When I was 21, I decided to get off my butt and take control of my exercise habits.
As a kid I had been really active, but when I stopped my high cardio activities, around the age of 16, I started to gain a bit of extra weight.
I got to a point where I felt uncomfortable in my skin. My clothes got too tight and I was getting a bit of a gut.... Ok... let's not beat around the bush about this... I was chubby and I felt like crap.
In my third year of university, I decided to take back control of my life and get the body I loved back. At first I started eating less. When I watched the other girls who were skinny I noticed they hardly ate at all. So I thought I'd give that a go too.
I failed miserably.
I mean sure, I could get away with starving myself for half a day, but by the afternoon I was like ravenous bear after hibernation. I'd shove anything edible in sight into my gob - without hardly a swallow. Needless to say, starving myself wasn't going to get me the body I longed for. So, I decided to try a different approach.
I started walking. I liked to walk. I found it soothing. I carved a few hours out of my day and went out for a big walk. I even roped my flatmate in and we strolled across the big city and stretched our legs well and truly out, together. The only trouble was the amount of time I was spending doing it.
Time was precious while I was studying. I was juggling two jobs, on top of doing my course work, to keep myself afloat. I had to come up with a better solution. And I already knew what it was.
Each time I went out on a big walk I noticed people. Crazy, beautiful people wearing tight pants and drinking out of tubes attached to their backs.
Runners they called them. And I was not one.
But I needed that time back. My hormones were raging at that age, and I had no time to be on the prowl, what between working and walking I was all timed out. I had to give in. I had to figure out how to be crazy too.
So, it started with a lamppost.
I would half awkward run to the first lamppost on the street before me and then walk panting and squeezing my wheezing chest, all the way to the next lamppost, where I would do it all over again. Half jog/run to the next lamppost, clutch chest and half dying walk to the next... and repeat.
For my first week of this new crazy person sport, I made it about five lampposts before I decided to walk. On the second week I made it around one block. On the third week it was two blocks and so on and so on...
At first I hated it. I dragged my butt out there every second or third day and I forced myself to run. "Mind over matter. Mind over matter," I chanted to myself.
And then something strange happened.
I got my rhythm.
Suddenly, I looked forward to running.
Heck, I got to a point where I actually WANTED to run.
I was officially a crazy person - minus the backpack with the sippy tube - and I LOVED it!
I didn't care so much about my figure anymore, I cared about getting that feeling. That feeling of overcoming my own barriers. That feeling of accomplishment. That feeling of being a crazy runner. Getting my body back to its former shape was just a bonus!
To sum up, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that if you start with really small (I'm talking about minuscule lamppost to lamppost small) changes in your daily exercise routine, you could be a crazy runner too...OR a crazy lycra cyclist, or a crazy onesie swimmer, or whatever it is that your crazy might be... because small positive changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to the overall quality of your life.