Death is bad for your health.
That’s what I told a friend when she questioned my joining a running team. “Isn’t running hard on your joints” as a waaay overweight person? I knew she was silently adding. I knew it was a big project, but I figured working on my heart’s health was more important than babying my knees.
Flashback: Rebecca jogging around her high-school track, thudding to a halt at three-fourths mile. “Don’t quit,” yelled my gym teacher. “You can do it.”
But I stopped jogging anyway. In 2010, at age 41, I’d never run a mile. But on impulse, I joined FleetFeet Sports’ No Boundaries program. Their plan called for us to start by running one minute and walking four.
I did it. I couldn’t believe it. It was like the sky turned purple, and my whole world changed. We kept increasing our intervals. Maybe I wasn’t the fastest runner, but I jogged when they told me and walked when they told me. In the end, I realized how little we really know about ourselves.
Everybody’s seen two fighting fish separated by a wall to keep them battling to the death. Turns out that, after they learn the barrier’s impassible, you can remove it, and they won’t attack each other, though nothing prevents them. How many of us are no smarter than fish?
When I was 15, I ate horribly and never exercised. Now, I try to eat well and exercise daily. For 26 years I could’ve enjoyed running, but I didn’t realize a barrier I had then no longer existed.
And I do enjoy running. Rocky’s got nothing on any parent with determination. I downloaded LLCoolJ’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” onto my iPod and wear a black headband like I’m starring in “Move Your Boogie Body,” a terrifying Jazzercise video from 1982, which you can see below.
Fast forward three months, and imagine me jogging thirty laps around my health club’s track–three miles. I was in tears; I wanted to call my ex-gym teacher and tell him that maybe I stopped running that day, but I didn’t quit. It just took me longer to do it than the other kids.
So here’s my challenge for you: Imagine something you don’t think you can do, and do it. Then, inspire other parents at my new blog at http://www.wormsoup.wordpress.com. There, local parents can contribute their opinions on certain topics, and I’ll draw from their experiences–giving proper credit, of course–in future Times columns.
Problem is, I need a slogan to run beneath the “Crazy Mom” blog headline. Sooo, go to the blog, and leave your slogan as a comment. If I pick yours, you’ll get a $50 CVS gift card. You only have until Oct. 15.