I find it hard to believe that it’s been a little more than a year ago, August 2009, when I started walking for fitness. When I started, I would never have imagined how far it would have taken me. I have done 4 races and a few charity walks in a year, one of them being a distance race.
Humm…What got me started? It was a couple of things actually. One of them being a fitness level thing and the other is missing the chance to utilize my competitive spirit.
Believe it or not, I was overweight and my fitness level had really gone down hill after many years of doing as little as possible. There was no way that I could have been happy about that. I started to worry that I would not be fit enough to play outdoor sports with my son. I just wanted to be a daddy that could at least make attempt to keep up with his children. Sadly, for what I would like too do, I was in no shape. I might add that I also was having a sharp pain in my left knee when I walked. I suspected that it was do too muscle weakness. Come to find out, I was right and have been pain free for quite a while. Of course, loosing nearly 35 pounds helps also.
The second thing was missing the competitive side of me. I used to be a cyclist when I was younger. I would say that I was a pretty decent one at that. I loved the distance side of riding. I was not competitive in the since of racing to win, instead I liked endurance challenges. I have ridden countless metric centuries and sadly only one century in my cycling days. Without a doubt, I miss those days. Yeah, I could jump back on the bike and do it again, but it just is not the same as it used to be. I was in the Army at the time and when I moved back home after serving 4 years, it was just not the same anymore. I did not enjoy riding. I sure missed my riding group and still do to this day. And to think, it is almost 20 years now when I moved away.
One day Illana-Davita had a blog post about winning a mug from a walking contest on Walker Tracker. The contest involved walking a 10K step average during a certain time frame and then a raffle for a mug, for those who met the goal. I thought that was the coolest thing so I bought myself a pedometer and signed up. I found Walker Tracker to be helpful for me when it comes to motivation. I did not feel like cheating, so I spent much of my free time walking to get my steps in. I actually signed up for this mug competition numerous times but never did win a mug, darn.
Well, that is kind of what got the ball a rolling. I really did not get into racing until November when a friend told me about the Frost Bite 10 mile race in December. I had already done a few charity walks throughout the fall. Plus, I was doing longer walks on the weekend, some in the 6 mile range. Not sure why I was doing distance training, but I was building a base already so I decided to compete in the Frost Bite. I did really well in the 10 mile race and pretty much got the racing bug from then on. I had so much fun competing in this race that it actually brought back the competitiveness that I so missed from my cycling days.
After the Frost Bite I started looking into endurance racing and Fitness Walker\Race Walking. Come too find out, a lot of distance races are walker friendly and I have a really good shot at finishing them. So, I set my sites on a local half marathon and started training. I trained throughout the winter and raced in my first half marathon in April 2010. I had an awesome day, performance wise, which gave me the inspiration to start competing in big mileage races, full marathons and possibly ultra marathons.
As of this writing, I am 4 weeks away from my first marathon. Training for a marathon was and is a very humbling thing for me and when I started, I had really no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a lot of hard work with health complications mixed in, but I feel ready to get it done.
All in all, I am really grateful to have such good friends that care about me and are very supportive of my walking this last year. So far, I have done some amazing things and I hope that this continues.
Well, that it in a nut shell. Thanks for taking the time to read my post…