I'm doing something totally out of character. I'm running a 5k. In the past I've walked 5ks. I've enjoyed other ways of being active; Zumba, yoga, swimming… But until fairly recently, I've never run more than a few steps in a row – and those rare instances were usually an emergency situation, like trying to get the last piece of cake or something.
Recently I gained a whole bunch of weight. Right around when my dad was super sick and right after he passed I gained about 30+ lbs. Now I've always been chubby to fat, but healthy and reasonably active. Well, between grief, and weight gain, and being more sedentary than usual I was feeling really yucky. I knew I needed to make some changes, but that was so much easier said than done.
Around April I cut out sugar (except for some occasional indulgences) and drastically cut back on processed carbohydrates. I made a list of goals that help me feel more alive and fulfilled – like getting outside every day, cooking food for my family, or adult time with friends.
As I started to feel more like myself I searched for other changes or challenges and I started doing the Couch 2 5K program. This is an interval program that teaches anyone without running experience how to run-ish. I used a phone app that follows the program and prompts you to run for a minute then walk for several minutes and gradually ups your running time. Let me tell you, those first minutes were the longest minutes of my freaking life. I was sure I wasn't cut out for this. But I kept at it and slowly but surely I've worked up to running for 25 minutes straight. Granted I'm VERY slow, but i'm doing it. As my mother so poetically put it: I'm slower than a turtle stampeding through peanut butter, but I run. Or jog. Or walk/jog/wog.
Well, as part of the program and to keep me goal oriented, I signed up for a 5k in November:The PanCan Purple Stride. As you probably know, my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer in February. I thought this was a fitting way to honor him as I work my way out of the hole left by his departure – both physically and emotionally. My goal is to run/jog/wog the whole thing, which I'm still training towards. But I'm proud of myself for getting as far as I have. I'll consider it a success even if it takes me an hour.
I'm doing this for my dad. For my kids. And of course, for myself. I'm grateful for the support network that has gotten me through and all the wonderful things I have to live for. I know my dad was so grateful for all the blessing in our lives, and that's what I want to carry with me now that his physical presence is gone. Send me good energy on November 7th!
Sandra Telep is a West Philadelphia mom of two. This post is adapted from her blog, West Philly Mama.