Today I started a new fitness journey – in truth I’m revisiting my old frenemy from high school: running. I turned 40-something yesterday, ate three pieces of chocolate cake and had a strawberry daiquiri at my birthday dinner. I enjoyed every.single.minute.of.it until I awoke this morning with sore joints, a foggy brain, and 4 extra pounds on the scale. As I peered through hazy eyes at the numbers on the scale, I knew I could avoid it no longer – I had to work harder and intensify my workouts.
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I’m not a huge fan of exercise in general, but I have been successful using a rowing machine at home and doing floor exercises to strengthen my core. For the past 3 months, however, I’ve been stuck at an annoying 10 pounds above my weight goal. I’ve known that I had to try something else, but like my preschooler says “I DON’T WANT TO!” In the back of my mind, a little voice kept whispering to me that I needed to start running again. Ugh. I hate running.
So this afternoon I plunked the preschooler into the jogging stroller, balanced her kick bike on the handlebars, and started off on the one mile trek to our local playground. We live in a neighborhood with some pretty steep hills and it’s summertime. Add the weight of my child (36 pounds) plus the stroller (25 pounds) plus the kick bike (5 pounds) and I’m pushing a whopping 66 pounds up and down hills for a mile each way in the blazing hot sunshine. It would make perfect sense to do this while running, right?After a ten minute walking warm-up, I bit the bullet and ran for a full minute and I thought I was going to die. I could feel the extra junk in my trunk flopping around as I struggled to breathe and hoof it half a block while pushing the stroller-bike-kid monstrosity. Did I mention that the front wheel of jogging strollers don’t rotate? Going around curves was indeed a challenge. I was running at the speed of a snail, but I was running none the less.
I alternated between running for one minute then walking for two minutes all the way to the playground. By the third run-walk cycle, I felt my second wind kick in, my breathing became less labored, and I felt energized. My muscles remembered how good they felt when I used to run regularly in high school. Though I was drenched in sweat and hotter than a pot of boiled peanuts, I found myself a little sad when we reached the park and I was actually looking forward to the run home. What was happening to me?!? In only one mile I’d caught the fever and knew I was on the fast track to becoming another over-the-hill Forrest Gump running fool – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.