At the start of 2016 I set myself a simple main goal for this year. Eat less, move more.
I love to walk, I always have. I was never someone who enjoyed running. I saw the value in it, especially in short sprints to raise my heart rate during workouts. I did it, but I did not LOVE it. Nor did I think I ever would love it.
I began aqua jogging regularly and discovered that I quite enjoyed that. Though I find people look at one weird, when one is doing it. Or maybe that is just me and the way I do it, because I do sprints in the shallow end to get my heart rate where I want it, then I walk the pool for a lap, back to sprints, back to the walk.
As time went on, I got better at running. I could do it for longer. I began to feel STRONG when I did it. I watched my legs change the more I did it. The muscles started to stand out more.
One day, I ran for a full kilometre on the treadmill. It took somewhere around 7 minutes. This was amazing to me. How is it possible that I could do this, when I used to struggle running for just one minute?
After that, I began to increase my running time during workouts. I began to challenge myself, to watch my times, to note personal best times. I walked, then *ran* up and down beach stairs. I worked on my cardio at Aqua Aerobics. I got my 1km time down to 6 minutes.
My fitness level is the best it has ever been in my 41 years on this planet. I have lost over 20kg (44 pounds) now. My nutrition is the best it has ever been. I am drinking protein shakes daily, which I never expected I would do. The best part – I am actually enjoying all of this.
I still never thought I would want to – or be able to – run long distances like 5km or 10km. One week, I walked 75km and some of that – in fact quite a bit of that – was running.
Then August 21st happened. For weeks I had been seeing signs down at the my usual walk, telling me of running events due to happen on the 21st. HA, I thought. I won’t be down here that day, it will be crazy busy.
When the day happened, it was gorgeous out. Grumpy was due to have surgery that week and I knew this might be my last chance to get out for the next week, so I checked the times for events online and found it would all be over fairly early, but there was another run due in the afternoon. If I went right then, chances were I would have the path pretty much to myself. Within 20 minutes I was in the car and on my way.
I thought – I’ll just run a little bit, then walk, then run a little, then walk. It turned out more like Forrest Gump. I just kept running, pausing only 7 times to take photos.
(the blue line = pace, the red line = heart rate)
That is my personal best time for a 5km, ever. I did not stop there – I went on to walk/run another 5km that same day. The second 5km was slower and I did walk for more of it.. however the running in this case was sprints rather than an even pace. In total, I ran more that day than I ever have before. I expected to be in a world of pain the next day, but I was not. I did a recovery 5km walk, and the following day I ran 2.5km out of my 5km.
I have since run another full 5km with only 3 pauses for photos. I would not call them stops, because it was literally pause, take the shot, back to running. I am running 2.5km out of my treadmill 5kms, and that is only because my treadmill gets too hot if I run a full 5km.
I enjoy running.
I am as shocked to type those words as you likely are to read them. :)