January 2, 2019

Who would have thought two years ago when I was overweight and just starting my fitness journey, that today I’d be training for the National Senior Track and Field games?

Certainly not me!

Let me take you on this journey and explain how it all happened…almost seamlessly.

I knew I was overweight. If I didn’t know it by the number on the scale, the tightness of my size 12 pants was a sure giveaway. My attempts to attend classes and even hire a personal trainer at the local gym did not produce much in the way of results.

It was just another thing to do on my endless “to do” list. Drastic action was in order – and something that would become a lifelong habit.

It started easily enough with a free trial week of bootcamp. Although the workouts were difficult in the beginning, they were invigorating! I must admit, I wondered if I could really make the 6:00 am class, but it became a habit in less than a week. I was motivated by the caring staff and other “recruits” who were also on their fitness journey.

Additional classes exposed me to Pilates, rowing, cycling, and walking/running.

Janie J Pasadena games 208 June blog

At first, I could only run a short time, a very short time. I learned there was an “app” to tell you when to walk/when to jog. I worked up from mostly walking to eventually all jogging.

I learned from Coach Debbie about proper form and good posture. I still can hear her in my head telling me to stand up straight!

I asked Coach Heather how to get better and was informed to jog more than once a week, which led to faster jogging.

Then I learned about the importance of core work (aka crunches and various iterations) and how it helps with running. I learned about cross-training and integrated rowing and cycling into my workouts.

Exercise alone will not create weight loss, so I worked on eating healthy and the pounds came off.

In one year, I was down to size 6 pants. I had more energy and was much happier! This required a new pastime – shopping! I never thought clothes shopping was fun, but when you are in a smaller size, it can be! The clothes actually fit and look good. I consciously gave away my fat clothes, knowing I would never wear them again.

I still wasn’t running as fast as I wanted. Then my friend Beth invited me to check out her running group of elite masters track athletes, led by Coach Wayne Morris, a former 800 meter regional Master’s track champion. OK, I agreed; I would check it out.

Janie J with medals Pasadena 2018 June blog

The workouts were fun. Coach Wayne and the team were encouraging; very encouraging. He said he could help me get my time down and he did: on a 5K, my mile time went from 12:30 to 9:30 minutes in only a couple of months!

This was verifiable evidence that the workouts were helping! I felt stronger. I looked stronger.

Heck, I was stronger!

The team encouraged me to attend the Pasadena Senior Games in June 2018, so I decided to check it out. I placed second in 800 meter and 1500 meter for my age group. Not bad for my first track meet ever!

Remember I mentioned how my journey was “almost seamless?

I pulled a leg muscle at that meet and was required to rest until it healed. Then I made the mistake of trying to run again before it healed completely, which just delayed my recovery even more.

Lesson learned:  listen to your body!

But I was happy because placing at the Pasadena regional meet qualified me to compete at the National Senior Games.

Workouts are more rigorous now that I am a national-level competition athlete. Life seems to revolve around track practice. The scenario is something like this: run, hot bath, eat, wash gym clothes and repeat. Luckily, now that I retired from real estate, I’m able to fit it all in.

This may not sound like such a remarkable journey but considering I didn’t run in high school and I’m now 65 years old, it just goes to show ANYONE CAN DO IT!

It just takes the first step towards your goal.

Then push your comfort zone a bit to your next goal.

Keep expanding it and you’ll grow in ways you’d never imagined.

This journey reminded me a bit about my trip to Philadelphia last year, when I visited the famous “Rocky steps.” I ran up all 72 steps! (The only one in my tour group to do so).

Rocy Balboa statue in Philadelphia by David Barnas via Flickr

The Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia. Photo (c) David Barnas via Flickr.com

I know what it feels like to set new goals and reach them. I envision myself as Rocky when I am running those long 8 and 10 miles on Sunday. I tell myself to keep pushing. (Honest, this helps!)

I am looking forward to the National Senior Games in June 2019 where I’ll be competing as the youngest person in my age bracket. See, getting a year older has its benefits!

Click here to not miss the next installment in my life-long journey!


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