Thursday, October 14, 2010

Write Pink! Bigger Picture Moment: Sarah's Story

While I was running the other day, I had a thought.  (And probably only the one thought, because I'm such a new runner that all I can usually focus on is how to drag air into my lungs while simultaneously avoiding kicking myself in the calf with my next stride.)

I thought, I'm getting healthier by the minute. 

Let me be crystal-clear: I don't consider myself to be a healthy person.  I eat lots of junk, I sit on my duff for hours a day, and I generally avoid physical discomfort caused by exercise or anything resembling it.  In fact, if not for my dear friend Jill's unavoidable encouragement, I never would have begun an exercise regimen in the first place.

Last month sometime, she approached me with the idea that we could be partners in the Couch to 5K training program.  I believe I laughed at her.  I outright refused to think I could run a 5K for the indisputable reasoning that I don't run.

But then my imagination took over.  What if, I thought, I start running and actually LIKE it?  What if I'm good at running?  What if I CAN run a 5K?  What if I DON'T fall over dead on the first day?

Suddenly I'd made up my mind: my unhealthy, sedentary state needed to change, and God Bless Jill for coercing me into this training program. 

Physical exercise is the biggest part of a healthy lifestyle that I've never been good about.  I've dabbled in healthier eating so that I feel mostly good about what I'm feeding my family.  (But don't stand between me and my donuts...)  I've filled my head with research about the effects on children and adults of good sleep patterns, and implemented strict sleep routines in our house.  (But don't try to get me to bed when I'm in the middle of an engrossing page-turner at 1AM.)  I've studied ways to lessen my family's exposure to unnecessary chemicals and tried to get rid of obvious offenders.  (But heaven help me if you take away my simple, cheap, store-bought cleaners.)

My point is that I've never even tried to fit exercise into my life because it sounds so unfavorably hard.  When the topic of breast cancer prevention came up, I could nod and smile when the inevitable 'healthy lifestyle' instructions were given -- because I was doing most of that healthy living, if not all. 

But not any longer.  Because I'm exercising.  I'm trying to make a difference in my future by changing my present.

According to breast cancer researcher Anne McTiernan MD, PhD, author of Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer,
"Lack of exercise and obesity are thought to account for about a quarter of breast cancer cases."  [source]
Well.  That's big.  And so I run.  (Well, I walk/jog for now.)  Besides strengthening my heart, bones, lungs, muscles and every other part of me, running is good for my breasts.  Good for my life.

Good for your life, too. 

And let me tell you a secret: (I like running.)  (I didn't die the first day, and I continue to feel stronger and more able with each passing day.)  (Having a partner makes all the difference.)  That was more than one secret.  But I'm not done yet:

You can run.  Or bike or swim or walk or dance.  You can exercise.  You can

Even if you're like me and thought the day would never dawn that saw you happily lacing up your (pink-ribboned) running shoes. 


Link up your Write Pink! Bigger Picture Moment in support of breast cancer prevention today at Undercover Mother!  (Hint -- your link also gets you entered into a Strawesome Giveaway!)

6 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes!!! You are proud of me for writing controversial? {Well, thank you!}But that's nothing: I am proud of YOU for RUNNING!
    That is awesome, Sarah. You are getting healthier by the minute. I firmly believe that physical activity goes so far in preventing disease and improving outlooks on life {not that you have a problem with outlook on life!}.
    You are DOING something, and I'm so psyched about your BPM I cannot help by type in all caps a lot during this comment. :)

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  2. What a motivating post...and so true! good job! :-)

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  3. I love running, I miss it and I am so glad you have taken it up!

    Good for you!

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  4. That's great that you're running, and it's so nice that you have a buddy to do it with! And if it makes you feel better, I've ran for years and still sometimes kick myself in the calf :)

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  5. Why did I read this just as I was stumbling back to bed for an early morning nap? Now you've got me all motivated and stuff--like, I should go do some yoga instead...Sarah!

    But seriously, I'm glad you're starting to enjoy running! Is your handsome, healthy husband totally thrilled? (That last sentence might be evidence that I do, in fact, need a nap!)

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  6. I used to think I couldn't run either. Started the Couch to 5K two years and a half years ago...and last month I ran my first marathon. Once you start these kind of things, you don't know where they'll take you!

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?