“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu
I’m not sure this quote actually applies to exercise, but I liked it and it seemed to fit what I am feeling. This year has brought a lot of changes in my life, two of the biggest being the decision to eat more healthfully, and my determination to actually get in shape. I started my journey when I decided to quit eating sugar at the beginning of the year. I set a goal and then worked toward that goal, one day at a time. I met that goal, with a great side effect of losing some weight. I will admit that I do now eat things with sugar in them (I love chocolate), but I am more mindful of when and how much I choose to eat.
My next goal was/is to actually become physically fit. People look at me when I say that I need to get in shape, and say “you look like you are in shape”. Looks are deceiving! Definitely a long way from being in shape. So began the journey. Once again, as I had with my first goal, I let others know what I was planning to do so that my friends and family could help keep me accountable. Right down the street from my home, a park is being created with a trail that encircles it. Interestingly enough the distance from my front door, around the park and back, is exactly 3.1 miles (or roughly 5K). My oldest daughter is a cross country runner, and I admire how she can run for miles and miles seemingly effortlessly. I decided that I was going to tackle the trail, and set out the first day thinking “I can do this, I’ll just run slowly”. I headed up the street, music coursing through my IPhone, at a brisk jog. I made it about 100 yards before thinking I was going to die!! I slowed to a walk, but kept going. I would jog for a short distance, then walk, then try to jog again. I finished the course making it back to my front yard before collapsing on the front yard. I had downloaded a running app so that I could track my progress. The first time around the trail my mile pace was 12:38 minutes, roughly the same time my daughter can run a little more than 2 miles. Not a great start, but I took it one step at a time and didn’t give up. I continued my journey, setting a goal of a 10 minute mile pace. Day by day, one step after another, I have pushed myself toward that goal. I’m almost there – 3 days ago I looked at my results for the day’s run only to see that my pace was 10:01! So close, but I am determined to actually hit 10:00 minutes or under. My journey is just in the beginning stages, nowhere near the “thousand miles”, but I am proud to say that I have run more than 84 miles in the last couple of months. That is more than I have run in my entire life to date!
All this is to say that whoever you are, 20 year old college student, 50+ working woman/mother (like me!), senior citizen, it’s never too late to choose to get fit. I encourage you to take that first step, you never know where it may lead!
-Cathie F. | Team AVAC