As long as I can remember I’ve been overweight and struggled with this. I’ve tried almost every diet in the books and occasionally lost some weight then gained it back. I was focused just on losing weight not on trying to be fit. I definitely wouldn’t say I was healthy.
A few years ago I got on the treadmill and tried to run which got my heart rate up to 200 almost immediately and the treadmill shut off. So I definitely had some work to do. This journey has been a slow progression for me as I didn’t always have any sort of program or structure to my workouts. I always wanted to try running, but it was really difficult to run even for a few minutes plus I would get some knee pain or I would get discouraged by being a beginner. In 2014 I saw a trainer that helped me build up the muscles around my knee and this helped so much to get rid of the knee pain. So now I no longer had that excuse to use.
In 2014 I found a program off the internet and started training for my first 10K. I felt very slow and ran on my own as I didn’t want to slow anyone down. I did my first 5K in May 2014 mostly so I could see what a race was going to be like. I was nervous for the 10K which was going to have thousands of runners. Then June 2014 I completed my first 10K.
This was an exciting experience but also very lonely since I didn’t know anyone. I did my race and I thought “okay I guess that’s it” and went home. I also found it discouraging because I have long time friends that told me my running was being fanatical and would not come to my runs or allow me to talk about running when I was around them. It was around that same time in May that I read about Run Like a Girl in a magazine and started following them on Facebook. I’m one of those people that don’t really post, but find the stories and constant remembers encouraging. After my 10K I didn’t have any goals any longer and stopped running. I gained back a bit of weight to get to my heaviest and decided I needed a new goal. In December 2014 I bought a treadmill and signed up for a half marathon clinic that was starting in February of 2015. I figured I could try to build up again to doing 10 minutes straight running which was the prerequisite to the half clinic. That was also around the same time I decided to sign up for the RLAG Retreat. This was a huge deal for me and I was a little scared as I didn’t feel like I was in good enough shape. I’m also kind of shy so meeting up with a group I’d never met was in itself forcing me out of my comfort zone. Training for the clinic and retreat were a huge motivator and helped me shift my mind set from not just losing weight to focusing more on getting fit.
I went to the RLAG Retreat in April 2015 and it was one of the most challenging and inspiring experiences. I was pretty much the slowest person in the group, but my body did more than I thought possible so I met my goal. I even did a 32K hike to summit a mountain. I admit there was a spot where I wanted to quit, but kept going after a few tears and a hug from Dayna.
I love that in the running community it doesn’t matter how far or fast we are all accepted. Maybe I wasn’t able to share my new love of running with all my friends, but I’ve met so many new wonderful inspiring people I never would have met without running. I’ve even been able to run a couple 5k’s with my mom and sister. I’m very thankful to have met Hailey, Courtney and Dayna as they are a huge encouragement to me.
I’ve also found a really great running group that pushes me to the next race and I always know they will be showing up to run. Since the Retreat I’ve been able to run my 1st and 2nd Half Marathon and started doing strength workout.
For me goals and the people we meet are so important to keep progressing. I’ve still got a ways to go for my weight and fitness, but I now feel like it’s attainable.