This Adult Onset Athlete’s Story

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Were you this girl? The one that avoided running at all costs? The one that hated running? The one picked last for any team? The one that went far out into the outfield when we had to play, praying that no one would hit anything out there, because she couldn’t hit, catch, or run?

Yup, that girl was me. I didn’t run track in school. In fact, one year I picked track during PE classes because the teachers never checked on us. You could choose between several different options. We’d walk out to the track, and sit on it and talk.

When I got married I wore my sister’s dress — she’s taller than me, but I had to diet so that I could fit into that dress. I was successful, but it wasn’t long after getting married that the pounds started to pile back on.

Was that when I started running? No. I joined Weight Watchers. I became a lifetime member and a leader. Only I still struggled with my weight.

Was that when I started running? No. As time went by, despite eating relatively healthy and being active, the pounds piled on again. I stopped going to Weight Watchers. I didn’t have a scale, but I knew roughly what I weighed. And I knew it wasn’t healthy.

Was that when I started running? No.

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I didn’t feel good about myself at this weight

Then it was time to try to find an attractive dress for my niece’s Bat Mitzvah. Which was an utter fail. I ended up with a — you guessed it — black dress. Hoping no one would see how heavy I’d become. As if black was a cloak of invisibility. A cut on my face got infected and I had to go to a doctor and step on a scale. I was at my heaviest weight ever.

Was that when I started running? No. But that is when I went back to Weight Watchers. And the pounds started to come off. I knew I had to keep going to meetings the rest of my life (and I still go to weekly meetings).

Was that when I started running? No. Not until I hit the dreaded plateau. The mother of all plateaus that lasted literally years. That’s when I started to run. I figured I needed something to help me push through my plateau.

I was in my late 40s when I ran my first mile. I was never going to race — heck, for the longest time I only ran on my treadmill. And then I decided to do a 5k. It was slow, and it wasn’t the life changing event so many people said it would be, but I didn’t die. And I finished. And I kept on running.

I was never going to run longer. I did a couple more 5ks. The bug still hadn’t really hit, but I kept running. I was fast approaching my 50th birthday when I got this bee in my bonnet about running a half marathon. As it turns out, four days after my 50th birthday I ran my second half marathon.

I was so sure I’d be one and done; heck, I felt that way about that first 5k!

Now I am 16 states into running a half marathon in every state.

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I will freely admit running wasn’t the weight loss magic bullet I thought it would be. I continued to yo-yo for a while, even gaining weight training for my first half marathon. But I kept running. I’ve been running about nine years now. I did eventually lose another ten pounds to get to — and maintain — my goal weight. Running actually helps me maintain my weight now, but that’s because I’ve learned more about fueling properly.

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Running friends

I would never give up running now. It makes me feel good — that’s why I run. The fact that I can eat a little more is just the cherry on top. It’s brought me many friends and lead me to explore many cool places.

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Seeing the States by running

Running has built my confidence more than almost anything else in life. Even as a slow runner. Even as a runner who has never won an age group award, and probably never will.

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Redding Road Race 2014

I didn’t discover Skirt Sports until about 2013. I had tried other running skirts, but even though I wasn’t heavy, the shorties rode up or they gave me wedgies or even worse — no pockets! I was always of the opinion that looking good made me feel more confident, but it wasn’t always easy to find bottoms that looked cute on me. I ran my first half marathon in a Skirt Sports skirt in 2014, and have gone on to race in a skirt often. And to convert my friends to Skirt Sports, too.

The real reason I run is simple though: it makes me happy. I always feel better after a run.

Do you think you can’t run? You can, if you want to. And if you don’t want to, that’s cool too. There are many ways to be active. If you want to run, and that little voice inside your head or your friends or partner is telling you you can’t — don’t listen. If you want to, you can, I promise you.

I always say that if I can do it, anyone can. I truly believe that.

Talk to me:

Why did you start to run?

