30 Days

It dawned on me as I was tying up my laces the other day; as far as fitness is concerned, running isn’t enough, is it? Yes, I fell off the wagon as a runner. But I let go of so much more than that.

Even though my running dissipated, my eating did not! I’ve heard a few runners say, “I run to eat.” Although said in jest, to be completely honest, running certainly made it easier to eat out and eat more. Just one long run could free up 700 calories! So, happily married, I ate like a runner but stopped running. My mother-in-law categorized my weight gain as the “freshman 15.” She said every newlywed couple gains a little weight in their first couple of years when they are happy and in love.

Part of the requirement for running the Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Run is being able to run a 12-minute mile. That doesn’t seem to bad, right? Most people should be able to walk a mile in 15 minutes. Try taking a 15lb bag of potatoes and running with that. I bet the average person might feel a little more exhausted than usual pacing at a 12-minute mile. I can vouch for the exhaustion! So part of my training process for the Bridge Run is to shed my “freshman 15.”

So back to me and my laces… I had an epiphany. With just over a month left to train for yet another meaningful race, I finally understood a deeper definition of fitness. Fitness is more than fitting in 30-minutes or so at the gym each day; it’s about making healthy choices in all areas of our lives.

When you are open to change and growth; change and growth flood in. Later that evening, I came across my friend Erin on Facebook. Her status update caught my eye; she was publicly declaring her intention to commit to 30 days of purity in her diet and she was recruiting buddies to join her. Her program didn’t fit my lifestyle as a vegan but parts of it resonated with me. The intention or outcome of her chosen program is to build a new healthy relationship with food. I knew in my heart that her posting was meant for me and that I had to try. After a tug of war in my mind, I finally decided to join her with my own modified but similar program to cut out refined sugar, alcohol and unhealthy grains. I have a short list of allowed grains to accommodate my vegan diet (ie, quinoa, tempeh, seitan).

With the first week on my food plan already under my belt, my belt is feeling a little looser! I am feeling confident and determined; two traits that I feel truly make me a runner. At the close of my first week, I was able to celebrate with my fastest 5K since getting back on the running track. And it is quite a celebratory moment for me. I have accepted and welcomed a new challenge and dimension into my fitness. The more I surrender to a healthier me, the happier I feel inside.

If you’ll be watching for me running over the Mighty Mac on Labor Day, I’ll be the one with a big smile pacing at (or under) a 12-minute mile. I hope to see you there!

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