Too Unfit to Start? + Weekending!

(Shorts, tank, bra ((fun fact: I didn’t realize I had my bra on inside out until I took a shower… and it is ribbed, so it left lines all over me, haha))

Brooke’s school is doing ‘Marathon in a Month’ again, which means she is motivated to get out to run with me.

She did 2.3 miles on Saturday (mostly running and some walking too).

I LOVE this program that they do because it gets us all outside moving together more.

We talked all about the importance of getting on different surfaces with our runs.  Brooke is a big fan of running on grass.

I predict good things up ahead for her cross-country this year:)

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Skye will be coming to cross-country too!  She is going to love it… She is our most social kiddo; she needs all of the people!

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Rewind to much earlier in the day, and I met up with two friends for trails.

1266 ft of climbing- 10 miles- 9:29 average- so many good conversations!

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I was pretty proud of myself because I did strength too!  The last few months are the longest I have ever gone being consistent with strength.  I think it is becoming A HABIT (which I never thought I would be able to say, ha).

I loved this total body workout from Andrea.  Many breaks were taken throughout the workout to keep up with this guy, but I did it!

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Our Saturday evening included an end-of-summer party!  I can’t believe how quickly this summer went by…

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And the highlight for Sunday was delicious food with Andrew and the kids.

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I made my first fresh peach pie and it was a winner!

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A bit ago, Abbi left this question, “Any tips on getting back into running and exercise?  I used to do so much running and yoga and loved it! (and felt so much better for it!). Major lack of motivation and feeling like I ‘can’t do it’ and ‘I’m too unfit to start’ are definite barriers!”

I wanted to talk about this because I don’t want anyone feeling this way.  I want everyone to enjoy the benefits we get from movement, to know that they can do it, and to feel like they belong because we all belong.

*I think the first thing to remember is that we ALL have been there.  Every single one of us has started off with exercise and had a hard time running a block or lifting a very small weight, or feeling very out of breath with any physical activity.  All of us.  We can all relate to it, so don’t let the fear of what others are thinking of you stop you!  We all get it!

*This quote below is one of my favorites, and it applies to everything we want out of life.  Now is the best time to start!  Not yesterday, not in a month… NOW:).

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*I have no idea if this one will make sense, but just hear me out ha…  The other day, Brooke told me about her lunch at school and how she ate it very slowly because it was so good that she didn’t want it to end.  I just pictured her taking the smallest bites with a smile on her face and enjoying every taste and texture along the way, and it made me so happy.  I think this can apply here.  There is no rush for this process.  We can truly take the smallest steps.  Jumping in and going crazy on this comeback will probably leave you feeling burned out, injured, or frustrated.  Savor each small step you take on your journey.  Take breaks when you need to.  Soak up the experience like you never want it to end!  Running is just too good, and I find my biggest success happens by taking the tiniest steps to get there!

*Sign up for a race (make sure to give yourself enough time to train for it).  Nothing motivates me to do the hard workouts or stick to goals than having a race on my schedule!  I do not want to waste the $$ I spent signing up for it.

*You can do hard things.  I am 100% sure about this, and nobody can change my mind about this.  One of my favorite mantras to repeat to myself throughout a run is, ‘I can and I will.’  Repeat that mantra to yourself and be stubborn with your goals.

*If you can, find people in your shoes to do it with you.  There is something so rewarding about doing this hard thing together.  The bonds made and the motivation I find from others in similar situations (coming back postpartum with other moms has helped me so much) make the experience truly the best.

*Forget the past.  There are times during a workout where I start thinking about how much faster I used to be and how I’ll never get back to where I once was but I tell myself that those thoughts are the BIGGEST WASTE OF ENERGY.  Reset your watch to have it tell you about the new milestones you are hitting.  Focus on the achievements you are having now.  Life is a lot more fun that way and it takes us so much farther when we do.

*Find inspiration.  I have a running friend that started out not being able to run a block, and now he wins ultramarathons.  Find those stories (SO MANY ONLINE) and let them inspire you.

*Remember that recovery is KEY!  Sleeping well, listening closely to your body, refueling within 30 minutes of finishing, stretching, taking days off, cross-training, stretching are all needed to keep us healthy and running strong.

