I have never been a runner. Maybe you can give me some tips, and we can both cheer each other on! :) What do you think? Are you up for some email interaction to cheer ea other on? :D