July 10, 2001

Although I started running about three months ago, I’ve only just decided to put this all online, so I guess I have some catching up to do…

I started running because I’m overweight. (I wish I could say was overweight, but that wouldn’t be the case just yet) In the past, I’ve started exercise regimes (joining a gym, walking, what have you) but I never stuck to it. I always found some excuse to quit (usually something to do with a broken toe, don’t know why). This time, though, I was determined to stick to it. Fortunately, I have some friends that run, so I had someone to go with in the beginning.

After walking/teeny-bit-of-jogging around Audubon Park (a shady, 1.77 mile roughly circular path that encircles a golf course in Uptown New Orleans) for a couple of weeks, a friend came from England to visit for two weeks. I thought for sure that this time, that would be my excuse for quitting forever. To my surprise, as soon as she flew back, I started again. This time, I had a plan.

I had purchased the book “A Woman’s Guide to Running” and in it, found a training guide to building up to running for 30 minutes. So I started on that. I had gotten a few weeks into it when I had to move. Surely this would be when I would quit, right? Shockingly, the stress of moving didn’t put me off, either. I took a week off from that, and started running again (at this point, I started calling what I was doing running, because it made me feel better. So sue me.)

In the beginning of June, settled into my new apartment with my best friend (yay!) who always said she would never run, I got back into the swing of things. And then the most surprising thing of all happened. Kristina said she wanted to run with me! She wanted to give it a try! Since all of my other running partners had long ago stopped running with me (Well, one of them is a newlywed who runs with her husband. I can’t compete with that!) I was glad to get a new training partner. Kristina even said she’d run a 5K in August with me! So that’s what we’re working towards now.

I found some great websites and books that have helped keep me motivated. The Runner’s World Forum for Beginners is wonderful – a big community of very supportive people. And as I am an avid reader, I have already collected 3-4 books on running, as well as a subscription to Runner’s World.

Now, just getting out of the house for a while every evening to exercise was a huge lifestyle change for me, but in mid-June, I decided to make an even bigger one. I decided to quit smoking. I’ve smoked since I was 17, nine years. I quit on Thursday, July 5. I’m using the nicotine patch to make things a bit easier, and it’s going well so far.

One of the reasons I’ve stuck with running is my friend Chris. He started running at the beginning of the year, and he helps motivate me (via e-mail, since he lives in Baton Rouge.) When he told me a few months ago that he wanted to run the Disney Marathon in January, I thought he was nuts. Insane! I even told Kristina that if I even considered it, to shoot me. But then, I started thinking about it. And about London, my favorite favorite favorite city. And about the London Marathon. I’d read a little about it, and then one day, driving back from the beach, I told Kristina I might want to try to run the London Marathon. The next day, I decided to do it. Why not? I can do it! I got a book called “The Non-runner’s Guide to Running a Marathon” or something like that, and it was really inspiring. So now I’m going to do it. And Chris (hopefully) is going to run it with me! His experience will come in handy, and I’ll get to show him and his wife my favorite place in the world, which, I’m sure they’re sick of hearing me talk about.

So here I am today. Lately, we’ve been getting off our training schedule, so we decided to get back on track so we can run the 5K on August 19. We should be running for 7 minutes, walking for 3, three times, but yesterday was reeeally hot and humid (it’s been an unseasonably cool summer for New Orleans – we haven’t even hit 100 degrees yet!) so we only did it twice, and walked the rest of the way. Hopefully, today will be better. I can already tell the difference (a bit) with my breathing since quitting smoking. Yeah!

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