Seriously, I am not the poster child for endurance athlete. On 9/11/2001, I weighed in at roughly 305 lbs. As you can see from the picture below, hill repeats and strength training weren't even part of my vocabulary, much less a part of my life.
Fast-forward to late November, 2007 when, after having quit smoking just a few weeks before, I decided to further tort... improve my health and physical well-being, by joining Weight Watchers. Less than 2 years and over 70 lbs lost later, I received a mailing from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training about their upcoming Winter Season events, which included the Walt Disney World Marathon. What better way to celebrate "the new me" than by challenging myself even further by attempting to train and race walk a full 26.2 mile marathon in my happiest place on earth?
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time... Actually, it was not only a good idea, it turned out to be a great idea. I had all sorts of fun - training sessions in sub-freezing temperatures, long distance walks in torrential rain, developing an acquired taste for GU Espresso Love - the list goes on and on. I learned about proper endurance sport nutrition (which I still suck at), boot camp workouts (which I suck at even worse) and all sorts of cool running gear and gadgets. I've become really good at finding stuff for dirt cheap, too! Most importantly, I've come to know an absolutely fantastic and wonderful group of people, dedicated to a great cause. Many of them have become friends for life and like it or not, they're stuck with me.
And yes, I finished my first marathon, at the ripe old age of 46, and somehow managed to raise over $3,700.00 for cancer research and patient support programs. I managed to get through 23.5 miles of this past year's Walt Disney World Marathon, and all 13.1 miles of the MORE/Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon a few weeks ago.
I look pretty good, considering it's 5:30am.
In another few weeks, I'll begin training for the Hamptons Half Marathon as a mentor with Team in Training. In another few months, I'll be 48 years old. If I can do this, anyone can. Really! Plus, you get a medal when you finish - what's cooler than that?
If you're thinking about joining the NYC Chapter of Team in Training as a run/walker or walker, feel free to request me as a mentor if you'd like!