What’s your favorite thing about running?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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38 thoughts on “This Adult Onset Athlete’s Story

  1. Love this! Yeah running is hard. It’s fickle. But IMO there’s no better confidence builder. Running at any pace is a super power. Kudos to you for making it part of your healthy lifestyle.

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    1. Thanks, Marcia. I totally agree (obviously) — running changes your life.

      I volunteered in the training group for our large women’s 5k yesterday. I “ran” with a woman who was a few years older than me, fairly overweight, and had never run a step in her life before. She made it. And I told her I expect to see here next week. I hope she comes back! There are quite a few people in the group who know others, but she didn’t know anyone. And I knew by herself she would have felt really discouraged.

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    1. It’s really kind of funny the reasons we start running — and how they’re rarely the reasons we keep running!

      Thank you, Meranda. It’s hard to love yourself when your overweight — especially when you were brought up with parents that put great importance on appearances (and they weren’t exactly thin, either) — but I also know that the most important thing for weight loss is to love yourself. It takes a lot of work!

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    1. I have been on & off with gyms. I’ve belonged to a few gyms, some for years, some for a year or so, but in the end, I really find it simplest to work out at home.

      But today’s yoga strength training class was HARD. And the instructor is 6 months pregnant!

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  2. I love this …every single word and emotion! I, too, started running in an effort to lose those last few pounds that wouldn’t seem to come off after a couple of years of dieting and gym going. And like you, what I found in running was so much more than the weight loss and that is what has kept me running all these years. Great post, inspiring story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this. ❤ Sounds like we both learned some valuable lessons from running. Running built my confidence more than I ever expected. I got back into it the year I turned 38 and haven't looked back since. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I seriously don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t gain confidence from running — except maybe the runners who are always injured or maybe some of the elites (pressure, losing).Thanks, Jen!

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  4. I loved learning your running story! I didn’t realize you haven’t been running that long. I will never win an age award either, lol! I hope that as long as I stay healthy, I’ll be able to run for the rest of my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always had to run with sports in high school and college, but I hated it. I had to find this running thing on my own, and did so after I moved to Texas. I’d gotten out of shape, and wanted to get fit again. I was so stressed at my first job because I wasn’t working out to blow off steam.

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  6. I love the title of this, and how you keep asking if that was when you started running! My brother and I always raced when we were little, but he always won since he is four years older than me. I joined the high school track team as an eighth grader (high school was grades 7-12) when my brother talked my parents into letting me join since he could drive me home from practice (we lived a long way from school and he was a senior and on the boys’ track team).

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    1. Hmm, your brother kind of sounds like mine. Only he convinced me to take Physics the same year as him — me a sophomore, him a senior. He promised he’d help, but we had different teachers who taught the course differently. Man, did I struggle through that!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You have such an inspiring story! I was raised to believe (not from my family, but from my gym teachers) that to be a runner meant you had to be a fast runner. I always hated running because I didn’t have any magical natural “speed.” It took me a LONG time to figure things out, but I’m glad I finally did about 13 years ago LOL

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  8. I love hearing everyones running journey. Thank you so much for sharing yours with us! I did track for one season in high school, but other than that, I never considered myself a runner. I always did other sports and fitness activities when I was younger. I got into running about 7 years ago and that’s when it all clicked for me!

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    1. I was not into sports when I was young, and by the time I was in HS, I really didn’t do anything active other than walk a lot.

      When I was younger I swam, but as I got older I was involved in too many other activities (none of them active!) & working part time, too.

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  9. Your story is so incredibly inspiring! It is never too late to start running or make healthy lifestyle changes- what a cool journey you’ve been on. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s so great that you found something that you enjoy and makes you happy that is also good for you! I started running to lose a little weight around the end of college but eventually it become about so much more than that. This is such an inspiring story!

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  11. What a wonderful, uplifting story! You should be so proud of yourself. I started running when I was 46, and my youngest son (I have 3) graduated from high school. I needed something to fill in the time I spent watching all my kids play sports! So glad I did!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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