Becoming a “runner” is about the last thing I ever expected to happen to me.
But I get it now. I don't think I've quite hit a full runner's high, but I've been close. There's just something about going out and putting your feet in the road.
A year ago, when we started our workplace fitness initiatives here at the paper, walking more than a mile tired me. And running? Yeah right.
In fall 2011, my car broke down, so I started walking and taking the bus, and I lost about 20 pounds throughout a few months.
I joined Woodcreek Athletic Club on Jan. 11 and got to work on my fitness and diet.
Sometime in February, I'd lost about 40 pounds total and decided to throw in a few laps of running when I put in my miles.
In March, I thought I might keel over in my first real 5K. (I walked one two years ago and only beat a woman pushing a stroller.) The next month, I'd dropped about 50 pounds total and worked up to not dying at the end of a 5K with a little running and improved my time to 53 minutes. (And I did a two-hour Zumbathon the same day.)
But I started having problems with my feet. They hurt no matter what I was doing or what shoes I tried.
After taking back several pairs, I had new Nikes, which were OK for a couple of weeks before I started having the same pains. In May, I suffered through the Komen and brought in my worst time all year — 61 minutes.
Then I read about barefoot running after I saw these strange Fila Skeletoes at a store. (They're the cheap woman's Vibram FiveFingers.) I tried them, and they changed my life. My feet never hurt, and I run, jump, dance, do everything in them.
Somewhere during the summer, I achieved a milestone of running one mile without stopping. This fall, I ran three 5Ks, two of them with next to no walking and hit the 75-pound milestone.
In early November, I hit a sweet spot of running three miles without stopping. By December, I'd progressed to more than four miles. I felt powerful, knowing that I could make my body move that far at a speed faster than mosey. Running has become a bit addictive.
I hit a personal record of just more than 41 minutes at the Turkey Trot, nothing to write home about for most, but it's 19 minutes faster than it was at the start of 2012.
And considering how far I've come — losing 101 pounds in just more than a year, dropping my body fat by 10 percentage points, having more good food days than bad, going from walking 5Ks to running the entire distance and thinking about a half-marathon — 41 minutes sounds pretty sweet.
Now I just have one question: Why are people honking at me?
Seriously, the first time I ran outside, someone honked at me and yelled something I couldn't hear over my iPod. I assumed it was, “Get off the road.”
Then it kept happening, and I'd like to think not everyone is judging my fat rolls jiggling around as I jog down the sidewalk.
However, I can't imagine why I keep getting honked at. Does this happen to other runners? It's not like I'm about to get hit or in anyone's way when it happens.
If it's someone I know honking to say hello, please tell me the next time you see me.
My mother says that someone thinks I'm cute, but I think that fall into the “Now that you've lost 100 pounds, you'll magically find a husband” fallacy.
Maybe some drivers really are making fun of my still-chubby self bouncing along. (Those are probably the ones who never have to work out and will never have to worry about a weight problem.)
But I'd like to think maybe people are cheering me on.