An Inglorious Return - old graduate comes hobbling back

I am an "old" C25K graduate; I began my very first attempt to run in my entire life almost exactly 2 years ago, on my 34th birthday. It was very hard work for me, but I was unusually motivated.

It was so important to me because I was literally "running away from my cane". My health previously was really poor, with serious joint problems, asthma, obesity and a number of other issues which ultimately meant that I needed a cane to walk, starting at the ripe old age of 31. Yes, I was a feeble, old woman at 31. I was maybe 60 years "ahead of my time" in that respect.

About 6 months before my first C25K experience, I started a diet which actually worked for me (hurray!), began regular strength training, and got myself a weight management doctor to oversee my progress. I lost around 35-40 pounds, was walking easily without a cane, and wanted to continue my progress. I wanted to keep turning back the clock until I could be in reasonable shape and able to participate fully in my own life - like one might expect of a person in their mid-30s.

So I started C25K. I posted regularly about my experience, so if you are interested, look at my older posts to follow that saga. (Spoiler alert - I graduated! I even ran a full 5K, although it took closer to an hour than 30 minutes. It felt like I was starring in my own after-school special, and also like I was a real winner, in spite of it all.) I kept running for another few months after that as well, until I started replacing the running with other sports and activities.

Over the course of my quest to become healthy, I got pretty close to my goals. I lost a total of 75 pounds over 15 months, exercised 6 days a week, learned to eat well, became strong enough to dance, rock climb, hike, and run. I was within 15 pounds of a "healthy BMI" and very close to my goal weight and body composition. At 5'4", I went from a starting size (North American sizes) of 24W to size 8-10. I gave away all my old clothes, keeping only clothes that fit me, or were only a little too big. I was a success story.

Then I faced an obstacle that seriously derailed my progress.

One of my doctors prescribed a medication that caused me to inexorably gain weight (a side effect). A lot of weight. In spite of continued exercise, dieting and careful oversight by my weight management doctor. I tried really, really hard to keep going. But week after week, month after month I kept regaining the fat I had lost. After several months of fighting it as hard as I could, I eventually gave up. I stopped logging all my food. I let my workout regimen slide. I wasn't completely sedentary, nor did I return to eating total junk. But I stopped really trying.

Of the original 75 pounds I had lost, I regained 45 in nine months, half of that during the time I was still working so hard to combat it. I couldn't participate in nearly any of the previous sports and activities I had so enjoyed. It started to hurt to my knees to walk again. None of my clothes fit, not even the slightly bigger stuff I'd kept in reserve. I had already given away all my really large-sized clothes.

Eventually, in consultation with a couple of my doctors, I got off the medication causing the tremendous weight gain, and was able to replace it with medicines which did not have that dramatic side effect. My weight stopped climbing, and after a couple of months, it started slowly coming off again.

I wasn't all the way back to square one, but I still had to return to first principles. I started again my easiest strength training workouts. I logged all my food, and ate very carefully. I lost around 15 pounds in 3 months and regained some of my strength. I also regained the ability to walk without pain.

And so I am back again, starting C25K for a second time. I expect it will be a little easier this time around, with the confidence that I managed to do it once before. But then again, who knows? Life can be funny that way.

Will you join me? Will my "cheerleaders" from last time come back to encourage me? Can I encourage you?

If I have learned anything from any of this so far, it is this:

***You don't fail until you fail to try.***

However long it took me to get back on the wagon, no matter the reason I fell off, all I have to do to is overcome my fear and inertia and try again.

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33 Replies

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  • You are amazing. You did it once, you can do it again. I'll definitely cheer you on

  • Thank you so much, helcl! I had so much support here last time, which made such a difference for me. I am delighted to be finding the same sense of inclusion again. :)

  • Thank you for your post. You are an inspiration in my eyes. I look forward to hearing more about your successes in completing this programme and in the rest of your life. Welcome back. You already a winner in my eyes for the grit and determination you show.

  • Thanks tanyag. I am glad to be back, and really appreciate the support.

  • Well done for coming back to it. You have had such a struggle and shown such determination that you are bound to succeed. Well all be cheering you on.

    Welcome home!

  • Welcome Home indeed! What a lovely way of putting it. And you are so right.

  • You have my admiration. There can't be anything more dispiriting than regaining weight that was hard lost! You are dealing with that, and knowing the benefits you're going to get from exercising I just know you'll get there .

  • Thanks M Truffle. :) I appreciate the vote of confidence.

  • Great that you are back doing it, an inspirational post! Your 'cheerleaders' are all here, good luck and keep posting x

  • Hurray! Pom poms for all. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • You deserve all the support we can give. You have overcome adversity. Good luck with the programme again. Best wishes.

  • Thank you Fitmo. I so appreciate the good wishes.

  • Hi Alaiyo, you will have cheerleaders by the bucketload in here. Great job on getting back up and doing it again and you will be an inspiration to many others.

  • Thank you ceefin! I am delighted to see all the support. I am doing this for myself, but it also gives me great pleasure (and an extra dose of accountability!) to be able to inspire someone else.

  • You'll get all the cheer leading you need on here! Go Al!!!!!

  • Woot! Thank you XD

  • Wow, you've been through the mill! But well done for coming back. Its shows great strength of character! \m/

  • Thanks for the encouragement. I am determined to make up for any physical strength deficiencies with strength of character. ;) Glad to be back again.

  • Wow, thank you Kitty! That is really touching. I look forward to sharing my journey and being back in the warm, fuzzy fold of this community.

  • Well done you.. You have done it once so go for it..

  • Thanks Daftpaddy. Here's to going for it!

  • That's such an inspiring story and your determination is amazing. I will definitely be looking at the boards when I can to see how you're getting on. You sound like you have a strong mind and that's what will get you through the really tough parts. Good luck and keep us up to date.

  • Thanks Birdie. I can use the luck, and am glad to have the extra bonus accountability of having new friends looking out for me on the boards.

  • What an incredible post. You are truly an amazing person Alaiyo. Your determination is inspirational and I personally wish you all the very best with the new YOU. You will do it. Keep positive if you can because you seem to have previously overcome some hideous obstacles in your life. You've already lost 15 lbs in 3 months which is great. You're a young person and have many years ahead, so don't panic. Just make sure life includes C25K in it! Cos it works!!

  • Thanks Danzargo - I am touched by your sincerity and good wishes. And you're so right - C25K does work.

  • You are an inspiration. Never ever thought I'd say this - but where do I sign up to cheerlead!? :D looking forward to seeing your progress, you are amazing.

  • Nextjenn, you made me laugh out loud (well giggle out loud). Thanks so much for that! I am delighted to have you cheering me on!

  • Welcome back I have also completed c25k twice! I did find it a little easier second time but perhaps was I had the confidence I knew I could do it.

    Good luck

  • Thanks total! (Btw, I think after finishing C25K twice, you deserve to be at least totalintermediate!) Glad to know I have some others who have done something similar, so I can follow your great example.

  • That post is amazing and you show so much motivation. Good luck and everyone will be supporting you. Just know we are all behind you.

  • Wow, Vix, I am really grateful. I definitely am feeling the love today!

  • Thanks to the stunning lot of you who are cheering me on! I expected that people would be helpful, like they were last time, but this outpouring is really incredible.

    I actually got quite teary reading all your notes of encouragement, solidarity and welcome. You guys are the real inspiration for me. When I was procrastinating for my next run this morning, reading these got me out the door again.

    I am so grateful!

  • Wow - you are an inspiration to us all! Having managed it once I know you'll do it again and I for one can't wait to cheer you through your second graduation!

    Go Alaiyo

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