I grew up as the tiny kid for my age in small towns in Alberta. Like lots of small town Canadian girls I figure skated and watched my brother play hockey, in between summer swimming lessons. Cycling was a form of transportation, swimming was a good way to goof off, and running was something that sadistic PhysEd teachers made us do. I ran a 1 mile XC race in Grade 7 and it was SO exhausting (plus I came in almost last).
I played a little corporate social volleyball and dabbled in living room aerobics in my twenties before kiddos came along, but really never thought of myself as an athlete. When the munchkins were little I started walking with a neighbor once in a while for sanity. It occurred to me that I had been gaining a little bit of weight over the years and did the math into my future. If I kept gaining a little more every year I could really have trouble healthwise later. I had been gritting my teeth to a Kathy Smith aerobics tape for months and was getting really bored, and another neighbor invited us to come along with her on a learn to run program she was doing from a book.
The book was “The Beginning Runner’s Handbook” by Ian McNeill et al. The program started with running 30 seconds at a time. Heck, I could do THAT! About half way through the 13 week program I read “The Courage to Start” by John “the Penguin” Bingham, and signed up for one of the Penguin message boards on yahoogroups. Learning to run and hanging out with the Penguins has changed my life – enriched it, stretched it, made it more fun and more worth living.
For the record, I never did lose any weight by beginning running, and I have actually gained some… but the weight’s a whole lot firmer, and in better places!