myself and some of the current drill team members
They say the best place to start is from the beginning.
I remember back in elementary school in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the late 1980’s. Once a year we had to do the President’s Fitness Challenge. This consisted of all sorts of fitness assessments. How many sit ups could you do in a minute? Push ups? Pull ups? And finally, how quickly could you run a mile? I was about average at sit ups, push ups and pull ups. When it came to running a mile, however, I took walking breaks here and there, unable to complete the full mile by only running. I was usually one of the last children in my class to finish. It was the norm for me. It never occurred to me that I should, or even could, do anything about my slow time. I just thought I was unable to run it and that was just me.
Running never came up again as an issue for me until I was going into the ninth grade. I tried out, and made it onto, the drill team for my high school. There were about 25 of us girls on the team who would perform at football games, pep rallies, and competitions. The seventh class-period of the day, followed by two hours after school were devoted to drill team rehearsal. Our director loved to send us out to the track to run a mile to get warmed up for the day’s dance rehearsals. Once again, I could not run an entire mile without stopping. Most of the other girls on the team had no problem running an entire mile. Some even enjoyed it. It was such a puzzle to me. I once asked one of the girls how she does it. I wondered aloud to her, “How is it that you never give up?” She told me simply, “I keep telling myself that it’s not going to kill me.” Those words of advice didn’t sink in that day. I didn’t really understand the true meaning in that sentence until several years later.
About three years ago, I was living a lifestyle where I paid no mind to my physical health. I smoked several cigarettes a day, ate whatever I wanted, and thought exercise was a concept only understood by those who worshiped their outer appearance. I knew that I never wanted to be overweight, and I wasn’t. I was happy with my body size, so it didn’t occur to me to monitor what I ate or what I did. As long as the number on the scale didn’t budge, I was fine.
Of course, all things must come to an end. My stagnant weight eventually moved. The number on the scale budged. Little by little I was putting on the pounds. I had to do something. I did not want to be a statistic. I did not want to be the typically unhealthy American.
I found an exercise plan in a magazine than claimed it could take me from walking to running in about twelve weeks. I decided it was worth a shot, and I knew that I could benefit from becoming more active, even if I could never run. The weeks passed, and I slowly ran more and more during each workout, walking less and less. There was one thing holding me back, though. That was my lung capacity. I still smoked cigarettes, and I knew that the only way for me to truly be healthy and capable of running a long distance was to quit. With great success I was able to quit, using the nicotine patch. I completed my walk-to-run plan and was able to run forty minutes without stopping. I was thrilled!
I continued to run about every other day until April of 2009. Whether it be on the road, at the gym, or on the trail. Then my husband and I moved to another city and I sort of fell out of the habit. In July 2009, I found out that I was pregnant!
Our son was born on March 23, 2010, and I had gained upwards of fifty pounds. We moved back to our hometown soon thereafter and I couldn’t wait to get back into shape, but could never seem to find the time to exercise. Being a new mother and going back to work took up a lot of time. I heard about a 5k that was to be held for my old high school’s 50th anniversary. I was reluctant to commit to it at first, but my former drill team instructor challenged us former members to participate. Six weeks before the 5k, I decided to do it.
I trained as much as I could to get ready for the event. However, there were only two times each week where I could actually fit it into my busy schedule. My husband worked days, I worked nights, and I didn’t have a jogging stroller. Race day finally came and I was confident that I would run the entire 3.1 miles. The gun went off, and I was running. It was exhilarating being surrounded by so many fellow runners. Over 450 people participated in that race. I placed 13th in my age group and was ready for a new challenge, so I set my sights on the Gusher Half-Marathon to be held in March 2011.
I’m all geared up to train for the half-marathon. I now have a jogging stroller. I am equipped with a detailed training plan. My brother is also going to be running the half-marathon, so we plan to do at least some of our training together.
I decided to start this blog to chronicle my experiences leading up to the start line on March 12, 2011…