Before we headed out West I knew it was likely that I'd be able to devote much time to the blog this week, so I asked Grace, who you've read about many times on this blog, if she'd write a guest post and she graciously agreed! Grace is one of my best friends; I am incredibly thankful to have her in my life and hope that everyone has a Grace in their life too! If you haven't checked out her blog, go HERE after you've read this post; if you've already been, go again; and if you've arrived here from there, welcome to Early Morning Run!
The summer before my senior year of college, my parents offered to send me abroad since all of my friends were traveling too. I was embarrassed to say it, but I graciously passed and asked to stay home for the summer and try and lose weight. I’d struggled with my weight all my life, even tipping the scale at 225 pounds. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, as I’d been on every diet imaginable since age 10, but I decided that summer I was going to change my life.
I joined a local gym for the summer and just got on the treadmill. I’d never been able to run under a 13 minute mile, that is if I could even run a mile. But I got on it and walked. I jogged. I walked, a lot.
I was watching Leno one night and my favorite movie actor Will Smith was on. This may sound cheesy to you, but that interview changed my life. Will said he lived by two rules:
- Read books. Nothing that you go through in life is unique. Everything you experience, see, touch, etc has been experienced by someone before you. There’s a wealth of knowledge in books.
- Run. If you can run, you can do anything.
And so I went back to the gym and was determined to run. It took some time but I ran an entire mile. Granted, it was at 0 incline and 4.0 (15 minute mile) speed, but I did it. Each week I built up the endurance and by the end of the summer I lost 8 pounds and could run 3 straight miles at 4.5 speed.
Fast forward a few years. I’d set myself onto a healthy lifestyle, lost almost 30 pounds, exercising regularly and being mindful of what I ate but I wasn’t done. Lisa started a running group at our workplace and invited me to join. A small loop around Central Park? No problem! I was running 3 miles at the gym. When I got out there, I couldn’t complete the 1.7 miles outdoors. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn’t run 1.7 miles. But with Lisa’s encouragement, I came back each week to build up my endurance, no matter how embarrassing it was to be the last one. From there, Lisa invited me to join her at a NYRR race and after the first one I was hooked. The energy of running with other people, hearing their breaths and steps…there’s nothing like it.
When I first set out to run, I did it to lose weight and to prove to others that I could do it. Now, I run not for those reasons. I refer back to Will Smith’s quote. “If you can run, you can do anything.” I run now because it makes me feel like I CAN do anything. I CAN defy my body and lose weight (I now weigh what I weighed in the 7th grade…except I’m taller now), I CAN run the NYC Marathon (I ran it in 2009 with Lisa), and I CAN lead others to healthy lives (I lead a running group with my church and write my own women’s diet and fitness blog).
Running has taught me that nothing is unattainable. Just like running, taking one step at a time and only worrying about putting one foot in front of the other, one eventually reaches the end goal. Same goes for weight loss. I can’t expect to lose 15 pounds over night, but I can lose 1 each week.
Running has not only improved my quality of life, but it’s given me a new one. I can now do the things I’ve always wanted to, and more. I’m living the life I’ve always dreamed of. I’m just getting started.
- Why did you start running?
- What keeps you going?