Juicy Olive

The quest for “the good life” should never be complete but it should definitely begin now.

The Race to Myself July 2, 2009

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“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right.”
-Henry Ford

When I was a little girl, my parents enrolled me (and I obliged) in activities such as golf lessons, art appreciation classes and swim tournaments. I tap danced my way through childhood at Carol’s Dance Studio and later won medals on my high school’s speech and debate team. In short, while I was a healthy and in-shape person, I was no athlete. Instead, I favored more esoteric and relaxing forms of recreation. And, in time, I came to believe that I simply wasn’t cut out for athletic endeavors. I was certain that I would never be the person whose bat would make contact with a softball, whose serve would make it over the net or whose feet would firmly cross the finish line.

As the years have worn on, real stress has presented itself from time to time in the form of budgets, jobs, relationships, etc. And somehow my college days technique of drinking margaritas, eating pizza and then going for a leisurely stroll the next day no longer keeps the disquiet at bay, nor does it keep my waistline whittled.

So, a few years ago, I decided it was time to get down to business and find a better way of managing life AND the numbers on the scale. I have no idea what made me decide to do it, but one afternoon I laced up my sneakers and decided to go for a run. This, coming from a gal who detested the idea of cardiovascular exercise to the point I had convinced myself I was incapable of it! But, I figured, what the heck, it can’t hurt trying.

Slowly but surely, my shuffle turned into a jog and the jog turned into a run. I couldn’t believe it! I was actually a runner!

About a year passed, and then major change hit me. I was switching jobs, travelling a lot and a severe Chicago winter hit us. Yuck. Somehow, running lost its luster, and I retreated.  I gained a few pounds and found myself irritable and gloomy. NO GOOD.

So, last winter – with the pace of the new job finally managed – I decided that come hell or high water I wouldn’t let a dismal winter keep me from my fitness. I readjusted and became better friends with my treadmill. I played games with myself to oscillate between going for distance or speed. In short, I got back into running!

Today, I’m back up to clocking 4-5 miles a few times a week. My friends and I are participating in a 5k next week. At the end of the month, we’re running in a 10k. And starting in early August, I begin training for a half-marathon!

As the girl who once couldn’t fathom walking all 18 holes of golf, the fact that I’ve singlehandedly turned myself into a distance runner is an accomplishment. I own this victory. I am the creator of this success. The strength it takes to exercise day in and out is mine. And it feels good!

Now, just don’t ask me to pinch hit in your volleyball game – my serve still doesn’t make it over the net. But I’ll have fun trying!

“It doesn’t matter whether you come in first,
in the middle of the pack, or last.
You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

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