From a young age, I’ve consistently struggled with being overweight. For a few years during and after college I was at a very unhealthy weight for my small frame, but for the most part, I’ve always been borderline overweight, always on the heavier end of healthy, and always with heavy thighs.
As with most chubby kids, I hated running. I used my asthma to get out of running our daily Phys Ed mile when it was cold. My dad, a track coach, desperately wanted me to be a runner. We tried sprints. Nope. Middle distances. Nope. Long distances. Not even on the radar. I became quite the little race-walker around age 9, but decided it wasn’t worth it, and took up tennis instead.
After losing 30 lbs a few years out of college, I realized running was the single best way to lose weight, and began running a few miles most mornings, until plantar fasciitis hit me so hard I thought I had broken my foot. It was the first time I really wanted to run, and although I took it much more slowly when recovered, I never lost that spark of desire to run. Over the next several years I was a sporadic runner, in between cardio kick & body pump classes, I was running a mile or two, at most, a week.
In business school, I gained weight again. Under a ton of stress, enjoying free food, and in a new relationship, I gained 15 lbs in a year. Like a gift from God, the Pittsburgh Marathon was debuting its first race in 10 years only a few weeks before I finished the other toughest thing I’d ever done: adding MBA after my name. I signed up with nearly 6 months to get myself into shape to run it, and began training with the run/walk method.
Since then, I’ve completed 4 half marathons, all of them with some version of run/walk. The most I’ve ever run without walk sections is 8 miles, which was during my last half, the 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. My IT Band is a constant pain in the @$$, almost literally, which makes the run/walk method more accessible. It allows me to go further, and faster, than if I simply ran.
I hesitate to call myself a runner most of the time, but then I remember that I’ve completed 4 half marathons, and it doesn’t really matter how I did them. I’m not trying to win anything, not even an age group. I’m doing it because it keeps me motivated and I love how I feel when I’m done (well the adrenaline, not the aching body).
So there it is, my biggest fitness confession: I’m a run/walk-er!
What’s your fitness confession? And for runners, do run/walkers offend you?