My journey includes running
Up until 4 years ago, I was largely inactive and eating too much food. As a result, I was significantly overweight. I wasn't just a couch potato, I was pretty much a couch. This isn't a crack at being overweight, but a comparison. Like a couch, I was fluffy, probably covered in a layer of dust from lack of movement, and comfortable enough to have a nap on.
Then about 4 years ago, I was having a rough couple of months where there were quite a few things I was unhappy about but couldn't control. So in an attempt to have some control over something, I signed up for MyFitnessPal to track my eating and for a gym membership to increase my activity.
You see, the easiest part of weight loss is that if you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. While I can't say weight loss was my entire goal, it was certainly a primary factor. And it was fairly easy for me to lose weight because as I was eating so much and exercising not at all, changing those two factors even a little bit made a lot of difference.
I had often had running dreams. Not the kind where you are running from monsters and bears, but more Chariots of Fire dreams - running for the joy of it.
As an aside, the music in this video is also about the only thing I can play on the piano.
Anyway, I never thought I could actually run so those dreams would just be dreams, but then I read about Couch to 5k programs. These programs start you off running for 30 seconds at a time and then walking for 90 seconds and repeating that a number of times with the ultimate goal for you to be able to run a full 30 minutes without walking. That first session nearly killed me, or at least felt like it would.
Running is a good way to burn calories. It is said that you can't outrun a bad diet, and that's definitely true. A person can lose weight without ever exercising, but if you do the math, then running a bit means you can eat more calories and I was for that.
Over the next 10 weeks, I ran 3 days a week following a podcast that told me when to run and when to walk. I signed up for a local 5k race to have a goal to aim towards. In preparation for the race, I trained as I needed to. I also ordered myself a medal and trophy. You see, I was never involved in sports after softball in 5th grade and so didn't have any participation awards. And as much as we make fun of them, there is definitely something about the prospect of getting them that can spur a person on. In that first race, I finished with a ridiculously slow time. I would have been dead last except for this lovely 70+ year old man who literally ran backwards for part of the race so that I wouldn't be last. I love him. Then, I made my work colleagues present me with the trophy and medal. Evidence follows:
Since then I've run a lot of races and gotten a lot of medals. Each one of these is a participation award because there was definitely no winning involved. But each one of them is important to me because they are evidence that I kept at it. Up until 4 years ago, I pretty much quit anything that was difficult. And for me, running is difficult. But I keep at it. That's what these medals mean to me.