Starting today, I am launching Run=Fun! A motivational series of inspiring and informative posts for the next few Mondays, in hopes of motivating those who may not yet love running. It’s not going to happen overnight, but with motivation, a plan and persistence it will! I am also going provide useful tips for those who are already in love so you keep on enjoying running and I hope to feature several guest bloggers too! I will be using the #runfun hashtag.
My first post will be about me. I know it is easy to look at this website and think, um yea, she is in shape and has it all together. I wasn’t always in shape and still don’t have it all together, but I give it my best shot
So here is my story, where I was, and how far I have come to the point where I am now and can say I love to RUN!
Now, I was not always in love with running. I remember in HIgh School I was on the track team and we had a 400m dash. I thought I was going to die! I had no clue about maintaining proper breathing and could not catch my breath. I was thin as a rail and did cheerleading too, so I was fit, not that strong though, but just couldn’t do it. I was athletic though in college, working out for 2 hours a day weightlifting, but running nope. My warm up consisted of 45 min walking at 4.5mph on the treadmill. No way I could run. At least I was in shape then!
Then life happened, marriage, full-time job and self-employed after work helping Hubby get his business off the ground. I would go in spurts here and there though, get a gym membership, meet with a personal trainer for 2x a week and then give up. Always seemed I never had it in me to continue, because it never was a priority in my life, and I thought I was in shape for the most part.
Now, I was never to the point of being overweight, but in the picture above taken in early 2000 I really don’t look like the picture of health. Very bloated, granted I was vegetarian but at the time I ate more Cheeze It’s than spinach.
Then came children. Yep, still bloated, gained more weight, and yet another excuse to keep eating crappy food and not working out. Once we had kids though in 2004, I did start to become more aware of organics and gradually incorporate them more and more into our lives. Especially formula and foods for the kids. I put lots of focus on feeding them healthy foods, but still was not 100% committed myself.
Fast forward to 2010. I was more into organics but still bloated, lethargic, and barely any energy to spare after working full time then coming home to be Mommy. I completed the Flying Pig Half Marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society but it was hell. I didn’t train properly or enough and went into it with 8 miles as my furthest distance. I don’t recommend that at all. I did finish though in 2:56.
That all changed in 2011, I was actually forced to change. While I started to develop allergies after our trip to China, nuts one year, peanuts a few years later I ate organic but still a lot of processed foods. On a trip to Pisa, Italy in the late Winter of 2011 I had a severe allergic reaction after eating white beans. My face turned beet red and my throat started swelling. Thank goodness I was able to stop it after taking 5 Benadryl, but when I got home from the trip I headed straight to the allergist.
The news was not good. I was diagnosed highly allergic to corn, soy, barley, buckwheat, peas, legumes, lemons and a few more. Well, um, yea I was in shock the first few days, scared to eat almost. Missing everything I used to have. I did research and decided to eat organic whole fruits, veggies and meats with a bit of unprocessed wheat here and there, as well as unprocessed cheeses and some dairy. Within 2 months I lost 20 lbs. My energy was through the roof.
I completed a 5K with a friend that spring. I finished in 32:34. Not bad, I know but I couldn’t run it all. I had to stop and walk and then run at different paces, totally no plan and it was tough! I had energy to spare though, and my work was forming relay teams for the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October of 2011. I got nominated to do leg 3, which is 6.7 miles! UGH, really?? At that time, it seemed like a marathon to me.
I was overwhelmed to say the least, but the summer of 2011 I downloaded the Couch to 5K application on my iPhone and did a bit each day. I didn’t always stick to the schedule but I continued on and kept at it. Pretty soon I was able to run a mile without walking at all. That was huge!
I then switched to the Couch to 10K program. It was pretty cool as the app told me when to walk and when to run. Had I known then what I know now (wishful thinking! I know) I would have started out with the Galloway Method and slowly increased my time running vs. walking. None the less, I kept at it. Running the entire 6.7 miles was really intimidating to me. I scheduled a 10K at the Detroit Zoo in September, a month before the Detroit Marathon, but I didn’t get out of bed. Well, it is what it is. I wasn’t all in, but I must say I was enjoying running more and more. It switched from “how far do I have to go?” to “how far can I go?”
I completed my 6.7 mile leg of the Detroit FreePress Marathon Relay in one piece and around 1:07. I felt fine, in fact I was kind of excited and really enjoyed the race atmosphere so much that I signed up for the Turkey Trot 10K and a Jingle Bell 5K with Hubby in December of 2011. Then, I discovered that Disney had races! I booked the Princess Half for 2012! It would be my second half marathon, and I was freaking out! My health and energy was improving still as I was enjoying lots of unprocessed, natural foods. However, I kept getting hurt training by trying to go to fast, or doing stupid things like tying my shoe way too tight for the first 5K of 2012.
I completed the Princess in 2:22 but struggled the last 3 miles.
I then hurt my Hamstring at the Shamrock N Roll being stupid and sprinting like crazy towards the finish. Like the time really mattered that much, I let the excitement get the best of me and ended up with hamstring and sciatic issues. But, kept at it.
My friend and a co-worker talked me into signing up for the Chicago Marathon last February. Not sure what I was thinking but I did it. Perhaps it was the excitement of the race closing soon, but none the less I had a huge goal!
Training for the Chicago Marathon meant lots of running through the summer. I needed to beat the heat and cut the fat so I could handle the heat better This was getting serious, and I developed the habit of getting up at 5am to run before the sun came up. Pretty soon, it became easier to get out of bed and get out there. I trained hard this past summer and cherished the time I spent running. It is great “me” time where I can just let my mind go and wander.
I also became Paleo this past summer and cut out pasta. That really helped me reduce body fat and gain muscle. I got my Half Marathon PR down to 2:09 at Disneyland and continued to train for Chicago. I also registered for the Goofy Challenge in the summer. Oh, how naive I was!
The Chicago Marathon was a struggle but I persevered and completed it with a sprained foot in 5:30. Becoming a Marathoner was something I never thought I would be and it was one of the proudest moments of my life! Looking back, in Spring of 2011 I couldn’t even run a 5K!
I took some time off in October to heal my foot and got back at it and completed the Whole30 challenge in December. Whole30 really helped me accomplish and get through the Goofy training.
I am at the point in my life now where running has become part of who I am and how I define myself. Yes, I am a wife, mother, daughter but I am also a runner. That feels good to say that!
I kicked up the training, got out there in the snow, when I was too tired and got in 136 miles this past December alone. I caught a cold before we left for Orlando, but I completed the Goofy Challenge earlier this month and am amazed at how far I have come!
Sure, I have had people tell me that I took on too much last year and should be running for at least a year before even doing a marathon, let alone Goofy but I believe that my diet has allowed me to accomplish these events without issues. (Well, the sprained foot was not my fault)
If you asked me 10 years ago if I would be running marathons,um no. However, deep inside I regretted not taking time for me and it hurt me as a mother. It is hard to give everyone 110% and have nothing for yourself. Running allows me to have something for myself, that no one else can give me or do for me. It allows me to also be a great example for my family and you know what? No one has suffered because I have spent hours running. The kids are well fed, happy and healthy and so is Hubby. I am a better wife and mother as running is an outlet for my stress, I feel alive and on top of the world.
It is awesome to be able to run a 10K with my family by my side, it was not an easy journey, but wow! I have come a long way.