*Let me be your biggest cheerleader, please.  One of my absolute favorite parts of what I do each day is chatting with someone after they message/email/comment with what they are working towards and how they are doing in their training.  So do this for me, let me be a part of your journey, and I’ll apologize now for how many exclamation marks I will use;)

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Any tips for coming back!?  Tell me about a time you came back (or started) to fitness and what helped you the most?

What was the highlight of your weekend?!

Who is one of the biggest cheerleaders in your life?

What is something ‘new to you’ that you recently started?

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46 comments

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This is such a good reminder to enjoy the journey. It is hard to start again when you have your old self to compare yourself against constantly.
This is a silly example, but the other day I was at the park with my kids and I wanted to see if I could still do a pull up on the monkey bars. Couldn’t even do one. So my goal every time we go to the park is to work on just getting to one. :) It was kind of embarrassing how weak I am, but it’s something to work on!
And what is that AMAZING looking sushi???? Utah has the most fun activities ever.

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Hey Mollie! That is the BEST example and I am so so excited about you working on your pull ups… can I join you? You’ve got this and it is so fun to have new goals. Isn’t that sushi gorgeous? It was from a food truck. That party was free (not the food trucks but all of the treats/activities were). Come move to Utah;). Happy Monday, Mollie!

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Remember you are not competing! You are exercising for health and happiness! So as long as you are accomplishing those two goals, everything else is extra.

I came back to running a few months ago after being sick. At first I could barely walk a mile, but with time and patience, I am getting back to it. I ran 7 miles on Saturday! Being kind to yourself and your body helps.

My dad and my running friends are my biggest cheerleaders. And even my friends who don’t run- they know I love it and usually ask me about it!

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‘Remember you are not competing!’… oh that is SUCH a good one. I love what you said, those two goals are everything. Up to 7 miles already, you are crushing it! So grateful for the awesome support system you have. Have the best day Mariah!

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I love the story of Brook enjoying her lunch so much! We think we are raising our kids but obviously THEY are raising US! I recently started sprinting and I love it so much that I want to join a Masters track team. So scary but so exciting ! Have a good Monday!

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Right?! I feel like they teach me all day long…
Way to go on your sprinting… sprints kill me off. I think you should absolutely join the Masters track team and will you please keep me updated with it all?! You are amazing.
Happy Monday Mel!

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Brooke enjoying her lunch makes me laugh because I’m picturing teeny tiny bites being taken for some reason. Like little mouse size bites.

I started running again (well it’s been twice in the past few days but hey it counts right?!) and I’ve just done run/walk intervals. 5 minute walking warm up and cool down then 12 x 30 seconds running/1 minute walking. Better than nothing!

Okay highlight of my weekend was a date. Different guy (med school kid didn’t work out but that’s okay!) and it was fun. Definitely very new (and we’ve talked about a second date without scheduling it) but hey it was a fun night!

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Hahah well, I think your imagination is correct because I’m sure she took mouse-size bites! Twice absolutely counts and those run/walk intervals are everything. You are doing amazing already. Bummer about the med school guy not working out but I’m glad you are okay and you know I am just thrilled about this new guy. Let me know how the second date goes! I love being included in this part of your life:).

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This is just what I needed today- I have a half marathon in November and am seriously doubting my ability. This will be my first real race since covid. I keep reminding myself to just take it a step at a time. I definitely feel like I am starting from square one.

My highlight was shopping and lunch with my sister and my girls on Saturday. My sister is also one of my biggest cheerleaders! <3

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Amy I am so glad this post could help you out. AND 13.1 IN NOVEMBER… you can and you will! ‘Take it a step at a time’–> best advice ever. Please keep me updated with all of your training and how you are feeling. Your shopping/lunch date sounds like it was perfection. Happy Monday, Amy!

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I took a good 8 months off consistent training last year and coming back there was definitely walking and a reminder that I wasn’t comparing me to my former self 😊.

I started with small goals and those building blocks have helped me to build back. There were goals to just get outside for 20 -30 min and intervals of run walking.

The highlight was a day spent trail running in the Whistler alpine yesterday! My longest run in months..almost 17 miles. It was gorgeous The low light was the traffic home lol. Usually a 2 hour drive but it took 3 lol in bumper to bumper traffic.

Happy Monday Janae!

