By 9 to 5 standards, the life of shift work may seem abnormal, and making healthy lifestyle choices even more difficult. The basic need of nutrition is paramount to any individual, and especially the shift worker. Eating, drinking and sleeping in odd hours also takes it’s toll upon the human body. In fall 2011, the waistline of my fat pants had become so tight, that I had to make a decision, buy new fatter pants or get my fat ass off the couch. Neither option was appealing to me. To embark upon any lifestyle choice required a commitment from myself and from my immediate support group, my inner circle. If and when a smoker decides to quit, they will only be successful from the help of friends, family or other personal relationships. In my case, if I wanted to lose weight, or become larger; it would only be through the help and assistance of my inner circle. They would enable me to succeed in whatever direction I chose.
So, I chose exercise and running. I would grunt as I bent over from the couch to tie my sneakers and begrudgingly run out the door. No fanfare, no attention drawing outfits, just sweatpants, shirt and shoes. On my first day it became painfully apparent how unfit I had become. I could not even run to the end of the block. It was time for action, so I enlisted the help of the internet. I found a very simple free 5k plan at Hal Higdon Training Programs. One step literally led to another, and soon I found myself making healthier meal, drinking and activity choices. I found a free app called Map my Run to log my routines and monitor my success. However with the success I was seeing on the scale, I found a new problem, I was getting less sleep than before. Making time to train was interfering with my life. Instead of sleeping till late in the morning, I’d have to awaken to run, swim or bike. I had created a new, healthier habit, but at what cost? After I completed my first 5k in the spring of 2012, I was feeling great and the new clothes I was buying had smaller waistbands.
“Be careful what you wish for”, is a common lament when tempting the universe. After reaching and finishing my 5k goal, I was feeling brave, courageous and unstoppable. It was then that the Chicago Marathon was holding an online raffle for registration to the 2013 race, so I put name into the virtual hat! While I felt a real trepidation about submitting myself to the universe, I secretly wished it would become true. So when I received an email confirming my entry, I was laughing and crying. It took me over one year to train, it took determination, it took choices, and it took help from my inner circle.
It took sleep deprivation, physical and emotional pain. It took running in the dark, the heat, the rain, the cold. It took an 8k, then a 10 miler, then off road trails in the winter, and it took the half-marathons!
So, on October 13, 2013 bib number H 40120 participated and completed the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! My family, my friends and my colleagues all cheered me on in person and in spirit. I meant the world to me!
Most of all, it took my skills of being a Shift Worker to create, keep and remain on my training schedule. It took my family, friends and co-workers encouragement. It took the volunteers at every event, it took the cowbells, the fans and their encouragement. It also took my ability to maintain my ability to do keep and do my job. Shift Work has its’ advantages and disadvantages, but you have to know how to play each one for all of their strengths! So, on October 13, 2013 bib number H 40120 completed the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!