My mom’s turkey meatloaf, spiders, and using the word “moist” in a sentence are all things I have spent many years trying to avoid. For a long while I would have put running at the top of that list too, well unless I was running from a spider, so I never would have imagined it would become such a big part of my life.
Seriously, in junior high I manipulated my mom into a doctor’s note excusing me from any sort of timed mile, during high school tennis practice I hid behind the backstop until the final lap of the warm up jog, and in college the closest I came to running was a fast-paced walk of shame back to my sorority on a Sunday morning.
I found it ironic that not long after my get healthy, anxiety relieving amped up workout routine I did start to get sporadic comments about my build. A classmate at the recreation center asking, “are you a runner? You look like a runner,” followed by a massage therapist's comment that I was “built like a runner,” and when a mom at my son’s school invited me to go running with her, I felt like the nerdy girl in school who had been invited to sit at the popular table. I won’t say I wasn’t flattered by the comments, and although I was no fitness slouch, I believed people that ran for exercise were not only crazy, but much higher up on the fitness food chain than I.
In retrospect, I can see why people might have assumed I was a runner, between the pre-cancer weight loss and the post cancer workouts, I had become stronger, and leaner. I had dropped several more pounds due to the increased exercise, and although at the time that was not the main catalyst to my workouts, I admit it did give me a little thrill to see the scale scooch down to a number I never knew possible for me. Still within a healthy range (yes, I remember the number exactly), but inching closer to the lower end. Once again, I had no intention of losing more, I didn’t even think it would be possible for my body to do so. I was more than content with my thinner athletic body and I even went out and purchased my first pair of designer jeans, a pair of 7 For All Mankind. I guarantee you, there is no way I would have spent two hundred bucks on jeans if I wasn’t planning on wearing them until they went out of style (and came back in again.)
I suppose it isn’t too surprising I found myself on an early morning beach walk in fall of 2007 at the age of thirty-nine tempted by something more. It was during a family trip to the Oregon coast and having no access to a gym I was trying to squeeze in some exercise before the kids woke up ready for a donut outing. I was powering through my walk trying to get the adrenaline rush I craved, allowing the misty salt air to fill my lungs, joined by panting dogs chasing balls, laughing children building sand castles and runners. Lots of runners. Come on Sherri, try it. Um, no I hate it. Come on, you are in shape now, just quick twenty minutes. Surely you can do twenty minutes. Ok fine! ( I can be annoyingly persuasive, even to myself). I picked up the pace to slow jog and it felt good. I felt healthy, invigorated and challenged so when my legs started to feel heavy and my breathing become labored I figured I must be close to my twenty-minute goal and I checked my watch. Five minutes had passed. Yes, only five minutes.
I didn’t stop though, unfortunately when it comes to exercise, stopping has never my strong point.