I’m a 25 year old mom of three girls living in Edson, AB. When I met my husband 8 years ago I was a fairly unfit but aesthetically fine 145lbs. I was always told my height was predictive of my having great running potential…this statement generally had 100% potential of making me roll my eyes. As time went on I piled on more and more weight which everyone told me was “happy weight”, so I went along with that because I really wanted to believe that I was just happy.
Then, six months after having our third daughter I realized not only was my weight not a byproduct of being happy- it was the result of how much I had grown to hate myself. In an attempt to cope with unmedicated OCD in pregnancy and while nursing I just ate and hid behind mothering my girls. I entirely lost a sense of who I was separate from my children, my husband and my all-encompassing OCD. I’m embarassed to say I even judged other women for being able to do the things I wasn’t willing to yet. And to those women I am so sorry- we endure so many judgements from so many people already as a gender, who the hell did I think I was to judge you for being your truest self? Thank you for lighting the way in my subconscious.
At the point that I could no longer walk past the mirrored closets in my home without absolute revulsion taking hold I finally decided I had to do something. I decided to save me from myself on February 1, 2016 and I began a ketogenic lifestyle change. Quickly I began to shed the weight but the obsessive features of my OCD actually amplified and I was really afraid of myself. I knew I wanted to be one of those people who channelled their negative energies through exercise rather than food, or alcohol, or medication (all of which had obviously failed me to that point) and I began an HIIT protocol in an attempt to find that person in myself.
So it turns out HIIT, while effective, is awful. I did it faithfully for months but I knew that it wouldn’t stick lifetime and that was a problem given that life is the ultimate marathon, a 5k solution wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted to succeed. So I tried lifting (hated it) and Zumba (suffice to say I’ll spare the world me in Zumba class- you’re welcome). Then one morning in May I decided I’d go run. Tiny, outrageously slow intervals at first that soon gave way to three kilometers, then five. By July I could run a continuous half marathon length on trail.
At this point I was running about 30-40km a week and I unsurprisingly leaned right down as I pushed distance. I hit my weight loss goal of 130lbs by September 1, 2016 (7 months total) which I largely credit to developing as a ketogenic distance runner. But more importantly running gave me something I had never had before- a modicum of control over the wildly anxious and obsessive side of my mind.
On trail I can bang out all the problems, the solutions melting into heel strikes and high kneeing inclines. In training my mind to fight through distance training (dreadmill thirty kilometers and you will learn a lot about how hard a woman you are, haha) I have also trained myself to apply that minute by minute, mile by mile strategy to the voices in my head that can scream, “NOW IS THE TIME TO PANIC EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES NO SENSE TO PANIC RIGHT NOW!!!”. In this way running has given me my life back. Running taught me what I had already learned from all the brave and formidable women in my family for most of my life; never stop fighting, never give up, never lie down. And now everyday is another day that I am grateful to run like a girl and for the opportunity to run for my life.
I am presently running a dual training program for Banff Marathon in June and Canadian Death Race in August. I had an emergency appendectomy on December 15 and was off training until January 2. Regardless as of today, January 25, my 2017 mileage sits at 175. Who I was a year ago would likely not have even attempted walking much in that time, who I am now is runner strong.
Run for your life, always.