In 2011, I underwent the first stages of cancer treatment. It was a scary and uncertain time, but the worst part was the unpleasant side effects of the medication I had to take. The worst pain was bone pain, which was excruciating, and exercising was the only way to relieve it. So I chose to act! I started doing aerobic classes, but those required a schedule and time to drive to the gym. I needed something that could work within my schedule, would not be boring and could do on my own.
I chose running.
My husband is a runner, and I used to run in my late 20s and early 30s. I thought it would be easy to jump right back into it, but it was not. So I took a class called “Couch to 5k.” The assumption is that you’ll go from sitting on the couch to running a 5k (three miles) during a community race. When I got to the race, I ran the first block and was immediately red-faced and breathing hard. I was shocked that all those aerobic and ZUMBA classes I took didn’t prepare me for this type of workout. After that race, I started training several times a week until I could easily do the three miles. It took me three months until I was ready, but I did it, and I was hooked.
From there, I decided that if I could do three miles, I could do six, with some more practice. I joined a group of other runners for their support and learning. Quite frankly, most runners will tell you they also like the company. It takes hours to train, and most will talk along the way.
Once I reached my six-mile goal, I went the extra mile and began training for a half marathon, 13.1 miles. That was a challenging task to accomplish, but I did it. I ran two half marathons before moving on to a marathon. I am not speedy, but I am determined, and several times I won my age group in a race — not too many older ladies run these days.
The reality is that I trained. I had support, set goals, and started imagining something more significant than I ever could’ve thought — running a full marathon, 26.2 miles. This required many hours of training and stepping out of my comfort zone. I got the excellent running gear, my favorite shorts, and shoes and ran through beautiful trails. I run regularly with people I enjoy, and I am forever grateful for their support.
As we kick off 2023, we begin with our annual Spirit Week. This upcoming week, I hope you will be mindful of the elements of success. Let’s be grateful for our coworkers, step out of our comfort zones and face the challenges to come together as a team. Let’s get ready to do something big we have only ever imagined.
Happy New Year!