Walk Talk – Why Did I Get Off the Couch?

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…

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6 responses to “Walk Talk – Why Did I Get Off the Couch?

  1. You have made some wonderful strides (pardon the pun, not intended), with your walking endeavors.

    Training for a marathon is extremely difficult, humbling…yes…but difficult and hard on the body. I don’t know how I managed to not only train, but to finish my first marathon at the age of 50, a few years ago.

    I still participate in 5 or 10k walks, but will not do another marathon, due to the stress it imposes on my body. I have medical issues that need attention, so marathons are no longer a goal for me. I came, I saw, and I conquered. LOL.

    • LOL, jewwishes!!! It might be the same way with me, but I am adding another one in for safe measures. 😉 Anyway, I am debating at the moment rather to stick to small races next year. Heck, this long distance stuff is like a train wreck on my lungs. As you well know, I am taking some risks training and walking marathons.

  2. Hi James,
    The training is tougher than the race! Although I always used to joke – “If the training doesn’t kill you, the marathon will!” 🙂

  3. You post inspires me to think about why I walk. I really hate it and yet feel it is essential that I do it. Your reasons give me food for thought. Maybe if I get that thought right I will stick to it.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Getting back on an exercising regiment is a very hard thing to do. For me, I think setting goals is the motivating key to getting it done. Racing is fun for me and it inspires me to get out there and train. You never know, you might learn to love it in the future. Take Care and thanks for visiting!

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