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You have come back so so strong after your time away from consistent training! I love those small goals, they get us to where we want to go. Oh I bet that run was absolutely amazing and 17 miles… you are on fire. BOOO to that traffic, I hate sitting in the car. Thanks Kristine, you too!

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Is Brookes marathon in a month a fundraiser or just something they do for fun? I like that idea!

I’m in the same boat. I took way too much time off after my last half and now I lack that motivation. It will come, i think for me it usually comes once I hit the runners high again or having a group or friend to go with. I tried trail running for the first time a few weeks ago and now I want to keep doing that. I couldn’t run the whole thing yet though.

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Hey Jenny! Yes, it is also a fundraiser but some years they have just done it for fun too. AHHHH you tried trail running! That makes me so so happy. We live in the greatest place for it:). You have to keep me updated with it and I totally know what you mean about a runner’s high or awesome group being amazing motivation! Happy Monday!

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Thanks for another great post Janae. I think we all need to hear these things regularly, whether its to get started with something or to remind ourselves why we do what we do! I’m 3 weeks out from my half marathon and I had a big goal to get a sub 2, but i’ve been really doubting myself. But you’ve just made me realise, I’m wasting my energy with these thoughts. I can and I will do hard things!

Tips for coming back to running, if starting completely from scratch, using the couch to 5k plan. There are many apps you can use to make it easier. I know people of all ages and fitness background who have had great success. It really is for anyone!

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Thank you Sarah for your comment! ABSOLUTELY… all of your energy now needs to go towards visualizing to yourself the clock as you are running down the finisher’s chute. SUB 2 IS YOURS. You’ve done the work… race day will be amazing and you know how to cope with the pain that will come in the final miles and continue to push through it. BEST tips… I’ve heard the couch to 5k plan is the absolute best and having an app would make it even more convenient. Have a great day and please let me know if you need a pep talk before your race and I better get to hear about how it goes!

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Great blog! We have all been there and it’s so hard to start again. I 100% agree with Janae, you can do hard things and don’t try to do it all at once. You won’t regain your fitness in 2 weeks.
Best part of the weekend? Talking to my daughter for the first time since we dropped her at college. She chose a military college and wasn’t allowed phone or email for the first week and I knew it would be all that a military school in the first week would be. It was so tough she said but she made it through Rook week and was smiling and happy and confident. I couldn’t sleep I was so relieved. Biggest cheerleader?? My sisters, they’re the best! Have a great day!!

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Hey Nancy! Your daughter is incredible. She made it through Rook week… I am so glad you were finally able to talk. I bet that week felt like a year for you. So glad you have awesome sisters and I’m sure you do the same thing for you. Thank you friend, you too!

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My first baby is seven months old now, and I’ve been so inconsistent with working out– but I know I need it mentally and physically! I just signed up for a (very hilly) half marathon at the end of October and ran a little over a mile this morning. Gotta start somewhere! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you :) Have an incredible start to your week! xo

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Congrats on your first baby! It really is such a big change (I think that is the hardest transition… 0–> 1!). I love that you signed up for that half marathon. You are off to an amazing start on your training and I cannot wait to hear about you rocking those hills on race day. Keep me updated on it all and I am here to give you any pep talks that you need. Have a beautiful day with your little one!

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This is such a great post for where I am at! I wasn’t able to run during my pregnancy, and when I was cleared for exercise at my 6 week postpartum appointment, I was shocked at how difficult just half my regular distance felt, even at a much slower pace! At first I was frustrated, but it helped me to remember that my body had just put SO much work in growing and delivering a baby, and as I slowly work my way back, I always think to myself “This is the hardest it’s going to be. With every run, this will get easier.”

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THANK YOU for sharing Courtney, we all understand those feelings big time. I love what you tell yourself… I’m going to start using that. You are doing amazing and you keep proving to yourself over and over again that you can do hard things. Have a happy Monday, friend. Keep me updated on it all. I’m here to cheer you on!

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I’ve always broken things into small chunks. Even long runs…a twenty miler is four five milers. So when I came back after baby and a knee injury I just started in chunks. Either time or miles. For running that might look like running one minute – walk one minute until I reach one mile. Running one mile is so much more doable to my brain that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Then I build from there.

Also, remind yourself you get to do this. You don’t have to. Makes a huge difference.

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‘You get to do this’… AMEN. I love that paradigm shift so so much. Those mini goals seriously help so so much. I totally agree with you! Happy Monday and I hope your week is a great one.

