Will Run For Cupcakes
Everyone runs for a reason. I run for cupcakes.
I used to be one of those kids that could eat anything. I was 105 pounds and eating double lunches everyday. I ate constantly, but I was active and I suppose I burned a lot of calories. I danced. I did gymnastics. I walked everywhere. (I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19, so I pretty much had to.) One thing I never did was run. I just couldn't do it and I didn't like it. In fact, a friend talked me into signing up for basketball in the 6th grade. I went to the first practice excited to learn to play the game, but the coach made us do non-stop running exercises instead. I faked ill halfway through the first practice and never went back.
Fast forward to age 41: almost 200 pounds, and trying to cope with the loss of four consecutive pregnancies. I was tired. Fat. And I felt like crap. But boy, the cupcakes were yummy.
One day I saw a photo of a person on Facebook that I didn't recognize. After a few seconds, I realized it was me. A fat version of me. And I knew at that moment that something had to be done. But what? I hated exercise. I hated the gym. I gave away many, many dollars to gym contracts that I never used. So, now what?
And then I stumbled on virtual races online. I love prizes and trophies. In fact, my math-lete trophy from 1988 is still proudly on display in my home. Without hesitation, I signed up for my first virtual 5k. On that first day, I couldn't run to the end of the block, but I tried. An hour later, I finished my first 5k by mostly walking. I felt great, and the finisher medal made me feel even better. That night I made a rack to display my medals and I signed up for several more virtual 5ks and a 50 mile challenge. For the next few months, I kept a workout pattern of trying-to-run-but-mostly-walking. And then one day, and I am not really sure how, I ran a mile and a half without stopping. It was slow, but I did it.
I am still a work in progress, but I now consider myself a runner. I made it through weeks of shin splints and foot pain. I read a lot of articles online and figured out proper-ish form and now I run.
And I like it.
Running gives me time to clear my head and get out that "nervous energy". I am down several sizes. I have calf muscles. And I no longer feel like I am going to die when I walk up a flight of stairs.
Virtual 5ks and challenges helped me be a better version of myself. I have an awesome collection of medals to display, and a whole new wardrobe, too. If you have never done a virtual running/walking event, I highly recommend you try one. You never know--you may someday love running, too. And, what's even better, you will burn enough calories to eat a cupcake here and there without guilt.