After I cleaned out my pantry, it was time to purchase some new wardrobe items. I was going to start working out. At this point, I had no idea what that meant. The last time I worked out the ab roller was all the rage and most people were sweating to the oldies with frizzy haired Richard Simmons. I hadn’t worked out since the last millenium. However, one thing I knew was that you can’t workout in three-inch heels and a business suit. I didn’t own tennis shoes, the last pair I had was from cheerleading in high school. I didn’t own jogging pants, I was a lady for goodness sakes and would rather die than be caught dead in a pair. I didn’t have t-shirts, unless you count the ones bought at college football games over a decade old that hugged my fat rolls and cut off the oxygen supply to my brain and other extremities.

You would think the target market for workout clothes would be geared toward people who needed to workout because they didn’t fit in regular sized clothes anyway but I found out that was not the case. I started at a poplar sporting goods store that sold every type of equipment and clothes an active person would need. Active people size 12 and under. I went to a few department stores and found the same thing there. If I had rock hard abs and a butt you could bounce quarters off of, they had workout apparel for me. A 5’3″ 240 pound woman was out of luck. I ended up at a plus size clothing store and bought a pair of black cropped leggings and a kind of gathered black knit top with a chain belt. The outfit if paired with strappy sandals was more suited for a summer cocktail party than the gym but I cut the glitzy chain belt off, bought a pair of silver and white Nike’s and joined a gym.

After being given my free introductory tour of the weight machines, I opted for the treadmill instead. One thing was certain, I knew how to walk. I may not have known where my hamstring was, what plank position meant or how much weight to curl but I could walk.

My type A, all in, over achieving personality thought the middle school’s Bear Cat Bolt 5k at the end of my first week working out was the obvious next step in my training regimen. Long story short, I was last, not last, like a pack of runners with me toward the back. Last like, all alone except for the school cheerleaders following behind me in a Chevy truck, picking up signs marking the route. I wanted desperately to get in that truck and have them shuttle me to the finish line and end my misery. My shins hurt, my side ached, my heart was pounding and I was sweating like a pig but I knew I had to finish this race. I had to and I did.

Today, with the help of my trainer Brandi, I am doing things I never thought possible. If I had stopped and jumped in the back of that truck instead of finishing that first 5K, little victories I have experienced along the way probably wouldn’t have happened like being able to put my hands on my hips and feel my pelvis. I forgot there were bones beneath all those layers. Being able to run a mile for the first time without stopping and wanting to say “in your face” to all the condescending middle school gym teachers from my past. Being able to play with my nieces and nephews and not feel like the air was being sucked from my lungs by a vacuum cleaner.

Start simple. Move your body. No matter how slow. No matter what others think. Finish the race.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.