I’ve never really been athletic, especially growing up. Stuffing my face with a dangerous combo of fast and junk food, and barely moving other than to change the TV channel (remember, hardly any sets had remotes in the 70’s), I had the misfortune of being a chubby kid. The pictures from that time have long been disposed, since my stepmother moved into the local senior community and our stuff from home was unceremoniously dumped into a storage locker, then thrown out altogether. I’m not shedding any tears.
But since high school and college, I’ve tried to be as healthy as possible. After losing 25 pounds at sixteen, I’ve been more or less at the same weight. My diet is way healthier, as I aim for a more vegetarian diet, but there are certain foods I won’t give up – chocolate desserts, fresh-baked bread (white or multigrain), regular cheese, ice cream, Mexican anything and bacon. Gluten-free? Sugar-free? Won’t go there.
I also started running. Now, I don’t have a runner’s body at all, unlike my husband:
But I don’t just run…I do weights, aerobics, yoga, hiking, biking and skiing. Lately I’ve just discovered Zumba (even totally clumsy, uncoordinated me can amazingly do this). But somehow, I managed to run and complete one marathon last year, the Rock n Roll Arizona. When I got to mile 16, shown below, I somehow knew I was going to make it. Even though I felt like I was not going to live to see my next birthday:
My second marathon attempt in St. George, Utah, wasn’t as successful. At mile 20, probably because of the constant downhill pounding on my already beaten up knees and weak ankles, my feet just couldn’t take it anymore. I plopped down on the pavement, with a beautiful view of the russet cliffs in the distance, fewer and fewer people passing me by, before a rescue van hauled me off. It was not pretty.
Yeah, I still yo-yo up and down the scale – particularly during these cold winter months when the inclination to stay indoors and comfortable surpasses the one to run in near-freezing temps. And there are some days I wonder why I do this apparent toll on my aging body.
But even for a supposed non-runner like me, it’s something that makes me feel alive and vital…even if I look like a weathered old draught horse and not the thoroughbred that’s in my imagination.