Saturday, January 22, 2011

Enjoyed the sunrise this morning.

Many of my friends ran the St. George 1/2 marathon this morning. Me? well - All I did was a 3 mile run this morning with 2 of my clients that I now consider friends. But it was awesome!

Strange how joining someone on their fitness journey changes a relationship from pure business to being personally invested in their success on the journey and then friends.

We decided to take our run along the La Verkin Overlook - a dirt road just outside of the little town I live in. Very pretty countryside. It's a place where you can watch the sunrise over Zion Canyon and see the reflection of the light hitting Pine Valley's snow-capped peaks to the west Horizon line. GORGEOUS!

I reflected on the how I felt about 3 years ago when I started my journey back into fitness.

My first real steps back to finding me was on this road. It's a symbolic road for me. It symbolizes where I've been and where I am going.

3 years ago I was depressed and out of shape and so miserable. I knew I had hit bottom when I took a walk around my block and passed out, so I decided to start walking on my own with my dog. I also needed a little reflection time for me to just get out of the house and re-charge my soul.

My first day out on La Verkin overlook: I took a trail at the end of the road for nice little hike. This is what was once something I would have considered the easiest hike in the world for me. I got down to the bottom of the first stretch - not even a quarter of a mile. It was time for me to turn around and head back up the hill. I started back up and realized there was no way this out-of-shape lady would make it back up the hill on my own. I called my dogs back over, put them on their leashes, and had them pull me up this "nice easy climb". It scared me. I had gone a long way off from where I was. I LOVED hiking and was not able to do it anymore!

Such a sad place for me.
That's the real beginning of my journey - a hike on La Verkin Overlook.

After that, I began taking daily walks along the dirt road near La Verkin Overlook. I would let my dog run and I would take a slow-paced walk and watch the sunrise over the canyon to the east. I literally felt re-charged by the sunrise. I would take time to reflect and re-charge every morning. Then I started taking an easy little jogging spurt here and there. Once in a while my husband would join in the run/walk and push me a little. I did NOT want to be pushed back then. It only made me more aware of what I was lacking. I could hardly run/walk the 1.5 miles of the road one way.

Today the 3 miles back and forth jog along the road felt like a light and easy workout. Corey and his wife Karyn made the journey fun. We talked and laughed and encouraged each other. I wished my husband was there with us to see the difference in where I had been and where I was now.

Karyn is amazing! Such a powerhouse of a woman pushing herself to keep up with more "seasoned runners". (funny I can say that - sort of). While Cory and I talked about the possibility of future races like the red rock relay and where we want to push in the future.

Karyn amazed me. Way to push girlfriend!

A while after I came home some Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on my door and saw me in my cold weather running gear and we started talking about running. They asked me how far I had run, and I told them, "Just three miles today."

One guy laughed and said, "Just? You must be a serious runner."

I laughed back and said, "I hope to be one day. Three miles is no sweat, but it is not a distance run for me anymore."

It felt great to say that. I then reflected once again on the day I couldn't walk around the block or do a short easy hike on that hill.

To steal from a famous quote, "You've come a LOOONG way baby."

Thank you friends and other runners out there who keep me motivated to keep being more than I was. I appreciate you!

I am doing the 5 mile dam-to-dam in Feb. at Sand Hollow. I know I can finish it just fine. That's something I could not have said just a few years ago.

I HOPE that others starting their fitness journey can learn that it is not about being as fast as the other runners that are years ahead in their training. It is only about YOU. I am not fast, I have not done a marathon (yet). I can't beat TyAnn or Cherie or Liz or Amie - BUT I am not passing out anymore. I am stronger. and ANYONE can do that. that is what is exciting to me!

If you are reading this as a newbie in the running world, I hope you will not get frustrated as you run with others that might be faster than you. Just stick with it and keep track of where you've been. Then in a year take a look at how far you have come! Then in 2 years, and 3 years - where will you be?

My friend Cathy is doing her first Iron Man race at age 40. She lost LOADS of weight and had an amazing YEARS-long fitness journey as well. She inspires me to keep up the journey. I may never compete in an Iron man competition - but I am not ruling it out. Who knows what age 45 or 50 will be like for me? Or who knows where YOU will be in 5-10 years as you continue you fitness journey. Never rule ANYTHING out.

I will be doing the St. George Marathon on my 40th birthday in 2013 since it will be on the same day. I thought that would be a great birthday present to myself. Maybe I will do a marathon before that - who knows. I am not ruling it out. But for SURE on my 40th birthday in 2013 - who wants to party with me along the Marathon route?

What about you?
How will you celebrate your next big Birthday?
It's not too late to start a journey toward a more fit, and happy YOU!
40 is not too late, neither is 60!
Just get up - get out with the sunrise and get moving with the rest of us and all those other crazies!
See you on the road.

- Michelle