I’ve been postponing making a first entry in this blog, as the decision of what to say first was weighing heavily on my brain. I went through tons of ideas and just couldn’t pick out where to begin. Luckily for me (and hopefully you!), something happened yesterday that ended all of the useless planning.
I ran my first race!
Now in the blogging world, that may not seem like such a big accomplishment. But it is. Let me explain.
I used to be overweight. I’m about 5’6″ and at my heaviest, I weighed about 232 lbs (though my doctor told me after I had already accepted this as my start weight that I had actually weighed closer to 240 lbs at a previous visit…). As you can imagine, I was really unhappy. All of my pictures looked a lot like this:
Now as you can see, this girl to the left is smiling. Heck, she even is giving the thumbs up sign. But she isn’t happy and it shows. I literally felt trapped in this body. I always felt tired and sick, though at the time, I had no idea why. You see, I had always been this way. My whole family is this way. Overweight, unhappy and lost.
I won’t get into the weight loss story here, as that is a post in itself. The fact of the matter is that this girl to my left had a saying: “Alexa doesn’t run.” I really used to say that. My co-worker is a very serious, competitive runner. He does crazy things like run the Boston Marathon. He was always encouraging me to give it a try and I would just say with a very serious face, “Alexa doesn’t run.”
You see, running and I have had it out for each other for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I wasn’t capable of running in the relay races because I would have coughing attacks. They may have even been psychosomatic, as I got teased relentlessly for being slow. I was always the last picked for teams in gym and in middle school, the thing I despised about P.E. the most was the dreaded mile run. I think I only passed it ONCE. In 6th grade. With a D- time. Eventually I gave up even trying to run the thing and I would simply walk the 2.5 times around the block that the mile comprised. Most of the time, the gym teacher would say something like, “Oh jeez. We don’t have time to wait for you if you’re not going to even bother to try. Just sit down.”
Hey, works for me. Now instead of having to run around the block, I only had to walk around it once! Score for the fat kid!
Anyway, since those youthful days of shame and teasing, I have changed. About 3 years ago I started on the path of cleaning up my lifestyle and I lost somewhere in the ballpark of 90lbs. I’ve put maybe 15lbs back on over the last year, but I’ve maintained most of the loss and I certainly didn’t give up on the healthy lifestyle. Though I have had lapses, I’ve still tried to keep myself active. I walk 3+ miles to work when I can. Last year, I learned how to swim (yes, you read correctly, at 27 years old, I didn’t know how to swim…and I live in a coastal area…). I have a gym membership. I hike. But running? Eh….no.
I tried to like running. I went back to my old middle school and made myself run around the block. Sort of battling old demons, you know? Nope. Still hated it. I tried to get into it on the treadmill several times, but I just couldn’t make myself finish C25K. I hated the treadmill. How boring. A couple of months ago, however, I decided to try something. I had a theory. Maybe I didn’t need to face old demons or run in place for 30 minutes. Maybe I needed a whole new experience. So I put on my running shoes and took off for “The Panhandle”, a stretch of park in San Francisco that, well, looks like the handle of a pan. I tried to jog it. It was painful. I had to stop a lot….but you know, I didn’t hate it. Over the next few weeks, I kept trying and I got better.
Hey, maybe this running thing isn’t so bad.
I’ve been doing this run for a while now and I’ve gotten myself up to a 2.5-3 mile course. Only problem is that I still have to take walking breaks. These breaks really slow my pace down and they sort of made me think that I was no where near ready to run a race. But all around me, people in the blog would run races. My co-worker runs races. Maybe I could run a race. I ended up picking a really small 5K to try — The Marina Green 5K. It is put on by a local running club, Dolphin South End Runners. They put on a race almost every week that is low key and cheap (read: $5 for a non-member!).
I went back and forth about whether or not I would show up. I had been feeling pretty sick on Saturday and I got NO sleep the night before the race, thanks to my cat Cosette (Cosie, for short!) finding a moth in my apartment to hunt all night. Cosie, I love you, but you are too darned loud!
In the end, I decided to go. Though it is my normal tendency to not tell anyone about my goals in case I fail (yeah, I know, unhealthy…), I actually had told several people about my intent to run this race, so I really didn’t want to let anyone down. Most of all, I didn’t want to let myself down. After all, there was nothing to lose…no matter what my time ended up being, it would still end up being my PR, right?!
So I decided to do this thang!
Breakfast: One slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and 1/2 banana. 1 cup of coffee (not pictured)
Observing the crowd:
Nervous…I am going to run a race?! What?!
170 out of 205 runners; 33:17 total; 10:44 pace
(and I ran the WHOLE thing! No walking breaks, baby!)
The moral of this story?
Alexa DOES run!