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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v13n03)
Gettin' Ripped in Ripple - Is Your Health Journey > The Destination? - by Laura Minor
posted: Feb. 05, 2016

Gettin' Ripped in Ripple header

Guest Columnist - A Friend

Is Your Health Journey > The Destination?

I'll start off by saying writing an article about fitness would have been laughable for me three years ago, and not that my writing skills have improved, but my fitness has. My journey to get there wasn't easy, and there were many pitfalls along the way. So, if you choose to jump into a more fit life I commend that! And please learn from my mistakes. Also I don't write at all, so please bear with me.
I've always been an averagely fit guy who only exercised when a ball or keeping score was involved. I come from a generally unfit family, albeit very loving and nothing I would trade. But living healthier was only discussed as a result of a doctor's advice and never really taken seriously or maybe change seemed impossible. Both my parents passed away of sudden heart attacks years before they reached their sixtieth birthdays.
So I was thirty five and decided I wanted to take it seriously. Not just to live longer, but mostly to live happier. It started with a diet-cut out the large coke or two daily, chill out on the carbs, the sweets, watch my portions and the nightly beer(s) and so on. Well it worked and within months 25 pounds had dropped off and I was close to my high school weight. I was feeling proud and liking the new/old me. I think I might have even seen an ab or two. . . when sucking in! Fast forward six months later and the not so perfect habits were creeping back and so was the weight. There's just no way I would be able to deprive myself of all those enjoyable things for the rest of my life. Maybe I could manage it with what I had learned. . . nope that was wishful thinking. I soon realized that dieting had helped me understand nutrition in a way I never had before, but was not sustainable for the long haul.
So with that information I decided to take a small step towards more exercise, but what do? I don't like running. Yet oddly enough I thought to myself "I know, I'll run a marathon". Great idea, huh?! You see, I had the benefit, or maybe a drawback, of being a spectator at many of my wife and sister-in-law's marathon races and witnessed the training involved. They "did" Indy, Chicago, New York, D.C., and Boston marathons, most of which many times, I was usually there to take pictures and cheer them on. As time went on naturally it started to look easier. . . I now know I was blinded by thousands of really good runners making it look easy!
And so the training began. It was early summer and I chose a small marathon (like 60 people running small) in Michigan the fall of that same year, another stupid choice. I threw myself into training with no base miles on my body. Locking in 15-18 mile runs thinking all along "well they do it why can't I?" attitude. Regardless I kept up the training and during my first marathon my body started to react: my knees, my shins, my ankles, my feet-- what the heck? Despite all the advice against, I still went through with it. I even finished the marathon with a very satisfying finish time and ran every step, but it was a battle of mind and body with horrific pain. I would not recommend any of you to attempt this, or anything in its form, but please read along.
So guess what, I stopped running to let my body recover and before I knew it 7 or 8 months had passed. And yes I was nearing the place where all this began. I decided to sign up for a marathon again; who is this person? I again had no base of running to start from and soon it was time for long training runs. I chose to join a running group with like-minded (crazy) people and to get advice; better yet comradery. But probably it may have been a little too late. I definitely trained hard and still my confidence was low giving how my body was feeling days before. I finished again, but this time my legs seem to shut down about the 18 mile mark and I ended up having to run/walk to complete the grueling 26.2 miles. At times I was doing the math in my head to see if it would be closer to get to my house or the finish line. My family was there to cheer me on as I rounded the last turn and they could see the struggle on my face as I crossed the line. There's no doubt that completing a marathon is an amazing feat that deserves celebration and joy, but it's difficult when your pre-race goals are not met.
I struggled to get out for my first early morning run a few days later, yet I made it out. This was a huge step in my transformation as I was NOT out there on a training run, I was out there to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Thank you to my running buddy for helping me get through those dark early mornings. In the coming weeks I kept a running schedule that was more feasible and the pains soon stopped and the joy soon followed. I learned that all the aches and pains that were so frustrating are to be expected when you don't take the time needed to strengthen and prepare the muscles involved. It is so funny to think something you (I) hated before could be something you love. I always felt like I needed an end goal of a race to continue running, I was so wrong! It actually got easier without the goal and slowly transitioned from looking at my running watch to looking and appreciating the surroundings, still working on that one though. Months later my wife introduced me to running trails in Indy and circuit classes at her studio and exercise has never been more fulfilling.
Therefore, the personal point of this article is this: anything is possible. . . .however, best to try and appreciate the process of the journey in order to both physically and mentally enjoy its benefits. I can finally see a future in fitness instead of the "end" I always thought I needed to be successful.

Laura Minor owner and operator of So.Be.Fit. Personal Training and Fitness studio located at 54th and the Monon. She is passionate about teaching others how to "FIT" exercise and physical activity into their daily lives, and have fun while doing so! Visit her website at or e-mail
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