My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
I am casting my memory fairly far into my past to remember how I went from being barely able to climb to the third floor of a three storey walk-up to running a marathon. In 2002 I emerged from my depressive fog to realize I was very much out of shape and in need of a plan. I started to control my portions and go for long walks to a fast dance beat, and it amuses me to remember that I was still using a Walkman back then. I managed to lose close to 40 lbs with this method, but I wanted more. I lived in a small town with no connections, and with a fair amount of upheaval in my personal life, it was not the time to seek out a club for support. I wasn’t staying long enough for that.
Fast forward to 2003 and a new job, a real job, and increased stability. I was still annoyed that my past self had gotten into such bad eating habits and such horrible shape. I decided that it was time to join a club to support me for that last ~20 lbs I hoped to lose. I joined the closest Weight Watchers I could find, and went from there. I have fond memories of that time because I was successful at sticking to the WW plan and I could see the results. Emboldened and becoming more and more settled in my new geographic location, I decided to join the Running Room as well. Maybe it would also help me to meet some new people. I couldn’t run yet, no way, so I joined the “Walking Club.” They met every Wednesday night and Sunday morning and I became friends with a few of the people in the group. We didn’t walk far and we didn’t walk too fast, but just knowing that some of the others might wonder why I wasn’t there, I was compelled to show up.
The Running Room walking schedule and caloric demands were very compatible with the Weight Watchers plan. I started to see the results of my efforts and got very close to my goal weight. In hindsight I can honestly say that my goal might have been a little too low, but at the time it seemed reasonable. I started to feel like the walking club was not quite enough for me and I wondered about running. The Running Room offered a “Learn to Run” clinic and I signed up. I was terrified, and also, confused; didn’t I already know how to run? What could I possibly have to learn? Now I know I had a lot to learn, mostly about myself and my mental hang ups about what I could or could not do. My body also needed to be trained for cardiovascular work, something it hadn’t really done since high school.