I love to encourage others in their health and wellness goals, though it is a struggle to stay balanced with fitness and nutrition. I sometimes overdo it and other times give up for a while with busyness or injury. Join me as I try to stay motivated to get the whole family out the door more often.
My mom introduced me to distance running when I was thirteen, training for my first 5k. It took another year before I decided to try again and run with the cross country team my sophomore year in high school.
I knew from my junior year I wanted to run in college. I went on to Harding University where I ran middle- to long-distance with both success and disappointment. A lesser-known distance (the 1000 yard dash) allowed me to become a three-time All American, but in cross country and outdoor track, I was always so close, yet so far, from that goal.
After starting our family, injuries plagued me and at the age of twenty-five—on my birthday no less—an old-time orthopedic doctor told me to hang up the running shoes and get a bike. Seeking a second opinion, a sports-med doctor said, “You could probably run 12-15 miles a week and cross train.” So I got a bike, competed in a few duathlons in Western Michigan, but when I had my second child I stopped exercise completely—outside of chasing kids—and we continued to expand our family.
Five years later I felt way older and more broken down than my thirty years. After the encouragement of my doctor to get active again to help battle depression, I started walking and using the elliptical. I also found a book, Strong Women Beat Arthritis, which encouraged me that maybe I could overcome that diagnosis back when I was twenty-five. After a couple of years at a maintenance level of exercise, I finally decided to give running a try, working up to it with the run-walk plan. Back when the sports-med doc told me 12-15 miles a week, I kind of guffawed at it. In my ultra-competitive mind at the time, why bother?
But seven years later, coming back from my fifth pregnancy, twelve miles a week would be amazing! So, I started doing a run-walk program at the local cinder track. After the birth of my sixth child, I worked up to running more regularly but maybe got too ambitious when I tried a 5k supported by my church and injured myself. It took me three years to get to what the actual problem was, an injured gastroc (upper calf muscle). Foam rolling and physical therapy finally freed me of a 1-1/2 mile threshold where the pain would hit.
In 2013 we moved to Monroe, Louisiana. I was finally getting into the realm of running pain free (mostly). I was now in the masters category, which made awards time fun, and I loved getting involved with the running community. I even got my first “sponsorship”… a discount on gear at the local running store. But injuries kept coming back every time I picked up the training in the spring with speedwork. Unfortunately, I still haven’t ever felt like I got to my potential for my second act.
All the ups and downs of my running career have given me perspective though. I feel I can identify with a newbie in a way because I came back into it after so many years away and learned to build up from nothing. My injuries also made me slow down enough to run with all of my children before they could outrun me. We made family workouts a reality, where if I was the blazing, driven Shauna of the past, I would have said, “bye bye” and headed off to train with others who could push me. And I so deeply admire all those who say, “enough is enough” to embrace a new lifestyle that honors their bodies, whatever shape or size, and to keep setting goals to stay active.
Join me as I explore ways to stay active in San Antonio and bring your kids along for the ride.