A week or so ago, Francine ran in Around The Bay, North America's oldest road race which takes place every spring right here in Hamilton. As I'd mentioned, she continually inspires me.
Fran and I used to run together, many years ago. We had completed a 5K race together many years back (The CIBC Run for the Cure in support of Breast Cancer) When Alexander was born, I kind of fell out of running. But she kept at it, and has continually improved and inspired me.
Another inspiration was Alicia Snell's story -- the one she tells in her riveting book: Me Minus 173: From 328 Pounds to the Boston Marathon. In it, Alicia describes how at the age of 42, she decided to make a life altering choice of eating healthy and exercising -- which led to losing 173 pounds in 15 months and shortly after completing the Boston Marathon. Ten years later, Alicia has run 18 marathons. If you've ever wanting to change your life for the better (whether it's lose weight, stop smoking or whatever), Alicia shows that it can be done with a bit of conviction, determination and goal setting -- get your hands on her phenomenal book and you will NOT be disappointed.
Now back to me.
I turn 40 next month.
I thought it would interesting if I did something neat and fun to mark the milestone occasion.
Late last summer, after a minor health scare, I finally decided to do something about some extra poundage I was carrying around. Based on my BMI, I was 40 pounds overweight. So in the period of about three months (from August to December 2008), I lost 30 pounds. Since then, I've been fluctuating the final 5 to 10 pounds on and off, back and forth, teeter-totter.
To lose the initial 30 pounds, all I really needed to do was take a bit of care in what I was eating. No, I didn't become a health food maniac -- I simply watched what I ate, tried to follow Canada's Food Guide (which mostly meant trying to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables) and took Francine's advice to stop shoveling food indiscriminately into my mouth. (Yes, imagine Homer Simpson when he sees a pile of donuts -- that's me -- or, it was me. I'm still tempted to devour a whole box of donuts whenever they're presented to me -- but I now tend to curb it down to one, or perhaps two, maybe three) But making decisions such as "sure, I'll have the extra donut today, but next time I'll skip desert" goes a long way to providing balance while still allowing me to slip and have fun non-healthy treats.
In any case, I turn 40 next month and I still have this extra 5 to 10 pounds -- and I don't feel I'm in as good shape as I can be. So I thought perhaps a return to running would be in order. The regular exercise would likely help me control those last few pounds. And, after all, I want to still be able to play with Alexander and perhaps keep up with him for at least the next 10 to 15 years. That, and I really want to be around for a long time (am I asking too much for just another 40 years?) to watch my son grow.
So, running is fun. Besides, with an mp3 player strapped on, I can listen to more audio books and get more reading done. Thus, running serves two purposes -- tunes the body, informs the mind.
To give myself a "okay, you're 40, do something cool" goal, I thought it might be fun to run in the upcoming 10K Mud Run in Toronto. It takes place in June and at the end of the 10K of hills, river crossings, climbing walls and going through and over various obstacles, you end with a rump (or dive) through a giant mud pit. Sounds exactly like my cup of tea.
I've got two months to train for it and I started last Sunday. My legs actually stopped hurting late yesterday from Tuesday night's run -- which means I'm getting better at it so far. But I still have a long way to go.
So to inspire me, I've got this picture of Francine that was taken in this year's Around The Bay Road Race. Okay, it was a cold, very rainy morning, yet Fran looks awesome in this pic -- she looks more like she's out for a mid afternoon stroll than running 15K soaking wet.
Of course, to remind myself that I need to be doing something to meet my own goal, I have a second version of the picture. A little less pretty, of course.
Stop looking at my man-boobs!