I chatted briefly about running with Smasher Girl who signed up to do an awesome 5K walk for charity. Way to go! She was surprised to learn that I was running even before I joined weight watchers and was way overweight (ok, who am I kidding, technically I was obese). She wanted to know how I did it? I pondered that question and didn't have a good answer. I just did it. Let's backtrack to learn a little about my running history.
Let's go back to my early teen years. My father was overweight (Dad, you don't mind if I use you in this blog post, right?). My father tried countless diets (cabbage soup diet anyone?).
When I was 16, my dad signed us all (Me, Dad, Mom) up for the gym. Thanks Dad! He lost some weight and I think it was at that time that he started running. I would run a little with him but he was much better than me. We started off together and ended together but he passed me up in the middle. He was good! I think he told me his best at a 5k run was 7-8 min miles. I think. This info may be off a little but you get the idea.
I stopped running. I had to run the mile in H.S. and got better every year but starting in college, I started gaining weight. I still went to the gym and worked out but never, ever thought of running.
That was until a friend of mine was going to turn 30. I was about 24 years old. She wanted to run a 5k that was on her birthday. We both started running. She was thinner and therefore, faster. I couldn't really "hang", y'know? But I tried and we ran that run (she always finished first). I thought I was going to die! It was Sept. 20, 2003! I just recently found the picture they took while I was finishing. NOT PRETTY! I'll scan it and post it. I was red in the face and looked like I was going to die!
But I did it! I finished! That sense of accomplishment is what pushed my friend and I to do several more 5k's and 8k's in the next few years together. I only got a little better with the running. I was a runner/walker. I was still overweight (obese) and couldn't run very long at a time. I always tried to run at least 1 mile before walking, but after 30 seconds, I would be exhausted! But I kept at it. I never really improved too much, but there was some improvement. I just tried to be my best time.
So that's how I officially started. I just did it. I said that even if I have to walk half of it (or more), I know I can do it. It won't kill me. I might feel like I want to die, but I won't.
I now have run 3 half marathons over the past 4 years. My first half marathon, I probably weighed around 230. I'm not sure because I wasn't on weight watchers back then (2006). I signed up with a different friend and she ran with me the entire way! I thought (again) that I would die!
But running is completely mental! Sure, you have to make sure your body is physically capable of doing that type of exercise for that long. But if you can, then it's mental. Your mind is telling you "STOP!". In my mind, it's ok to slow down or walk. Go ahead! The important thing is to not give up!
Now that I've lost weight though, I can run for an entire race without walking! I never thought I would ever be able to do that. But you know what? After the first 2 mins, I still feel exhausted. I feel winded! But once I get past that 2 min. hump, it gets better.
My times have now dramatically improved. I'm still not in the front of a run. I'm still at least in the middle of the pack or less. I still haven't run better than a 10 min. mile on average during a run. But that's ok. I continue pushing myself to do it and I know I CAN do it. And you can too!
So what are some tips that you runners out there can share with the non-runners/beginning runners? I know you guys have some good ones! Please share!