Saturday, March 24, 2012

Learning to walk before I run

This all began with a dare. Health and fitness goddess, Lisa Raleigh dared me to do her 10 day detox. No meat, wheat, dairy, salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol or processed foods. 

What started as stubborn resolve ended in a truly extraordinary week and a half of focus, learning and a commitment to treating my body with more respect. 

In just 10 days, I learnt that at least 90% of my health problems were caused or aggravated by diet. My skin glowed, I went a full 10 days without a headache, ulcer pain or a hernia attack. There was no heartburn, indigestion or stomach cramps. It was a wakeup call. 

I've spent my life on diets trying to fit into "that pair of jeans". Chasing the body beautiful. Wanting to look a certain way. But for the first time, my food choices had nothing to do with kilograms and inches and everything to do with health. 

So many things happened all at once that indicated that this was the right time to make a change. This was the "flipping of the switch" that I'd heard so much about. 

Has anyone ever said something to you in passing conversation that made you think so hard that it'll stay with you forever? Without her even knowing it, my very wise, very strong and very inspiring friend, Nechama, planted the seed. What she said is not important and may not resonate with you, but it shook me to the very core. I was ready. 

The detox came to an end, but my mind was open and the end became the beginning. 

On Day 11, another challenge was issued. Run a 10km race by the end of the year. I'm not a runner. I'm not even a jogger. But it was time to find my stride. I've had 34 years to perfect my walk, but now it was time to run. 

I shared the news with my bestie, the Comrades warrior, Tanya Kovarsky. She jumped at the opportunity to torture me and decided that if we made this public I wouldn't back out. Immediately, a 10km race was selected and she mobilised a Twitter team to run with me. 

So, it's official. On the 4th of November I will be running the Soweto 10km with an incredible group of cheerleaders, coaches, friends and strangers. 

In the meantime, I need to learn how to run without looking special. But as Tanya said "We'll work on technique later". 

I'm terrified but determined and very motivated by fear of public humiliation. I'm going to do it. I'm going to just put one foot in front of the other, repeatedly, and pray I don't fall down. 

If you're an experienced runner or if finishing a 10km is on your bucket list, I'd love it if you'd run with me on the 4th of November. I'd love it even more if you're trained in CPR. Your support (and medical know-how) would mean the world to me.