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About

In June of 2011 I started running.

For some of you, the words “so what” might now be appearing in your head.

It was a very deliberate choice. I turned 42. Not a milestone birthday to be sure, but we all have our triggers. Mine was 42. It sounded too close to 45, which really sounded precariously close to 50. I looked in the mirror and was not pleased with the trajectory I was on. I love my life, but it is very busy and between far too many meals on the road and badly neglected memberships at yoga studios, what was really suffering was my physical health. I had gained weight – not a lot, but enough – but more than that I found my body getting soft in new places and new ways that I really did not like.

So that day, looking in the mirror, I decided to take up running. And in the same moment I made the commitment, I also knew that I probably wouldn’t like it very much.

Why you ask? Why make a commitment to do something you know you are not likely to enjoy? Doesn’t that decrease your chance of success? And why not just chose something you do like? And why don’t you like it anyway.

The answers are both simple and complex, and I promise to explore them all in this blog. I chose running for one primary reason – it is efficient. I wanted to get my body back in shape and I needed the most simple and efficient form of exercise that I could find. I did not want to make another commitment to a class I could not attend or a wasted gym membership. I did not want to join my many friends and relatives who use a piece of home fitness equipment as a coat rack. I have a busy career, I am a single mom to two active boys, I travel for work – which means suitcases and hotels at least 7 days out of the month. Running is efficient. The only gear you really need are shoes. There is always a road or a trail or a treadmill. Other than not liking it, I had no objection or excuse.

You should also know this about me: I am a doctor. But I am not your typical doctor- I have spent the last decade of my career working in obesity care, mostly with bariatric surgery. I am also a nutrition expert. So part of my drive to commit to running was seeing if I could live up to the kind of advice that is given each and every day to patients trying to lose and maintain weight loss. I already knew it would be hard.

I also never intended to blog about this experience. I started this experiment quietly as an internal exercise – not a public one. But I found something funny. Everywhere I went, people asked what I was doing – they could tell I was doing something. Or I’d be at a conference and they would catch me coming back from the gym and want to talk about it. And I quickly learned a few things – for the most part, runners are crazy about running – they love it. So people assume that if you run, you love running. I, on the other hand, had a lot of conversations that went like this:

Acquaintance: Wow, you look really fit since I last saw you, what have you been doing?

Me: Well, I took up running.

Acquaintance: Oh wow – that’s so great. I just ran my first 10K for cancer, and I am thinking of training for a Cure. What are you training for? Are you thinking about a marathon?

Me: Nothing. Actually I am really not a very good runner – I can just about get myself through 2.5 miles, and I don’t like it very much – it hurts and I have asthma, so it’s kind of hard. I am really just doing it to get fit…and to see if I can.

Acquaintance: Well – I am sure you will get addicted to it – running is really addictive!

Me: I might. Or I might not.

Acquaintance: Well then – uh – good luck.

But I was also having other kinds of conversations – with people more like me – who told me that after talking to me, they felt inspired. Inspired to use their treadmill, or ride their bike, or even to run. One woman I know told me that I am the only person she knows whose life is busier than hers and if I can do it so can she. Another told me that she had been trying to convince herself that she had to like fitness and suddenly knowing she didn’t was freeing.

So here I am. Here we are. I welcome you today to my journey. We will talk about learning to run. I will explore what one can learn from committing to something you don’t like very much – I am sure there is a lesson in there someplace. You will probably have to hear some stories about my kids and look at pictures of the beach (I live at the beach and often snap pictures on my runs). There might be some good tips in here about gear I experiment with, nutrition and management of asthma.

I was definitely Not Born To Run – but I am going to do it anyway. Thanks for joining me.

Naturopathic doctor, nutrition expert, obesity advocate, and reluctant runner. Learning to run in my 40s and not always loving it. Writing about my (mis)adventures in fitness, among other things.