It’s a lucky thing that I was born with a good metabolism, because let’s face it, for most of my life I have been a complete slob…albeit a skinny one. I ate whatever I wanted without any regards to whether it was good for me or bad for me, and I did ZERO exercise! Even as a kid I hated exercise. While every other kid in my school loved gym class, I would do anything to avoid it. By the time I got to grade 8, I was forging my mother’s signature on notes to my gym teacher: “Dear Mr. White, please excuse Florence from gym class. She got her period.” Poor Mr. White, I don’t know if he ever figured out that it was impossible for me to have my period every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or maybe he was just too embarrassed to call me on it. It was such a relief to start high school where gym class was an option. Give me Biology, give me French, give me Economics…..anything but gym! Don’t get me wrong, I loved sports……….just so long as I was sitting in the stands cheering on the boys in their hockey or soccer game. But you would never find me strapping on a pair of ice skates or cleats!
When I reached my twenties, the Olivia Newton John “Let’s Get Physical” craze was sweeping the nation. Aerobics was the new sex. I had no choice but to give it a try. However, while Olivia made aerobics look sexy, I looked more like a rabid monkey, arms flailing, tripping over my two left feet. I soon retired my leg warmers and decided to give myself a decade off from exercise. In my thirties I was having my babies and needless to say I added a few inches to my girly figure. But lucky for me, a new state of the art scientifically proven form of exercise had just been developed that was right up my alley: toning beds! All I had to do was get strapped to these beds, which painlessly moved my body while I could watch the inches disappear. Sadly, I did not lose any inches from this scam. All I lost was a wad of cash. I decided to give myself another decade off.
True to my word, when I reached 40, I bought myself a pair of running shoes and hit the trail. Believe it or not, I finally found a form of exercise that I actually enjoyed. I started off slowly, but within months I was able to run five kilometers! Don’t get me wrong, I am no marathon runner. The most trial I have ever covered is about 7 ½ kilometers. Nor am I a speed runner. A duck once pulled out and passed me while I was running around Salt Pond Trail. But I am a runner all the same. I can outrun my kids, and a lot of people who are half my age. I take great pride in that.
After my diagnosis of cancer, running became something more than an ego booster. It became an important component of my survival plan. Studies show that a regular exercise program can reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence by as much as 40%. Now that is something really worth running for. So when I run now, it is not just so that I can brag to my kids that I just ran 5 kilometers…..now I am literally running for my life!