Marathon Complete

The Making of a Middle-Aged Athlete – Part 1, The Beginning

I didn’t grow up aspiring to be an “athlete” although I was considered a “tom boy” and would play high intensity games like football and dodge ball with vigor. My story actually started around the time I turned 40. Like many, 40 is a turning point where it started to hit me that maybe I needed to think about the things I wanted to do before I was too old to do them. I put together a bucket list and at the top was run a half marathon. The furthest I had ever run in my life was about 6 miles, so more than doubling that would be a huge accomplishment. Around that same time (turning 40), I noticed something changing inside of me. Despite going to the gym 3-4 days a week and walking my dogs, I still felt sluggish and my head was always foggy. I couldn’t think straight and found it tough to get out of bed some days. I had a feeling it had to do with how I ate, but couldn’t figure out what or why. A friend told me about a “cleanse” where I could detox my body and feel great. Being desperate to try anything, I did it. For five days (I was supposed to last 10 days), I drank a concoction of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. No solid food. I was sick for the first four days and by day 5, I felt light, clear-headed and hungry. On day 6, I started transitioning back to solid food and about two weeks later, I felt as bad as I did before I started the cleanse.

Something Big had to Change

I noticed how much better I felt when I consumed more fruits and vegetables with my meals and thought if I went vegetarian, I could get my life back. In January 2012, I decided I would gradually transition to a vegetarian diet and since my “addiction” was cheese not meat, I figured it was doable. I started out with a goal of eating vegetarian 2 days a week, and then increase to 3 days, 4 days until I hit my goal. By June 2012, I became vegetarian.

Running the Half Marathon

In addition to transitioning to vegetarian, I started training for my first half marathon. I teamed up with a couple of friends and we put a plan together and started running. After running my first 10 miles ever, I came to accept that I was officially hooked on running. On March 4, 2012, I completed my first half marathon in New Orleans in 2:41:47 at 12:21 pace. It was a great day. Flat course, beautiful weather, fun crowd, and I could check that off my bucket list.

One thought on “The Making of a Middle-Aged Athlete – Part 1, The Beginning

  1. Janne Swearengen

    Great part 1!! Believe me, you have hit the nail on the head with things you want to do and making the effort to do them. I wanted to do a marathon when I turned 50–so I did and that was 17 years ago!! I think you have the drive, competitiveness and commitment to do whatever you set your mind to do and be a role model for the rest of us. Looking forward to part 2!

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