Hahaha… that was my typical response prior to 6 years ago when someone asked me if I did cardio or ran for exercise. However, 6 years ago, I picked up my tennis shoes and decided to go for a short run. That turned into a few runs a month which turned into signing up for a 5k. I was 260 pounds and needed something to help me start loosing weight. 6 years later, 60 pounds lighter and I am still running.
With a family of 7, I found that a quiet place to think, listen to music, listen to Audible and get some quality private time is really hard to find. Running to the rescue, I started by listening to music on short runs, when I grew into longer runs I found myself listening to business or self help books on Audible. My first audio book was The Phoenix Project, soon followed by Measure what Matters, Radical Focus and then moved on to Mere Christianity and then The Case for Christ. After those heavy hitters I wanted something a bit lighter and realized that I would love to connect with my kids more on what they are reading. So I am now on book 10 of 18 in Wings of Fire book series. I highly recommend it for kids and adults! It’s fun, has a few life lessons and keeps my mind busy while trying to run.
Now don’t let me fool you into thinking I’m fast or a good runner! I am still the slowest and most awkward runner out there, but it’s serving it’s purpose in my life right now. It’s giving me time to think, learn and reflect while getting into shape and showing my kids that exercise is important. I would summarize running with these 5 challenges that all work together to make it hard on me:
- Time availability: it’s hard to make time 4 times a week to run outside or on the treadmill. I try to run for an hour on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays while I run for 2 hours on Saturdays.
- Muscle ability: Whether I’m running on the road, single-track, uphill or on the treadmill, my legs, back, hips are always sore!
- Cardio ability or lung capacity: This one is hard, my cardio has been horrible my entire life so this challenge is often the “wall” I experience when I’m running. I have dived deep in my stats, best practices for running and metrics and I’m learning how to train my cardio, what’s considered too hard and what’s considered the “threshold zone” or the no-training benefit. I got a Garmin watch a year ago and live in those metrics and training plans.
- Mental ability: This one is also hard for me. If I find myself bored, I find it hard to run. I start thinking about my muscles and my cardio and start wanting to take a break. Lately I found that if I stop and walk for just 30 seconds, that can prevent me from running slow for 10 minutes.
- Eating right. I have learned many times that you can’t eat a large bacon cheeseburger, fries and milkshake 10 minutes before a run. Yes, I said I learned that many times… I like my food, so I’m sure I will learn that a few more times before it really sinks in. Fortunately I live out in the country with lots of tree’s and very few neighbors. So until I figured out my eating habits and timing I had to bring a pack of tissue with me for the emergency stops along my run.
I have my first marathon scheduled for the spring of 2022 and I’m running 4 times a week training to build up my endurance and speed. Last year I did my first half-marathon and realized that I could do this and make it a life-long habit. So hopefully, this is something that keeps going and keeps me healthy physically and mentally. Have you found something that works for you?