As I submitted my registration for the Reindeer Fun Run, I thought back over the past year, and how much things have changed for me since the 2013 Reindeer Fun Run. Compared to the obstacles and challenges that others have shared, my story seems rather trivial. But running has changed my life, so I’ll share that story here.
In September of 2013, I decided, on a whim, to start running, and to enter the Reindeer Fun Run 5k scheduled for December of that year. I say it was on a whim, but the fact is, I knew I needed to do something to improve my fitness. At 51 years old, I was feeling the effects of the years. After a visit with my father-in-law, and seeing how difficult it was for him to even get up from a chair, I decided to take action. I’m still not sure why running was the action I decided to take. And I seriously questioned that decision for the first month of my running. Then, one day, I pushed through the first couple miles, made myself keep going, and a funny thing happened. Suddenly, it felt easier. I realized I was not breathing hard. And my legs felt fresh! It was my first experience with being in “the zone,” and I was hooked!
Fast forward to December 7th, 2013, and the 5k Reindeer Fun Run. I was thrilled to finish in a little under 32 minutes. I had decided to take a week off after the race, and decide if I really wanted to keep running regularly. I couldn’t make it the entire week. I was itching to start running again by day 3. I kept running, ran a few more 5k races, added miles each week…then got hurt.
It was on a visit to the Physical Therapist for rehab work on my Achilles tendon that I had a revelation. I looked around at some of the other patients waiting for therapy, many of them older folks who were recovering from various surgical procedures. I thought about how much better I felt overall, in spite of the injury. And I thought about what I wanted to do, career wise, for the remainder of my working years. Quite frankly, I had grown weary of the years of sales, marketing and management. I wanted to do something with those remaining years to help other people.
And that brings me to today…I have left my job as a radio advertising account executive, and have returned to school to become a Physical Therapist Assistant. In addition, I am now certified as a Personal Trainer. My plan is to work with elderly patients, both through Physical Therapy and Personal Training, to help them maintain strength and flexibility…and to better enjoy their retirement years.
Yes, I look forward to running the Reindeer Fun Run (12k this year!) for many years to come. It is the event that set me on a journey that it still on-going, but has already changed my life. Let’s go for a run!!