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Sep 17, 2013
09:41 AM
Health Kick

Baked Beans, Tea Parties and Me

Baked Beans, Tea Parties and Me

PHOTO BY JAN WILLEM VAN WESSEL

We were at Brocach on a date night. I was sitting across the table from my husband and I said it aloud. I want to run a marathon. It was five years ago. I had never run a race longer than a 10K. I had only been running seriously for a year. I was embarrassed to aspire to something like that. It seemed ridiculously grandiose for someone like me.

I was the smart girl in school. I wasn’t overweight or particularly awkward, but I wasn’t athletic. I could hardly run a mile at times in college. I managed my weight primarily through diet until that didn’t work anymore.

I started running one Christmas because it was my only option. I had been exercising regularly after my daughter was born because I couldn’t get the baby weight to budge. I was a big fan of the elliptical. But when we were in Ohio for the holidays, there was no gym around. I didn’t want to take a full week off for fear that I would slip back into my old ways and stop exercising altogether.

My husband encouraged me to go on a four-mile run with him. I had never run more than 3.1 miles, a 5K, before, so I was nervous. But I tied my shoes, dressed in layers upon layers and headed out with him on the country roads. I ran the whole way.

That day changed me. Before I argued that I wasn’t a runner. I couldn’t do it. My body wasn’t made for it.

But I was wrong. I am a runner. My body is made for it. I’m even kind of fast for a forty-year-old mother of two.

Now four marathons later, I’m doing something I never imagined I could or would. I’m going to run the Boston Marathon. I qualified last month in Wausau with a time of 3:37:46. If you had told me ten years ago that I’d run four marathons and one of them would be fast enough to get me to Boston, I wouldn’t have believed you or even recognized what a big deal the latter is.

I’m no different from anyone else. I’m a busy mom with a full-time job, a side gig freelancing and all the regular responsibilities that come with being an adult. And I qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Yes, it says some things about me. I run a lot. I’m dedicated. I am more than a little bit competitive.

But it also says something about all of us, about everyone who can barely run a 5K without stopping, anyone who thinks that a goal is forever out of reach.

Anything is possible.

Fall is perfect for running. The air is cool and crisp. The roads aren’t covered in ice yet. It’s time to tie your shoes and give it a try. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Including you.

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About This Blog

Contrary to the title of this blog, I'm not always on a health kick. I try (for the most part) to eat well and exercise regularly, but I'm far, far from perfect. I do, though, enjoy learning about health trends and scientific discoveries, and I hope to share information and pose questions that you might find interesting or useful. Hey, if you get a little inspired while you're reading, all the better. Just don't expect it on a regular basis. I'm a writer, not a celebrity trainer.

Why health? Well, I've been around the block enough times that I don't take it for granted anymore. I also recognize that our health is the result of myriad factors ranging from genetics to diet to habits to socioeconomic status to prejudices and beyond. It's a complicated puzzle with different pieces for each of us. That means there are few guarantees or absolutes and still a ton to discover. I never liked the rigidity of science in practice, but I love the insights it produces.

So let's start 2013 on a Health Kick. With any luck, we'll all be better for it.

– Jennifer Garrett 

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