Why I did my first 5K at age 55 | Recipe Renovator

Finishing my first 5K!

If you’ve been reading my work for any length of time, you know that I have had some health opportunities over the years. I had a spinal fusion surgery in 2003, and a follow-up spine surgery two years later. At that time I was also diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I was super sick. I worked hard to get better, and mostly I did. Then three years ago, another curve ball. I started having scary vertigo attacks and was diagnosed with atypical migraines.

Through it all, I have done my best to have a positive attitude and keep going, even when my body felt not-great. In the last year, I seem to have finally found a balance with my diet and movement that works for me. I don’t feel fantastic every day, but overall I am much better than I was a few years ago. And part of it has been reframing the way I think about exercise and “getting into shape” since becoming a health and wellness coach.

For the first time in many years I have been getting consistent light exercise: walking with my dog Daisy six mornings a week at a reasonable pace. I do about 10 minutes of light yoga when I get home, and then meditate for 7-10 minutes after that. I built up to this amount of regular movement over two years.

So when I saw that the Fit Foodie Race was coming back to San Diego, it suddenly occurred to me that I could probably walk 3 miles. I had no intention of running it (my running days were over in my twenties), but I could walk 3.1 miles. I had been an Ambassador for the race several years before as part of my blogging relationship with Cooking Light. At that time I could not even imagine taking part in the event.

So I signed up, invited some friends, and started looking forward to it. Here are three reasons why I am glad I did.


Having a date for the race kept me thinking about pushing myself ever so slightly to do one longer walk per week, to figure out how many steps exactly were involved in a 5K (7,550 with my stride length), and to keep at it. Knowing that I had registered for the race, publicly announced I was doing it, and having the commitment to do regular social media posts as an Ambassador kept me making positive choices.

Getting to pick up my race packet at the local running store was a thrill. No, I wasn’t running a marathon. But I did have an official race number with a digital chip on the back. And safety pins! I was now part of a club. And that felt great.
Why I did my first 5K at age 55 | Recipe Renovator


The next benefit was looking forward to walking with my friends. My youngest friend on the race just successfully beat breast cancer. None of the friends knew each other before the race. By the time we were done we all had spent time walking in pairs. I loved the feeling of being down in the race area before the start time, seeing all the families walking together in support of The American Diabetes Association, and knowing that I was a part of it all. I’ll admit it, I was already thinking about signing up for another one. Could I possibly do a 10K some day? Hmmm.


And finally, I was filled with gratitude that I felt well enough to do this. Due to the crowded conditions, we never ended up walking very fast. But we were still far faster than the woman using a walker with her husband. I remember having my walker after my back surgery. I remember being so sick from chronic fatigue that walking around the corner and back caused me to need a two-hour nap. I remember being so dizzy from vertigo I couldn’t walk without holding onto a wall. And none of that is true about me right now. My friend Hillary remembers how sick she was last year from her chemo. We all have a lot to be grateful for.

If you don’t think of yourself as an athlete, if you’re not in perfect shape, I would still encourage you to set a little tiny fitness goal. And let me know how you’re doing!

And if you need support, I have a few slots open for health coaching clients. Maybe one of them is meant for you! I’d love to walk beside you on your health journey.