I feel like I’ve been beaten with a 2×4—but I mean that in the best possible way. I raced the Challenge of Devil’s Garden on Saturday, a ten (or so) mile trail race at Stone Mountain that climbed the Mountains to Sea Trail toward the Devil’s Garden overlook on the Parkway. It was a pretty tough climb—18% grade for nearly a mile of it, which was hard enough going up and plain scary coming down—but it was a trail race, so it was awesome.

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Plus, there was good food and good company afterwards along with these awesome finisher prizes– the evil carrot.  

Thanks to Jason and Alison for a great race!

 

I placed 4th overall in the women’s division, and while I’m still not as fit as I want to be, I’m making progress. I plan to race the Trout Tattoo with Harper Lee again this coming Saturday. And, then, in August, I’m training for the New River duathlon. After that, my goal is pretty much to get as strong and fit as possible. I’ll pick out some races here and there with my sights set on a 2-day stage race in Pisgah National Forest at the beginning of November. I had decided that the longer ultra distances did not particularly interest me anymore. It’s not the kind of training I enjoy most. However, I have always wanted to do a stage race, and I DO love the adventurous quality of a really long trail run, so I’m going to do it.

 

Rob’s been riding like crazy and is in super great shape (I’m trying to catch up), and the kids have been running with me too. Harper Lee doesn’t love running as much as I do (though I think she could be really good at it), but I don’t pressure her about it. I just let her go when she wants. She likes the weird stuff—like the Trout Tattoo—and having her go with me is something I really enjoy.

 

It’s nice when your kids get old enough to go with you on runs and bike rides. Two weekends ago, we went up to the Virginia Creeper Trail for a 17-mile bike ride down the mountain. (If we go again, we will NOT be getting a shuttle to carry us up. It sort of makes us sick on our stomachs that we did that, but oh well… live and learn.) The way to go is to ride up and back, but it would probably be best on a weekday when hordes of people aren’t riding toward you on the downhill. At any rate, the fact that all four of us can now easily go on excursions together (without all the baby backpacks and bike trailers and jog strollers) makes life so much easier.

 

It also makes having kids a really poor excuse for not exercising. Kids actually make great workout partners. My friend, Karen, recently wrote a blog post about her family and their first 5K. It just goes to show that taking that first step out the door is all it takes. It’s not nearly as complicated as most folks make it out to be, and the rewards are immeasurable.

 

I also came across an article at Simple Homeschool the other day about working out with teens. I know several moms who drive their children to practices and workout sessions and spend countless hours every week dedicating themselves to their child’s health and well being but who also spend that precious time sitting and waiting. That’s time that could be used for both mom and child. I recently had an acquaintance tell me that she was planning to start running once she lost weight. This is backward thinking.

 

I completely understand the frustration of beginning. It’s hard. It feels like it will never be easier, that you’re just “not a runner.” I get it. Believe it or not, I started off that way too. Eighteen years ago, I drove to the Elkin Park and ran half a lap. I walked the other half. I did another half lap and walked half. Then I drove home. It was hard. I’m pretty sure it sucked, actually. It was slow and awkward and didn’t feel very good. I didn’t leave with a runner’s high. I felt like a slug.

 

I went back the next night.

 

And that’s the key. Going back. Showing up. Consistency.

 

If you are looking for a way to get started, to lose weight, to take control of your health, it’s pretty straight-up simple. Put your shoes on and go out the door. Start off slower than you think you should. Run for half a lap—or less—walk. Then do it again. Come back tomorrow. And the next day.

 

Take your kid with you. Don’t use them as an excuse for not getting outside. All children belong outside.   It’s their natural habitat. Let them go there, and go with them. Run. Walk. Talk. Look at the trees. Listen to the birds. Listen to the sound of your breath (labored though it may be) and the sound of your heart beating.

 

And if running isn’t your thing, hike up a mountain. Take your bike out of the garage. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Go to a yoga class.   Don’t punish your body by saying it can only move the way it was meant to move if it loses weight first. You wouldn’t tell your child that. Why would you treat yourself so differently?

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