Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Though this particular post is partially about running, it is mostly about endurance, and patience. You see, way back when I was in college, I was definitely not in the best shape. I had gained the "freshman 15," due to a number of reasons, and though I thought I was doing a good job of staying active by walking around on campus, exploring nearby parks and forest preserves, and going to the gym once or twice a week... well, from where I sit now, I can see that it wasn't enough at all.
I couldn't run more than 30 seconds to save my life. I could walk a few miles, but was always tired afterward. The high impact, high energy machines at the gym? No thanks, I'll stick to the treadmill or the walking track. I have to give myself credit for trying, of course. I guess I was just so concerned with "college," and "being in college," that it didn't matter as much that I was overweight and putting my health at risk.
In the last two years, something clicked. Maybe it had something to do with family members having health issues, or just seeing the person I had become and not liking it anymore. But it was like a light had turned on, and I suddenly realized that this was my life, my body, and I wasn't as healthy as I could be--I needed to make a change. So I started gradually, changing what and how I eat, trying to become a little more active here and there. And then, in the beginning of 2012, I started Couch-to-5k. That was the decision that changed my life for the better.
So here we are, a year later. I was at my heaviest weight in 2009 and 2010 and I've lost 35 pounds since then, which is an awesome feeling! I've lost a fair amount over the last year, too, and the way things are going, I see myself getting in better and better shape. While I could barely jog or always had to stop and catch my breath while hiking before, now I can run 2 miles without stopping, no problem! I can do the elliptical for 45 minutes and at the end of it, I feel like I could still go for more.
Couch-to-5k was a great way for me to my health, improve my stamina, and better my life. When I started the program, I was weak--but now? Now, I can see the pain and exhaustion of starting and going through the first few sessions in pain and wanting to quit was totally worth it. It hasn't been easy, but I can safely say that I have improved so much over the last few years (the last year, especially), and now that I've gotten a taste of what great physical health feels like, I want more. I want to run marathons; I want wander a trail or do some backwoods hiking with a heavy pack and no rest in sight. I want to do it all!
By starting gradually and building up my strength, I also built up my endurance. I may not have gotten results as quickly as I might like, but I'm seeing them now and I couldn't be happier about it. So while it's about endurance, and finding more of that little by little, it's also about being patient. These kind of changes do not happen overnight, and since I am always my own strongest critic/worst enemy, it has been a good reminder for me to step back and look at the big picture. With patience and hard work, I will run that marathon, I will hike that trail. I will get in the best possible shape that I can--for my husband, for my family, and most importantly, for me, all in due time.