I met Aby through our husbands who are fraternity brothers. And since then, have been completely inspired by her. She took life by the reigns in 2011 and not only became a runner, but lost 50 pounds in the process. You want to run and are scared you can’t? Read this. You want to lose weight but don’t know where to start? Read this. She did it. She owns it. She’s amazing.
Like you, it started here. See Meggie Run. I found Meggie’s journey amazing, inspiring and totally relatable. Like Meggie, I’ve never been a runner. I played volleyball in high school and running was used for conditioning and punishment. I have hated running my whole life because I equated it to failure, loss and disappointment. I remember reading one of Meggie’s blog entries and someone responded that they had done a Couch to 5k program. The title itself intrigued me so I started researching and contemplating “Could I do this too?” Of course, there was a loud, annoying voice that quickly turned that thought into “Don’t kid yourself. You’ve never been able to run. You’re too fat to run. You’ll just give up anyway. “
This time though, I kept thinking and I kept researching. I kept reading blogs and other people’s journeys into running and weight loss. I think the final straw was a complete melt down while shopping for jeans in October 2010. I had had more than enough and was tired of complaining about it! Something HAD to change. I have struggled with my weight all my life and have tried everything under the sun to get it under control and be happy with my body. Well, almost everything. The fear of failure and discomfort and burning lungs had always kept me away from running.
When I had my meltdown over buying big girl jeans, I decided to join Weight Watchers. I knew I had to get my eating and portion sizes under control. I have done this program so many times and have been somewhat successful each time. But this time around, I am a machine. I have been on an amazing upward spiral and it isn’t just because of Weight Watchers. It’s because I became a runner. The more I run, the more weight I lose. The more I lose, the more I run. I am changing my life and it feels incredible!!
That Couch to 5k thing keep creeping up. I was losing weight without much physical exertion, but I knew it would soon stall. This contemplation and questioning went on for weeks! I finally went to www.coolrunnings.com and printed out the Couch to 5k program. I talked with my husband—who is a serious runner—and he was excited and supportive. His confidence in me was genuine, but I had a hard time believing this could be done. The next step is what I think took me from “trying” to DONE. I signed up for a 5k that was near the end of the 9-week training program and then I told EVERYONE I knew that I was going to do this. I knew that by making this public people would be asking me about it and how the training was going. I have let myself down countless times, but the thought of admitting to friends and family that I gave up, well, that’s just not going to happen. If I announce that I’m going to do something, there’s no way it won’t be done!
I ran my first 5k on June 18th 2011. I enlisted the support of two amazing friends that also ran with me. One was training for a half marathon and the other was doing her first 5k as well. It’s amazing what friends will do for you when you ask. It’s amazing what they want to do for themselves and just didn’t know you’d be willing to join them. Now, I didn’t break any records but I did it. I ran the whole time and I felt that overwhelming sense of achievement that I had never felt before. I was proud, but I knew it could be better. I had lost about 25 pounds at this point, but my focus had shifted. I was no longer running to lose weight. I was learning to run and slowly falling in love. Now, please don’t get me wrong….I was not singing and gliding along like a gazelle with rainbows and butterflies. There were lots of tears, doubt, frustration and pain. I kept asking my husband if my knees would ever stop aching and if the side cramps would eventually stop. He just calmly and confidently encouraged me to keep going—it will get better.
I can’t promise you that you’ll have the same experience, but I do know that if you are at your breaking point or if you are so ready to make a change in your life that you’re willing to face your fears head on, let yourself and others hold you accountable and put in the time and effort–you can do anything.
After my first 5k I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I signed up for the Marathon Relay at Ft. Ben on October 15th 2011. I had participated in this race before and it was terrible. Out of the 6.55 miles I was to run, I probably only ran 2 total. I hated it. This time, I wanted to do it right! Again, I told everyone what I was going to do and got signed up. I ran all 6.55 miles and most of those miles were into the wind. I was able to enjoy the scenery rather than worry about any aches or pains. I wasn’t self-conscious about how my legs jiggle in my running pants. I didn’t care!! I was running and loving it! I completed my leg of the race in a little over 1 hour and 10 minutes. I stopped and literally had to say out loud, “I just ran half of a half marathon, without stopping.” Again, like a drug addict, I wanted more.
On Christmas Eve I reached my goal of losing 50 pounds. I have always had it there to lose, but never the commitment, patience and drive to get it done. More importantly, I run. I run at least 3 days a week because it feels good, I enjoy it, it works and I can! I have also signed up for my first half marathon. The 2012 Indianapolis Mini-Marathon. You can tell everyone that too—I will! If I say I will do it….consider it DONE!