A Return to Adventure!

50 Hikes in 12 Months

Fitness: I’m A Runner

I have never been much of a fitness buff. In high school I was in the marching band (yes, I was a band geek). I was not a natural athlete, so running or cycling or swimming or tennis or basketball were just not on my list of things to do for fun. This mindset carried on until I got older.

The Challenge

In my 30’s my mother challenged our family to run a half-marathon. My first thought was, “She’s crazy.” The only way I could imagine myself running was if a big man or a big dog were chasing me. Even then, I doubt I would run 13.1 miles to escape. At some point, I would have just given up and let the dog gnaw on my leg and the big man take my purse.

My mother was no fool, so she offered us a bribe. If we actually trained, we would get an all expense trip to run in Phoenix, Arizona’s Inaugural Rock-n-Roll Half-Marathon. Hmmmm….I had never been to Phoenix before and if running would get me there then maybe I should give this some serious thought. She knew she had me hooked and the training began.

The Training

My first run was a painful and gasping experience. I thought I was going to keel over. My mother and sister encouraged me and offered running tips. I both appreciated and despised their advice during our running sessions. It was frustrating to be so bad at running yet during each outing I could tell I was getting better. Well, by better I mean less grouchy and windbag gaspy.

I remember the first time we had to cancel a training run and actually missing the feeling of running. I wondered if I was going loco. I should be thrilled that I didn’t have to put myself through another torturous run, but I was actually sad about it. That’s when I knew that maybe there was a runner in me after all.

The Race

The only picture I could find of me running the Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Marathon

The only picture I could find of me running the Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Marathon

The morning of the Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon was mild by Texas and Arizona standards. The highs were expected to be in the lower 70’s. My sister stayed with me up until around mile 3 when I told her to go ahead and run at her own pace. I knew I was going to slow in comparison to my mom, brother and sister so I was already prepared to run at my own tortoise pace.

Between mile 7-9, I hit that wall that everyone talks about. My mind and body started an all out complaint fest: “This isn’t fun anymore. I’m tired. Who thought this was a good idea?” There are more thoughts that are of the Rated R variety that floated around in my head. Luckily we had trained using the John Galloway 5/1 method. I ran (slow jogged) for 5 minutes then walked 1 minute. I did that for the whole 13.1 miles. So during the mile 7-9 wall period, I tricked myself by saying, “You only have to run for 5 minutes.” This mind trickery got me out of that slump and back on track. By mile 11, I felt like I was on top of the world.

The Finish

I finished that 13.1 miles in about 3 hours, 6 minutes and 51 seconds. It wasn’t great time by normal standards, but to me who had never done anything like this is was a very beautiful thing. I wore my finishers medal with great sense of accomplishment. It was with head-held-high-and-chest-puffed-out pride that I told family and friends “I’m a runner” whenever they mentioned how great I looked. That started a period of time for me of running. I completed 3 half-marathons and countless 5K’s and enjoyed the experience of being a runner.

 

Making the Announcement


On this fall-like morning I road my bike to a neighborhood trail. As I walked in the early morning light, I took the opportunity to recorded this audio post. It seems fitting that this quiet start marks the beginning of what I predict will be a whirlwind of change in my life.

What is the Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest?

You may be wondering how you found yourself here. And I am not just talking about here on this site. I am talking about the place you are at this exact moment. No not the office chair or sofa where you are sitting comfortably. How did you wind up at the exact health, fitness and beauty state you are in right now?

The Wild Years

When I asked myself this question many images and thoughts floated around in my head. I thought about binge drinking in my 20’s. Eating habits that were less than healthy (Whataburger has me to thank, in part,  for their continued success). In my younger days, I tried diets and the latest ephedrine based pill that would “melt those pounds off and give me energy to last all day!” I went to “Diet Dr’s” who gave me prescription pills for weight loss along with a Vitamin B-12 shot to give me a boost. Sure, I’d loose a few pounds and feel great until I stopped taking those pills. The truth was, I was not disciplined in anything I was doing.

Growing Up

My 30’s were a time of great spiritual, emotional and mental satisfaction. The binge drinking of youth turned into the more mature occasional social drinking and the dieting yo-yo was put on permanent hold.  My health improved but I still considered it in a state of flux. Nothing too dramatic. Just not what I considered ideal. From teen to adult I was dissatisfied with body image, but looking back I can see that it really wasn’t bad at all. There are so many societal pressures on what anyone should and shouldn’t look like that we miss the beauty that is there plain as day. Hindsight is truly 20/20.

Personal Enlightenment

image by Karen Arnold

image by Karen Arnold

In my 40’s I think I have found what I consider to the sweet spot. At least a state of being that I consider the sweet spot. At this age, I have confidence in who I am as a human being on planet earth. I can honestly say, “I like who I am.” You may think that statement is no big deal, but for me it was profound.

I am in a place and time where I want to be the best version of myself that is possible. Now that doesn’t mean I want to look like a super model or even like the latest Hollywood It Girl. Not by a long shot. What it means to me is being healthy, physically fit and my own unique version of beautiful.

This is a new mindful and purpose filled direction. Having fun is key. The goal is lifestyle based which can be sustained for a lifetime. As I move forward, I am prepared to be fluid and adjust as I learn more about myself and increase my health, fitness and beauty knowledge.

When I was sharing my vision with some friends recently they expressed an interest in joining the conversation. So, what started out as a one-woman journey has become a collective adventure. I am thrilled they are joining me in this quest and hope you will consider adding your own voice to the story.

UPDATE:

The response to the Health, Fitness, Beauty Quest has been overwhelmingly positive. I thank you for your support, words of encouragement and sharing your own stories. Below is the post from Facebook along with all of your wonderful comments.

HFBQ FB Post