Monday, September 5, 2011

Returning to Running in Middle Age

Somewhere inside of me is the skinny runner I used to be -- the one who could run a mile in close to 5 minutes, who for a short time in college ran 70 miles a week, and who completed the Boston Marathon, albeit as an unofficial entry.

I am 25 pounds heavier, and a decade older, than when I last ran for fitness, and 40 pounds heavier than when I ran competitively. But I've still got decent form, and somewhere in my muscles is the memory of what it feels like to be strong and confident in my body.

I have recently started a variation of the popular Couch to 5K program, alternating walking and running for a 30 minute workout. My old self would have scoffed at what I count as a workout these days. What I consider serious running now would have been a mere warm up for my younger self.

I am determined to claw my way back to fitness, or some version of it. I was a relatively active person before becoming a mother; I exercised regularly at the gym during the week and in the winter I skied every weekend. And I kept up some semblance of a fitness routine in the early years of motherhood. When my first child was still able to be confined to a stroller, I would strap her in and walk and walk. But as she became more active, somehow I became less. My priorities changed, and working-out just kept getting pushed down the list.

My daughters are older now. They can work-out with me (as they sometimes do) or be left alone for short periods of time as I walk-jog around the neighborhood. It's time to return to a healthier me.

I'm at the age where my biological mother began to get heavier, and in the past year especially my body has begun to move in that direction. Is biology my destiny, or can I successfully fight back with diet and exercise? I don't need or want to be a twig, but this body I am walking around in these days doesn't feel like mine. I'll never be the runner I once was; those days are past. But I'm sure there's an older-but-fit version of myself in me somewhere. I am working my way toward her one day, and one workout, at a time.

9 comments:

  1. I am right with you on this! I have been going to the gym and feel stronger actually then I did when I was much thinner and much younger. Weght wise I have found that three pregancies, one when I was 6 months from 40 really hurt. That and I have a tremondous amount of stress, and have used food to help! Not a great plan. I have been slowly getting there, but I feel like it is three steps foward and two back. I do know a few women though who really started to run seriously in theri 30's and 40's so I'm hopeful. Thanks for the post! Good luck and I look foward to reading about your journey!

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  2. Thank for the companionship, Kathy. And good luck to you, too!

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  3. Good for you! Running is something I don't like to do, but truly feel the most vibrant and healthy when I accomplish it! I run with a friend and that keeps me motivated!

    Brooke
    www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

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  4. Good for you! I started running after the birth of my second son, ten years ago. I needed something to keep me sane and running helped me find my balance.

    Now I'm actually in better shape than I was in my twenties! So I'm you, but the other way around!

    I'm sure you can become a runner again, and wish you lots of success!

    (Found you through Voiceboks by the way!)

    Mom's Home Run

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  5. Way to go! I need to do the same. Maybe you'll be my inspiration!

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  6. Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement!

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  7. I can relate...somewhat. I'm a runner. Always have been since high school. But something happened over the years and especially when I became a mom. My body changed. I aged. Running got harder. I'm happy I haven't fully given up on it though. In fact, I'm training to run my very first half marathon in October. I've been training for a few months and I think I'm more or less ready for it. It's my own personal run for God's glory. He's worked in powerful ways in my life. Life is often like running a race...a marathon even...so I thought signing up for a half marathon would be a symbolic way to glorify God, knowing He will carry me through just as He does in life. Anyway, you have a lovely blog. It's nice to connect with you through voiceboks.

    Blessings,
    Rosann
    http://www.christiansupermom.com/

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  8. Wow, good for you! It seems as if we were having the same kind of thoughts this week. ;) Thanks for commenting on my post on Bloggy Moms and for following me. :) I'm returning the favor as your newest follower.

    ...perhaps we'll be able to motivate each other?

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  9. I think it's important not to confuse weight (and body image) issues with fitness issues. Increasingly, I am seeing reports that show these as two separate things.

    I weighed the same from high school until age 33 or so. Then I went through a lifestyle and diet change that added 15 pounds in a few months. I asked my doctor about it, and he said,"Oh, well, you are just sacking too many groceries."

    Three decades later, I've never gotten down to that former weight, in part because I do a lot of "emotional eating" as a stress reliever. That's a difficult situation, especially when I know now the health hazards of my food choices, and have FINALLY learned that I need to stick to a low-sugar goods to fend off the possibility of diabetes.

    On the other hand, I am probably more fit than I ever was, but not as fit as I would like to be. Logically, it seems that the two (fitness/weight) would be more connected, but I can't see that they are.

    So, I wonder if adoptees have different concerns about body image than non-adoptees?

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