One Year Running
I never considered myself a runner. Even when I played basketball growing up, I was notorious for finding excuses for getting out of the runs. And if you had told me that I’d run a 5k and find a space where I love to exercise, I would have laughed… and laughed.
But in 2016, I surprised myself. It was a year of physical change for me. I began the year by committing myself to my yoga practice. And thanks to the Yoga with Adriene‘s 30 Day Yoga challenge, I was able to strengthen my body and develop a consistent workout routine. I found a local yoga studio, and loved what the yoga did for my body and mind.
In July, I had the amazing chance to do the Marine Mammal Keeper experience at Sea World. However, when I got home, I found myself obsessing over the photos. I longed to be in a place where I was excited about sharing photos of such an amazing experience and not so focused on what I looked like in the photos.
So, I committed myself to be more active. I kept up with the yoga, and when I heard that Wanderlust 108 was coming to Tampa, I bought a ticket. However, I was completely freaked out about 5k. I told myself that I could just walk it, but I had no gauge for how far or what it would feel like.
I did some research and found the Couch to 5k program. That first run. Wow. I came home soaked in sweat and exhausted, but I survived and was already thinking about the next run. That first glimpse of accomplishment felt amazing, and it just pushed me forward.
It took me awhile to believe I would finish the nine weeks. It was a lot of work, but each day, I put on my shoes and showed up. My body adjusted quickly and craved the challenges (even in the midst of the Fall Florida heat). I hurt my knee in the first few weeks, but I found a good stretching practice (Yoga with Adriene pre-run yoga/post-run yoga), and was amazed to find how much I missed it when I couldn’t run. I cried when I finished my first 20 minute run and floated home into an euphoric ease. I learned about that first mile hurdle and started to crave that runner’s high.
My knee injury set me back a couple of weeks, so I ended up walking the Wanderlust 5k, but a few weeks later, I became a Couch to 5k graduate.
A few weeks later, I ran my first 5k. I was molasses slow and had a few people stop to check on me (I was tired), but I ran it from start to finish. That race bib has a very special place in my house – I keep it around to remind me to push past my mental boundaries.
So, here I am a year after beginning this journey. I am still running multiple times a week. Running keeps me grounded and sane. I’ve learned that I love to run alone in nature and am not a big fan of races. I haven’t run a race in awhile, but I did cut about 10 minutes off of my best time and found some love in running intervals.
I’m even more committed to my yoga practice and work out with an instructor weekly. In the last few months, I’ve gone from not being able to do chaturanga dandasana on my knees to working it full through my whole practice. I’ve always loved stretching (yay, pigeon!) and am working on building strength. I love toe stands and wall splits and am working on building my core and will hopefully get to headstands one of these days.
Back in December, I also started being more careful of what I was eating; I knew that if I could get my weight down I could run faster. Now, 7 months in, I’ve lost over 30 pounds. I’ve dropped sizes and inches and a whole bunch of hang ups about so many things. Building up my body, making it stronger and more able to do the things that are fun and rewarding, has given me a different view of it. It has given me a different view of myself.
Each summer, I like to do tours at Sea World. This time, it was penguins. Before I headed over to the park, I caught sight of my legs in the mirror and had to take a photo to prove to myself that those muscles were really there (And my goodness, I love that hotel room!). And so, one year later, I happily share a photo from that experience.
Running was a catalyst of change for me, so this is in celebration of my one year running anniversary.