The 10 Minute Mile. And a Brief History of My ‘Running/Walking Career

You all remember I set a goal to run a 10 minute mile, right?  And last week my time was 17 minutes.  So here’s what happened (I love my Monk.)  I didn’t go to the high school track to check my running time yesterday, because I really wanted to go to the gym and work out.  So on my way home, I drove and carefully mapped out a one-mile course on my road that wasn’t too uphill or downhill.  Not exactly flat, but even enough.

This morning, I was up extra early (hello Lori!) and there was not a lot going on in blogland, so I checked out Caitlin’s blog.  (She is an amazing blogger–the creator of Operation Beautiful.  I just don’t check her blog every day because there is not enough time in the world to check out all the blogs I like.)  And her blog was a recap of the Disney Marathon that she had just completed.  And for the first eighteen miles, she and her friend averaged 10-11 minutes per mile.  COME ON!  Ten to eleven minutes for eighteen consecutive miles???  So that did it.  I had to check my time out before I went to my workout with Vicky.  I walked half a mile to the starting point, with a few jog sprints in there (note to self–stretch before leaving the house next time.)  And I was off.  After about one/tenth of a mile (I’m not kidding,) I thought, ‘oh, I’m not going to be able to keep running.  I’m going to have to stop and walk part of the way.’  But I kept going.  I thought, I’ll let myself walk if I can get to the quarter mile point.  By the time I got there, I knew I could keep going for a little while longer.  And by the time I got to the halfway point, I knew I could keep running all the way.  Result: One mile in eleven minutes, 51 seconds!!!!  Can you believe it?  I was so happy, really grinning.  One of the things that kept me going was thinking of you guys and Vicky.  That whole accountability/encouragement thing is so important.

I know this is not a world class time.  But it is so much more than I have ever done.

In January 2005, at 50 years old and 255.5 pounds, I started Weight Watchers because a friend asked me to go with her.  Basically every step I took hurt.  But it hurt to sit too.  So I started walking–like half a block.  I would trudge down the hill, and then limp back up even slower–I looked just like the 80 year old lady at church who needed a hip replacement.  I AM NOT KIDDING.

I kept increasing the distance I walked little by little.  Lots of times I told myself, if you will just walk to the next tree, you can eat a little bit more.  It is a wonder I ever lost any weight…

I knew I needed to exercise  on the days I worked so I started walking the ramp in the old part of the hospital where I work.  When I started, I walked down the ramp three floors, and then took the elevator back up.  I’M NOT KIDDING!  But gradually I began increasing the amount of walking I did on the ramp, and I eventually could go up and down all 7 floors twice.  This had a double benefit because it actually strengthened the muscles I needed for walking the hills at home.

By Fall of 2007, I had lost 100 pounds.  I was a regular walker, and occasionally, ‘when everything felt like it was working right,’ I would run.  I routinely did 3 miles, but my time was almost always an hour for those 3 miles.  There are some pretty good hills where I live.

Early in 2008, I discovered the blog world.  In May I joined a young blogger’s walking challenge.  I started walking longer distances, and before you knew it, I could pretty easily walk 5 miles.  Unfortunately, at about the same time I hurt my back, and so any plans to try to run were really curtailed at that time.  But the walking challenge and the fun and the camaraderie of that group was a real encouragement to keep going.  Thanks, Tigerlily!

The back thing really put a crimp in my exercise program, and over the next year I regained about 13 pounds.  In April of 2009 I got a personal trainer and really started exercising in earnest.  All this time I had kept up my walking.  My back got stronger and stronger, and eventually I got that 13 pounds back off.  But my walking actually took a back seat as I discovered the joys of swimming at the gym.

In the fall I started walking more regularly, and when my back and my knees felt good (what can I say?  I’m old), I would run part of the time.  I was just so darned motivated by all those running bloggers out there!  So that’s why, when January 1st rolled around I thought it would be fun to set a goal to run a 10 minute mile.  And I would have given up on that immediately if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of my blogging buddies!

So there you have it.  Not really an impressive ‘running’ history.  But again, one of those examples of ‘if I can do it, ANYBODY can do it!’


12 thoughts on “The 10 Minute Mile. And a Brief History of My ‘Running/Walking Career

  1. you must be REALLY warmed up BEFORE you stretch or you will do yourself major harm.

    for example, my husband and middle child jog to my mom’s (over 1/2 mile) and then stretch there, and then run.

    you can warm up in place to music – with a series of leg/arm/body moves. this is what I do – ask your Vicky to teach you a set routine that you do to a song (so you do it long enough) and then have her teach you stretch series.

    if you try to stretch a cold muscle – real damage.

  2. That is VERY impressive. You have accomplished so much over the past year. Not only weight loss but also finding a strength in you that you didn’t even know you had!

    I am running the half marathon this weekend… my running time? I run an 11 minute mile!! Sign up for a race… even a 5K.. it will give you some motivation to keep trying harder!

    I’m super proud of you and what you have accomplished so far. Can’t wait to see what you do in 2010!

  3. That is so cool to read that history and know that I was “around” for part of your history!! Tigerlily’s walking challenge nearly did me in!!

    You have come such a long way and I am still inspired by you every day! 🙂

    You rock the casbah, baby! And way to go on the 11 min mile – you got this 38 year old beat!! 🙂

  4. What a great story – thanks for sharing your history with us. You just never know what you are capable of, and like you, I’m finding that out on a daily basis! Congrats on your new running time – you will have a 10-minute mile before you know it!

  5. wow, That is a great story.
    I love that you walked down the ramp and took the elevator up.
    I know what you mean about every step hurting.
    I started out at 262 lbs. I would get up in the m orning and my feet would hurt. My heels especially.
    The first month I would just walk…walk for twenty minutes. walk for thirty.
    walk two miles.
    Now I do the elliptical for an hour.
    Now I weigh 186 and am headed downward.
    Where would we be if we hadn’t done what we could?

    • Thanks, Chris! And thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I didn’t even say that at one point I had carpal tunnel in both feet, and my heels felt like they were breaking every single time I stood up. Oh man, that is a painful condition!

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