I figured when writing my first post on a health blog, it was important to tell how I became a runner…accidentally. I grew up as a dancer. We were never allowed to run for exercise because it “shortened our muscles” said our dancing teacher. ( We were also not allowed to get suntan lines, miss a class, complain, or eat….that’s a whole separate issue) So, being a good student, I never ran and frankly, it felt like torture when I had to run in PE class. I could dance forever, and often did, but run 4 laps around the track…forget it!!
Fast forward to my young adult life…I had transitioned from being a dancer to aerobic instructor. ( It was the 80’s after all) I loved teaching aerobics, it enabled me to be a “dancer” and get some exercise teaching others at the same time. Plus it helped me earn some spending money in college. My mom had just started “jogging” and asked if I would join her in a big race called Bay to Breakers. I said sure but I was NOT running. Could we walk the entire 7.5 miles? She said sure and promised I didn’t have to run. Off we went to San Francisco to walk this famous running event. There we stood at the starting line amongst real runners looking all too serious. I say one more time, ” we are just walking, right?” “Yes,” she assures me. The gun goes off and we are on our way for an enjoyable 7.5 mile walk through the city by the bay.
Ha! That “walk” lasted less than a mile. The crowd was so thick, that we were getting pushed along by the running crowd. “This will thin and slow down any minute,” I tell myself. 3, 4, 5 miles go by and I am still running. I can’t believe it. And I was kind of liking it. Weird?! I pass the 7 mile mark, digging deep. I can see the finish line…luckily, it’s all down hill and the crowd is cheering loudly. My mom and I cross the finish line together. We had finished our first race and had RUN 7.5 miles! I couldn’t believe it but I loved it! That was the day, 25 years ago, that I became an “accidental runner.”
I don’t suggest every new runner start with a 7.5 mile run. No new runner, ever should begin with too much too soon. Consider your current fitness level and begin from there. Maybe it’s 30 seconds of running mixed into some walking or 30 minutes of running if you are more active. Start slow, don’t rush it and enjoy the process. You never know….you too may become an “accidental runner.”