These legs were made for running. Who knew?!

Saturday, 23 July 2011


One step at a time...
On my run this morning, I was wondering what keeps me going back for more week after week.  For I do not have particularly healthy lungs (they have always been my weak spot) and as a result, sometimes my runs feel like very hard work.  I thought of so many things that are a source of inspiration that I ended up spending my entire run listing them in my head.  Here are just a few (in no particular order):

  • My five children.  I want to be vital and alive to celebrate and support them for many years to come.
  • The two elderly men who look like they are at least in their 80's.  I see them on my morning run most weeks.  They are so vital and fit for men their age and I want what they have.
  • The people that I see on my route day in and day out.  Although we don't know each other's name, we smile and wave and encourage each other along.
  • The elderly lady who can barely shuffle one block after her surgery.  But she's out there almost every day doing the best that she can.
  • The colleagues and the partner who I have started running and swimming with at lunch.  They kick my butt (in a kind way) and make me realise that there is always room to improve.
  • The fact that I have not had bronchitis since I started running (hope I am not tempting the Gods by writing this).
  • Rob, who regularly reminds me how far I have come when I get a bit discouraged.
  • The fact that I have legs and a waist again.  They may be far from perfect after having 5 kids, but I like them anyway.
  • My cousin Ann who has 2 children (and another on the way), yet still finds time for marathons.  And my long time friend Gretch who has been running half-marathons for a few years.
  • My friend Hils who has shared the entire journey with me.  We keep each other going emotionally and physically.
  • My friend Leo and his poem Sitting Under Three Oaks ) about an old dry oak leaf living out the last of his days "with the spirit of a child, innocent and rebellious".  There are benefits to going with the flow of life, but this poem reminds me that it's also okay to put up a fight and squeeze the most out of our lives.
  • The sun, the rain and the local birds who make my heart soar when I am running.
  • The contribution that running has made to managing my life long challenges with anxiety (that may be a topic for a separate post).
And the list goes on and on and on...

And then there was running...

Moments after finishing my first half-marathon

It started with only being able to walk for 15 minutes at a time.  I had been struggling with anxiety and depression, was overweight and beginning to have what felt like irregular heart beats.  I was grieving the end of my childbearing years and felt the best years of my life were over. A partner that I work with would discuss his approach to healthy eating and his running adventures with me periodically and it stuck. I thought walking might at least help me to lose a bit of weight so I slowly built up to an hour.

I decided one day to alternate between walking for 15 minutes and jogging for 1 minute.  Over time I realised that I was jogging more than I was walking.  I still remember the first day that I ran without stopping, including my killer local hill.  I jumped up and down and cheered like a little kid.  I entered a 5K Corporate Challenge race which I completed.  I planned on running a 10K race next, but a colleague and a friend both suggested I train for a half-marathon instead.  My cousin was running half-marathons and was training for a marathon which amazed me and the seed was planted.

I did not expect to finish the half-marathon but I trained anyway.  To my amazement I not only finished it but did so in a respectable 2 hours 3 minutes.  Then another colleague suggested that we sign up for a triathlon this November.  I hadn't planned on tackling this challenge until next year, if at all.  But here I am training for another half-marathon in September and swimming and biking to train for the triathlon in November.  And this has been the pattern.  Me constantly underestimating what I can accomplish, giving it a try anyway and surprising myself.

Some amazing things have happened along the way.  I started eating for nutrition instead of weight loss - I am Eating To Live (more on this in another post).  I have started to accept, like and maybe even love myself as I am, character defects and all.  The world doesn't feel so dangerous anymore.  I have a sense of my self worth and am becoming better at expressing myself.  I feel more fit and sexy than I did in my 20's and 30's.  I look at the possibilities instead of the obstacles.  And I have only begun....

Friday, 22 July 2011

Life, part II....

Me after my 5th child

Me now
At 47 (and after having my 5th child at 45) this historically slightly overweight and always non-athletic mum recently completed her first half-marathon.  I am now training for another half-marathon and an (almost) Olympic length triathlon towards the end of the year.  In the process I have discovered new personal dimensions and a determination that I didn't know I was capable of.  I am an athlete, I am a runner.  

This first post is not meant to be an exhaustive blow by blow of each kilo lost and each kilometre run.  As I write this I am laying in my king size bed in my pyjamas surrounded by 5 slowly waking children ranging from 2 to 11. So by necessity I must keep this brief.  There will be plenty of time to discuss how I got here, what has worked for me, what hasn't and how this journey has impacted and continues to impact my life.

For now I simply say, with a willingness to give it a go anything is possible!