It's Never Too Late!
Something really weird happened this last weekend...I did my first 8K...and I actually won my age group!
Now, I did not write this blog to brag - I would hope that if you know me by now, I am pretty quiet about my life. I am writing this because I want to continue a theme from a previous post of mine, "Why I Train." If you haven't had a chance to read it, I basically talk about the fact that I did not grow up as an "athlete" like many trainers do. I often struggle with my self-image today, including that as a trainer. At fourteen, I barely made enough baskets to pass my free throw assessment (was that actually a thing?!), I seriously struggled with flag football, and all I remember about volleyball was "That was your baaaaaaalllllllll!"
All of these negative experiences overshadowed my ability to hang my shrimpy little body during the flexed arm hang for a pretty decent amount of time, my ability to crush the sit-up test, and the fact that I could hang with the track girls on the dreaded one-mile run. But because I never saw myself as "athletic" and no one encouraged me to try out for any team, I just relegated myself to " proud band nerd" (not that there is anything wrong with this - I loved band), and figured I wasn't cut out for any high school sport teams. (Looking back, I feel like my constellation of skillsets might have put me in decent shape for Army basic training). ;)
As I got older, I tried my hand at different activities, most notably running in 5K races. After a brief hiatus, I got back into it this past year and I'm currently rebuilding to my old times. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I said "what the hell" this past week and entered my first 8K run (4.97 miles compared to the 3.1 of a 5K). I wanted to get myself ready for my first 10K (6.2 miles), which I've done only on a treadmill before and never in a road race. So why not. The run took place at my favorite spot - Metro Beach (or, as it's now called "Lake St. Clair Metropark"), so I knew it would at least be enjoyable scenery.
As I started to run, I felt pretty good. I made sure not to start too fast, all hyped up on adrenaline (and, as you know, caffeine!) as I have a tendency to do. As the 8K runners split off from the 5K runners, I felt excited to try something entirely new. I felt great as I passed the 3 and 4 mile markers and, when I saw that finish line, I sprinted through, excited to have accomplished something new. I happily accepted my finisher's medal (not to mention my banana, cookie, and water) and went in to warm up.
Since they were posting the results of the race, I was curious how my time compared and I saw something I was definitely not expecting...I had come in first in my age group! (I should add that thankfully I had just had a birthday otherwise I would have come in fourth in my age group - those 30-34's are a lot faster than me!). I was super excited to get called on stage and receive another medal for my age group finish.
I may be 35 years young, but I plan to keep trying new things in my fitness journey. Looking ahead to the rest of this year and next, I would like to enter some 5Ks and keep improving my time. I am also planning to enter my first 10K and, as I look to 2018, I have my eye on that Free Press Half Marathon as a possibility I never would have considered before.
As I stated before, I write this blog not to write about some accomplishment in my life, but to share that, no matter what your age, it is never too late to take up a new sport, try a new activity, or set new records in something you've been doing. Some of my proudest moments as a trainer have been when my clients took the plunge and tried something new - a client with asthma who now enjoys running on the treadmill, clients who have taken up weight lifting and enjoy the benefits of added strength in their life and sport, and a client who stuck primarily to running who took up boxing and now consistently finishes in the top three in her classes.
As for me, I'm sure my own high school gym teacher would be surprised to know that this un-athletic gal was able to beat her 1-mile run time last night.
In good health,