I never thought I would run. I actually used to heckle runners I would see on the roadside saying to myself “why would they do that? Why are they just…running?” I didn’t get it, I couldn’t comprehend it. I was never an active kid growing up. I could never run the laps around my school field like the other kids could during PE. I was always one of the kids coming in dead last during these laps.
Most of my life I’ve been the "big girl", always heavier than my friends, but it never really bothered me until I got to college. Don’t get me wrong, I was teased all my life, but just assumed I couldn’t do anything about it, or rather, I didn’t know what to do about it. In college I was much more active and even got into a pretty good workout routine that helped me shed close to 30 pounds. However after I graduated and didn’t have access to the free gym and began working a sedentary job, the pounds came back on.
For years I’ve struggled with dieting and finding a workout plan that worked for me. I would be gung-ho about some new fad diet and workout routine, get about a month in and quit. It just never stuck. I knew that exercise was paramount for my losing weight, when I exercised I would lose, I just needed to keep moving. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, maybe I didn’t care enough. I don’t know what it was, but this past year I had a reason to make my life and health better for myself.
My mom had to have triple by-pass surgery last June, the arteries were so blocked they were surprised she hadn’t had a heart attack. That was my mom. My rock, my critic, my sounding board in this world; and I almost lost her. The shock and numbing reality that our lives were short and our time was so precious hit me so hard. That moment was so profound that it changed me and I knew I wouldn’t be the same.
My goals changed from that time on. The word “diet” no longer had any room in my vocabulary, I was going to eat healthy and nourish my body from the inside out. I was going to increase my exercise to strengthen my body and my soul. I owed it to my family and friends to make these healthy changes, but more importantly, I owed it to myself to live a long and healthier life.Last year I had joined a Weight Watchers group at work. I really wanted to learn more about nutrition, I was 32 years old and I didn’t really understand how to cook healthy, I mean I thought I knew, but my perception was WAY off. I also had gotten engaged that New Year’s Day and I wanted to look and feel better for my wedding day. I worked on making healthier eating choices and incorporating more exercise into my weekly routine. I was starting to lose weight, but not to the full potential if I had more exercise. One day our group leader challenged us to “do a 5K”. It didn’t matter if you walked or ran, just as long as you signed up and committed to it. Excited for this challenge, I looked for the soonest organized 5K and found the Jingle Bell Dash. So I signed up for it, but I decided to sign up as a runner. What? Running? Are you crazy? My reason? I could walk a 5K with minimal effort, therefore it would only be a challenge if I made it a personal challenge and got out of my comfort zone; I would have to run it. So I found a training schedule that worked with the amount of time I had to train (7 weeks) and started the grueling part of learning to run.
I could barely run 50 yards without feeling like I couldn’t breathe and my legs were going to give out. Usually this is where I would throw in the towel and walk away from the whole project. But I made the commitment, I paid the race entry, I had to try and I would be disappointed in myself if I walked it. So I pushed on. Every day I would follow the schedule, and then a miraculous thing happened. I was running! My legs stopped feeling like they were going to collapse out from under me, I was breathing so much better and…I was liking it! I felt on cloud nine after I ran 1 mile straight without stopping, it was amazing! So much so that I didn’t want to stop.
I have since left WW, I run on average 2-3 days a week and I eat more fruits and veggies in a month than I have most of my adult life! I am working on building up my running endurance so that I’m running an average of 5-6 days a week. I also love reading all the healthy food blogs and have since started making all the healthy food for me and my husband, and wouldn’t you know it, he loves the fresher and healthier food too. I have a long way to go, I am still nowhere near the healthy weight and size I should be, but I am exercising and learning to live a healthier lifestyle. Now I eat healthier and working on changing my lifestyle so that I can one day be an example for my kids of healthy, happy, fit living.
Thank you for reading my blog and joining me in my journey. It’s a long, bumpy road but it will be worth every stride!