If you've been following (or liking - I'm still not sure how to incorporate that into a good sentence) my Facebook page you probably saw my posts on my first road race. Yes I entered a race! And yes, I both finished and survived to write about it.
If you know me you know I am NOT a runner. But I do like to walk. While I'm reasonably healthy, I should be in better shape and I definitely need to lose some weight. I'm not exactly the poster child for Heart Health in my classes. I have a pretty healthy diet, but exercise was definitely lacking. So this year I decided to try competitive walking. Why competitive walking? Because if I don't have a goal I've publicly committed to, I know I'll let other things in my life (kids, classes, work, housework, reading....) distract me and keep me from my goals.
So last Saturday I walked in the Children's Museum of New Hampshire 5K. It was a lot harder than I anticipated. I had walked the course once last year. I remembered that there were hills. I forgot that last year I walked slowly up those hills pushing a stroller. This year no stroller, and trying to keep a good pace to keep up with the other walkers. I think I had also forgotten that the race started by running or walking uphill.
Anyway, I am so excited by how well I did! Did I come in first? No! Did I expect to? No! My goal was to try to finish in 1 hour and possibly not be the last person to cross the finish line. I did so much better than I anticipated. I finished just under 50 minutes with a blistering 16:05/mile pace. MUCH faster than I had thought I could do. Proof is here on the CoolRunning.com website. I finished 26th out of 44 registered walkers. So much better than I had thought I could do and it really has me energized to keep going!
I still need to work on improving my eating habits, and get back into the Weight Watchers routine again, but I'm already planning my next race. I'm hoping to join up with an informal group that does racewalking training and I just splurged on some good quality running/walking shoes. Walking is such an easy way to exercise. You don't have to join a gym, and other than good sneakers or shoes you don't need fancy or expensive equipment, You can set your own pace and distance, and you can walk with others for company. It's also not too stressful on your joints and you can do it whenever it fits into your schedule.
A quick disclaimer: You should always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine. Since I had a concern with my knees I visited and discussed my fitness goals with an orthopedist before increasing the distance I was walking.