Today I have a guest blogger, my good friend Kirsten who I will be hosting a blog post from her every month on the 5th to show her progress as she trains for marathons and other running events, and how she's changing the way she eats. I will also be a guest blogger on her site as well on the 5th of every month showing how my weight loss program is going. You can find her blog at: http://www.runningforautism.com/
Thanks Kirsten for being my friend, my life changing buddy and for being my guest blogger for today!
In 1996 I started running. It was part of a lifestyle makeover prompted by my decision to knock a ten-year smoking habit on the head. I sometimes express surprise about the fact that I fell in love with running, but it was almost inevitable. My dad had been one of South Africa's elite marathoners in his youth, and as a teen I spent many enjoyable hours watching televised athletic events with him.
When I had my kids, the inevitable happened: my running took a back seat, and I began a glorious career as a couch potato. Repeated efforts over the years to get back into running came to naught, until a chance email landed in my inbox three years ago. The email, which was an invitation to run a half-marathon to raise funds for autism, gave me just the kick in the pants that I needed.
If running for a cause that affected my own child wasn't going to get me back into the sport, then nothing would.
I was only briefly deterred by the fact that I was tipping the scales at 200 pounds at that time. 200 pounds may not be a bad weight for some people, but it was well beyond healthy limits for a five-foot-six woman with a naturally small frame.
I put together a training plan, ditched some of my more unhealthy eating habits, and hit the road. Six months after receiving that first email, I ran a half-marathon. I wasn't exactly a speed demon, but I managed to cross the finish line in reasonable enough nick.
Since then, I have run four more half-marathons and I'm training for my fifth. I have also run a host of races in other distances. I am single-minded about my running. I'm the kind of person who will get up at five in the morning in the middle of winter to go running in the snow. I've done speed training sessions at lunchtime in the middle of a gruelling hot summer, and I've endured long runs with rain squelching in my running shoes.
Considering how weird I am about my running, it's a little curious that I have no discipline whatsoever when it comes to my diet.
I grew up with a serious body image problem, and as a result I have a distinctly uncomfortable relationship with food. I flip-flop between eating disorders, either consuming calories willy-nilly without regard for the consequences, or living on next to nothing.
Just over a week ago, I ran a half-marathon. I missed my personal best time by 25 seconds, which was not bad considering how tough the course was. The race was run on uneven park trails with a number of hills. It struck me that if I could just sort out my nutrition once and for all, get to my optimal weight and stay there, and fuel my body with the right things, I could be a much better runner. I would be leaner and my body would just work better. I probably would have set a personal best time last weekend.
And so I have decided that I am going to conquer my issues with food, using the same strength of mind that I use for my running. I am going to deal with my ridiculous body image hangups, and I am going to respect myself enough to really take care of this body that I live in. After all, it's not like I can trade it in for a replacement if it stops working.
When Mimi and I realized that we both wanted to fix some aspect of our lifestyles, we decided to make it fun by exchanging guest posts once a month. Therefore, on the fifth day of ever month, I will be gracing you, Mimi's readers, with an update on how I am progressing.
The next time you see me, I hope to have more concrete goals in place, along with a proper eating plan. I will be eating fewer carbs and more vegetables. I will be drinking the right amount of fluids, and I will not be skipping meals and relishing the feeling of hunger that I find strangely addictive.
I will be on the path to a healthier me, and a better and faster runner.