Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So there was this girl.....

...who once upon a time thought running was just plain stupid. Running hurt - in this girl's case, a lot.
Yep, no points for guessing said girl is me. Even as a kid, I had a *very* strong dislike of running, and avoided it at all costs, because it caused me pain (I've had problems with my feet my whole life), and I just plain didn't enjoy it.
In 2006, a couple of friends ran the Adelaide City to Bay Fun Run and whilst at dinner with them one night, I was congratulating them on their achievement, and one friend said to me 'you should do it next year'. I laughed and said 'I don't run'. He said 'why not?'. I said 'I don't *do* running'. He said again 'why not?', and I just didn't have an answer - 'it hurts' seemed completely lame and inadequate. This friend (at at later dates I would have used the term loosely!!!) challenged me to run the City to Bay the following year, and I accepted, then wondered what had just happened.
Long story short, and fast forward 9 months to September 2007, I ran the 6km leg of that race, and wondered why it had taken me so long to embrace something that I had actually come to enjoy - I had become a runner.
Well, I thought I had. I didn't run again after the race, and intended to start again after that summer, as heat + exercise + me don't mix well. Just as I planned to lace up again, I got hurt at work and sustained a permanent back injury. I thought I would never be able to run again, and all of a sudden I really, really missed it. And I thought that was it, all over red rover, forever.
But now it's been nearly 3 years since my injury, and I'm up and running again :-) Literally, and metaphorically. I can't explain why I felt such a *need* to run again, when I knew it would cause me pain. But I did, and I knew I had to try.
Starting again as seen a change in lifestyle and mind set, in ways I couldn't have anticipated. After my injury, I gained about 10 kg, and I went back to Weight Watchers. At the same time, I began experiencing some other issues with my health that were eventually diagnosed as psoriatic arthritis (a 'cousin' of rheumatoid arthritis), which initially presented in my feet. I could barely walk, let alone run, so trying to exercise to lose weight was virtually impossible, but somehow I managed to lose 12kg over 6 months. Then I stopped going to WW, and gained a few kgs back over the next few months.
December last year, and I had started a new job - going from part-time to full-time - and had had a year of being sick, and I knew I had to do *something* about my body, from a holistic perspective. I started thinking about running again after reading the awesome Run Like A Mother, and wondered if I could do it. I went back to WW again, and wasn't particularly successful, nor was I motivated to get moving. I joined the new gym in town, but didn't go, citing not being able to due to having the kids full time for the holidays. Then once they went to their dad's for the rest of the holidays, I knew the excuses had run out, and things had to change. I signed up for personal training at the gym, started tracking properly for WW, started really started thinking about what I was putting into my body, and was inspired and encouraged by Cathy Zielske's Eat Less, Move More challenge. And voila, things started changing. Funny about that :-)
I go to the gym every 3rd day, and do my weights program, then a session on the treadmill. I'm doing the Couch-to-5K program, and so far it's all going along swimmingly (boom boom). My thinking has changed, my priorities have changed, and I'm seeing results. I've set my goal to run the Adelaide City to Bay again, only this time I'm aiming for the 12km. I know I can do it, pain or not, but the funny thing so far is that my back is holding up well. No increased pain as I had anticipated and prepared myself for, and my arthritis is pretty under control at the moment, so so far, so good. And I know that's the only way I can do this, one day at a time, and deal with each day as it comes, with whatever it brings.
I still can't get over how my thinking has changed in such a short time, how getting to the gym has become as important as going to work and providing for my kids, because I know what I do now will set the foundations for the rest of my life. How being mindful of what I put into my body is making me more conscious about eating what I need to be healthy, and not just eating what I want because it will give me about .02 seconds of pleasure, and leave me feeling icky. How setting goals and working towards them permeates other areas of my life and gives me cause to stop and look at the effect my actions have on myself and others. This (to date short) journey has already taught me more than I could have anticipated, and I am feeling freedom in the discipline I'm trying to embrace. I know this change in my life can only be good - for me and for my kids.
The sub-title of this blog came from a conversation I had with my butcher - I was talking with a friend as I was waiting to be served, and she commented that I'd lost weight, and asked how I was doing it. I told her I've gone back to the gym and started running again, and the butcher asked 'how do you do that?', and I found myself saying 'you just put one foot in front of the other and pick up the pace'. In thinking about our exchange later, I thought about how that philosophy applies to so much of my life. Sometimes that's all you can do, put one foot in front of the other, and sometimes you've got to pick up the pace. But I also know the truth is that life is a race set before me, that I need to keep my eyes fixed on the race God has set me on, and that He is the ultimate goal I am running towards

'Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.'
(Hebrews 12:1)

Oh, and the 'stitch' part of 'The Running Stitch'? I make stitches - in knitting, in fabric, on paper and at work (not that nurses can stitch people up, but we can help 'stitch' them back together :-) ). I haven't blogged for a long while, but I want to record this new chapter in the story of my life - I hope it's going to be a good one :-)

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