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This was so good to read! I definitely would add, stop the comparison game. When you compare yourself to others or your previous self, it sucks all the joy out, causes stress, and allows in all of the doubt.
My biggest cheerleader (s) have to be my husband and family, but I also have a couple of friends that are always so uplifting and supportive. It’s so good to have those people around us, and for us to be those people.
I completely tweaked my back yesterday. Not sure how exactly, but I can barely walk! I’m supposed to be doing a half marathon on Sept. 11, so hoping I can get back to normal quickly! I need to find a Dr. Bennett out here… Ha! I managed to finish my 10 miles though… Very slowly!
Have a really good Monday and start of the week 😊

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Thanks so much Wendy and you are SO right about that comparison game… it sucks out any and all joy! You have an amazing husband and family that support you and you sure support THEM all too. I am really worried about your back. Will you please keep me updated on it all? I’m going to fly Dr. Bennett out to you. I’m very very very worried. You need to be back to yourself asap.
Thanks Wendy, you too!

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Hi Janae! What a great post. I always tell my friends who don’t run there’s no shame in walking. When I came back from knee surgery I did run walk for a few months and it got me way stronger and not injured again. Also when looking for a PT look for one with sports medicine knowledge, preferably someone who is a runner too.
Happy Monday!

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NO SHAME IN WALKING… you are 100% right. I love that. You were so smart on your comeback and it has sure paid off! So many great tips, thanks Amy. Happy Monday to you too!

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I couldn’t agree more with all of your advice. I’ve started and restarted running several times over the past 15 years. Sometimes life happens and gets in the way of running. Each time starting over is hard but it’s also very rewarding to see yourself progress!

I’m now 49 and I started over again last year with weights and more recently running. And it’s great! This is the strongest I’ve ever been in my life. It’s never too late.

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I totally agree with you, it really is so fun to see all of the jumps in fitness along the way as you restart! ‘IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.’ Thank you for sharing that, it really is so important to remember that! You are on fire… keep me updated on it all. Thanks Chris!

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What a great message – I have my first 10K run next weekend and I don’t feel 100% ready. I have only ever did 5K’s.I am feeling a little nervous. However, I am just doing it for myself, so I don’t have a certain record to break so I’ll just go with the flow and try to not be so hard on myself.
On another note, do you have a link to your mustard shirt? :)

Hope you have a great Monday!

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FIRST 10K NEXT WEEKEND! Ashley, I am so so excited for you. Take it one mile at a time… stay present (instead of thinking of how much more you have to go) and enjoy a new personal distance record. Please let me know how it goes, I’m cheering for you!

That top is from a few years ago but this one is pretty much identical: https://shopstyle.it/l/bxDkC
Thanks friend, you’ve got this!

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Such a great reminder to start where you are! When I started running postpartum I ran/walked a few times a week before picking it up to 1 mile run a day for a month then started doing 2-3 miles at least 3 times a week. I told myself anything more than that was icing on the cake and I did that 2-3 mile run 3x a week for a looong time. When I started to get the itch to run more/longer I met back up with my running group for workouts and it was awesome! I recently just took about two weeks off because I wasn’t feeling running, I needed to focus on some strength for my back/hip, but I always know it’s time to start running again when I see other runners and get jealous. I may not be able to go as far or as fast as them but it always comes back

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‘Anything more than that was icing on the cake’… I love that so much. You came back SO smart. I bet it felt amazing to get back with your running group again. Way to go being smart and taking those two weeks off. Hahah yep, when that jealousy creeps in you know it’s time to get going again. Thanks for sharing Emily, keep me updated with it all!

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I’m currently 10 weeks out from having my twin baby girls. I’m having the hardest time metering myself think about the shape I was in before having them. Between having three kids and recovering I have only been able to run a couple miles a week. I just keep having to remind myself it’s slow and I need to be patient. My husband is my biggest cheerleader. He helps with the kids so I can sneak in little workouts. I’m so happy he is so supportive!

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IN TEN WEEKS YOU ARE HAVING TWIN BABY GIRLS! Congratulations Jenna, I am so excited for you and your family. You are doing amazing. I cannot even imagine pregnancy with TWINS. One at a time is so hard for me. I’m cheering for you and I can’t imagine how you are juggling it all. Your husband sounds awesome. You two make an excellent team. Keep me updated with it all!

