I was drawn to Bronx mom Tina Shoulders on Twitter by the vibe she gives out. Since taking up running last year, this single mom of a pre-teen son has lost 60 pounds and started training for the Nike Women’s Marathon. Tune into her vibe for yourself.
Best recent run: Best run recently was an 8-miler. I was feeling no hip pain and very little congestion--I felt like my old running self. Very shady park, with hills, the sounds of birds, the smell of grass, and the occasional athlete passing by. Heaven.
From walking, running: One day I just got up and started walking. Knowing I was very much overweight, I just needed to move. I would walk fast to break a sweat and to get finished, walking a neighborhood loop six times, six days a week. (The loop is about .65 miles.) Some days I would run mid-block just to speed up the walk and see how far I could run. A half a block turned to a block, a block turned into two, and before you know it, I was able to run the loop non-stop. Within months I could run it about six times. I was elated, then started to move off course onto the streets. It was definitely a slow and steady progression.
Happiest, not fastest, runner: Running takes my breath away, literally and figuratively. It clears my head, tones my body, and gives me a rush that few other things can. I am not that fast--I am probably not going to win any races until I am in my 60s (LOL). But I couldn’t be happier than when I am running.
Daily smiles: I love the idea of logging my daily accomplishments, and right now, many a day, the only noteworthy accomplishment is my mileage. I love dailymile for the community aspect: I have made friends, received great advice, and gotten to challenge myself by seeing other people’s pursuits.
Naysaying neighbors: It’s interesting being a black woman who runs, especially in the Bronx. It started off very supportive, people cheering me on. They were so proud I was at it, day in and day out. Fast forward about a year : I’m now 60 pounds lighter, and it makes friends and neighbors uncomfortable. People say things like: “Girl, you don’t want to lose to much.” “Honey, you going to blow away in the wind.” “Maybe you should just focus on toning and stop all that running.” Or my favorite, “You better eat something.” Some friends make comments about me needing to eat or ask why am I still running and other random things; some people even want to argue or debate my running. Crazy! I have fortunately inspired many people in the neighborhood because they do see the difference running and working out makes. Prayerfully, in time, in the community, maintaining optimal weight and health will reign above me having a big behind (and, trust me, I still have junk in this trunk). As African Americans, we definitely do maintain healthy body image and love our curves; however, more of us need to find and to encourage the balance of having a healthy, curvy body.
Tackling 26.2: My longest run ever will be in the Nike Women’s Marathon in October. I am excited and a bit fearful of the distance. I am running with Team in Training to raise money for a cancer that my dad lives with and in memory of my mom who had breast cancer. The cause gives it more meaning and helps me to push myself harder and train consistently. It seems so extreme and crazy to run such a long distance, but running challenges my mind and body and makes me think anything is possible. So I am looking forward to it. It will be my first destination race, too.
Must-have running apparel: I am going to sound corny but running shorts, a week's worth of shorts. I own no running shorts and wash by hand a pair of capris and running tights every day. Shameful. I do, however, love and live for the run with my Garmin 305.
Follow this mother at: http://beautifulathlete.com/