How I went from taking a simple walk to finding a new love and appreciation for running!

Fitness person getting ready to walk

Sunday is my third half marathon.

How in the heck did I get here?!

A year ago I was taking a walk and cussing out the thought of moving faster than a speed stroll. There was no WAY I could be one of “those” people. Those who strap on some sweet shoes and jam out of the house to parts unknown, at all hours of the day or night, for three or more miles. Most of the time, in SHORTS!

A year ago I hadn’t joined a running group. The one I am in now didn’t even exist yet. I didn’t know they COULD exist.

And yet, now, I’m sort of one of those people I made fun of.

So back to my first question – how in the HECK did I get here?

You might be surprised by the answer – by walking. A lot.

When I started my fitness journey, I decided walking would be my main mode of fitness, and that I’d add other activities to it later. It was the easiest thing to do, I was able to fit it in around work, around school drop off, around conference calls (if not during, which I did a lot, even though neighborhood dogs liked to contribute to my conversations). Even around or during my weekly health coach video calls.

My walk route shown on my Fitbit screen.

I was enamored by the statement I constantly heard – if you can fit in 30 minutes a day of walking, 5 days a week, you are going to make a difference in your health and weight.

So I got up early. I walked by myself around each and every cul-du-saq of my Long Beach neighborhood. I walked to the park. Through the park. Walked other neighborhoods. Admired drought-tolerant landscapes. Brightly colored doors (which are all the rage around my parts). Routinely said hello to the lady in the neon orange sweatshirt and two dogs, one in a baby stroller. Walked with my friend Kelley and kibitzed about our kids, our activities, our husbands. Walked to coffee. I explored new podcasts during these walks. New music. Fun apps. I made calls. Caught up with my parents.

And then, in about 3-4 months’ time, I found myself walking farther. And faster. I started to time my walks with my FitBit. I saw progression. I tried walking in patterns I could map on my GPS-enabled app. Walked in the pattern of the state of Nebraska once (was proud of that one :).

I then started feeling a limit to my walking stride. It hurt. I thought, well, it might be easier to jog a little with short strides, and alternate with walking. Maybe I’ll jog one house, walk one house. That turned into walking one block, jogging one block. Then, walk one ½ mile, jog one ½ mile. My FitBit or Map My Run apps guided the way.

Taking the perfect walk in Boston

Mind you, this was all pretty subconscious evolution. I never have an agenda necessarily in mind. Except to get out there and move, and move more.

Also mind you, I didn’t like running at first. I used to cuss it out while I was doing it. For the first 6 minutes I’d say “this is stupid, I hate this.” I don’t know what it is about 6 minutes, but I guess it was just that amount of time before the Zen-ness takes over and my mind would start to wander elsewhere.

I still walk. I only run 2-3 times a week, usually ½ hour at a time. The miracle to moving to running events like ½ marathons is that it doesn’t have to take that much running to get to that point. You don’t even have to run the whole way. There are no rules (except maybe try not to get run over).

So now, when I hear people say “I can’t run, I’m not a runner, I hate running, I’m never going to do that,” I sort of smile.

Never say never.