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Happy Monday! What a great post this morning. I am in the midst of “a comeback” after a lengthy period away from running. There is no getting around the fact that it’s HARD and there are days when motivation doesn’t show up. In my opinion, it’s harder to start again than start the first time, because you know how tough it’s going to be. I honestly have nothing new to add to what so many have already said. I guess my only thought is you have to make yourself do it when you don’t feel like it. You’ll regret not getting out there and eventually it will just become that thing you do without thinking much about it. That takes time though so give yourself grace.
My sister is probably my biggest cheerleader. She flew across the country to go to my first marathon with me!
My whole life I have wanted to take ballet. An opportunity has presented itself, so now as a fully middle aged woman, I’m taking a beginner class. Scared as heck, but doing it anyway! Have a fantastic start to your week, Janae!!

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I am SO happy you are making your comeback now. You are so right though, there is no way around it… it’s just really hard. That is exactly what we needed to add to the list… sometimes you just have to force yourself out the door to go. Your sister sounds amazing… I love that you have each other.
BALLET… Janine, I am so excited about this. Will you please keep me updated on this. You are so inspiring to me to try the things we want to try! Thanks and you too!

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OMGoodness!! I needed this today! I am a retired professional athlete, and a new 3rd grade teaching associate this year. I also signed up to be assistant coach for the HS Varsity Cross Country team, and I’m pretty sure all my lessons I teach them are going to be from your blog posts I have read over so many many years!!

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Emily, how cool that you were a professional athlete and now you are a 3rd grade teaching associate. Can I come coach with you guys too?!? What an amazing experience and you will do so much for both your students and the kids you coach. Keep me updated on it all. You are incredible.

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Do a couch to (fill in the blank program). even if you are beyond the couch.
I did the Couch to marathon once and one of the greatest gifts it gave me is to never fear a season without workouts in them. Its always waiting when you want it.

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GREAT ADVICE! Thank you for sharing and I didn’t know that about your couch to marathon plan… it sounds perfect. ‘Never fear a season without workouts in them,’ that was just what I needed to read! Thanks friend, I have learned so much from you over the years.

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Love this post! My favorite mantras are “You can do hard things!” & “”It’s supposed to be hard, but it gets easier!”. It can be so challenging to come back from a break for whatever reason, but the mental challenge seems harder to overcome than the actual physical. Because I’ve taken breaks many times, I now count how many runs it takes for me to feel normal-ish running again so that way the next time I can count down to easy! If nothing else, it convinces me to keep on getting out there :)

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Thank you Penny and I love your mantras, they are the best. I totally agree with you about the mental portion being even harder than the physical parts. I love that you keep track of how many runs it takes to feel normal again for the next time. That is really so smart. Thanks for sharing and have the best Monday!

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Definitely relate to and love your thoughts on starting small and enjoying the process! I was in a very bad place physically when I was in my mid-20s- I’d been hospitalized for two months with congestive heart failure after an infection and I almost wound up getting a heart transplant. My first at-home cardiac rehab session involved me literally walking to my mailbox and getting so winded I had to stop. But those first painful steps led me to where I am now, ten years later, so much stronger and fitter than I could’ve imagined back then. I am not a fast runner and probably never will be, but I appreciate what my body is capable of and I love the way I feel when I run. To me, that is success and that feeling is what I chase after when I run.

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What a good post ! End of summer parties are so fun and so sad at the same time. I have really let running slide over the last few years, I have let my blog slide, I have let alot of things slide… all of this from some hard times in 2019 through current. I do some form of exercise when I can, even if small. I have recently started to climb out of my hole. Exertion in summer months gives me heat headaches, so I have taken to the pool but I tell my family I need 1 hour in there to myself daily. Water is the best ! To lounge and listen to music, or my newest to me thing is swimming laps! Which I’m loving. But that will soon come to an end with summer. So this past weekend my 13 year old daughter and I signed up for a 5k together. She did great for her first one ever. I did pretty well considering I took turns pushing my 2 grandkids in a stroller and it was 98 degrees (so I walked it). I still got the ol heat headache but we crossed that finish line. As swimming ends, attempting running begins (again). Your positive posts like this really do make a difference. :-)

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