A few months back I came across a picture of Nicole Ari-Parker wearing the t-shirt above. I thought it was funny and so true that I had to have it. In the African-American community we often struggle with weight, being healthy and unlearning generations of bad food habits/choices. I personally and luckily have not had these struggles as an adult because I learned early on that healthy lifestyle choices really do make a difference later on in life. So, I bought that t-shirt, knowing it might offend some folks, but wanting to dispel the myth that black women do not workout and that we are not health conscious. Don’t believe me? Check out this site!
How I Started Running I have been running for a little over a year now and I LOVE IT. I found it by accident. Early last year I had some unplanned weight loss. I went from a “full” size 10 down to a 6 and sometimes a 4. While the weight loss was not my goal, I felt so much better about EVERYTHING: the way I looked, the way I felt, the way others responded to the “new” me, etc. that I decided it was time to make a lifestyle change, start running and taking my health more seriously.
Why I Run While I initially started running to maintain my new weight and get healthy, I also started running because before I lost weight, I wasn’t at a good place in my life. Running provided me with an “escape”. For that moment, I didn’t have to think about what was going on in my life or be “present,” I could just lose myself in my thoughts and it was marvelous. I would allow my mind to wander and I always felt better afterwards.
I also run because it’s free to run outdoors.
My Usual Run While I do love to run, I am not a great runner nor do I run long distances. I usually run 2 miles followed by calisthenics at home (read about calisthenics here) at least four days a week. My total workout is about 35 minutes long which is very feasible (for those of you who claim you don’t have time!!!). On the days that I don’t run, sometimes I’ll still do the calisthenics so that I burn some calories and get my heart rate up.
Do I Love Running and Working Out? No! During college and grad school I hit the gym regularly and I enjoyed it more because I was surrounded by others who kept me motivated. Running is different for me because I do it alone. Some days I would rather stay home and watch TV. But, once I’ve tied my sneakers and take my first stride, I’m glad I did. And, once I’m done I feel amazing.
I Ran a Race! Last year I actually ran in my very first race! It was so much fun. A college friend, Julissa, who is an ace runner and participates in races ALL the time, noticed my frequent facebook updates about running. She asked if I had ever considered running in a race. I thought that the only races were the NYC Marathon – a TWENTY SIX mile race through the five boroughs of NY – so I told her “no”. She introduced me to God’s Love We Deliver and I was sold. The Race to Deliver is a four mile run in Central Park the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
I registered a little late so I wasn’t sure if I would reach my donation goal, but I surpassed it by $85 and I was delighted. It was definitely hard and it took dedication, especially since I had to motivate myself every day. But, it was reasonable and realistic (for me), something I think people forget to be with when they start a new workout regimen (which is why a lot of people often quit).
Since my usual run is two miles, I had to train a little to build up my endurance. I also had to change the way I ate (we’ll talk about food in Part 3 of this Series). On the days leading up to the race, whenever I didn’t feel like running, I would take out my running shoes and MAKE myself do it. And, I always felt really good afterwards.
***I’m running again this year; definitely look out for an announcement!!!***
Do you run? If so, what has been your biggest struggle? How did you overcome it? If you don’t, what are you waiting for?
Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this “Black Girls Exercise, Too” Series.