June 22, 2017 marked a very important moment in my life. I got slapped with an AHA moment. When I was younger I was a big dreamer. I wanted to be an artist and a professional runner, instead I became a business women by profession. My mother said I was crazy for wanting to be an artist because who is going to marry me poor and to be a runner you have to be disciplined and I never finish anything I started. Funny thing is that my mother wanted to aspire to be a good runner but always had some kind of an excuse with pain in her body. Whether it was true or not I don’t know. She was in her 40’s then. I am now in my 40’s and I say the hell with pain, getting old and being unhappy.
My weight loss journey has been filled with highs and lows.. More highs than lows. I started working out at the gym over 5 years go weighing at 290 pounds at the time. I was determined to not fear my body aches. My husband is the one who has taught me to attempt new things such as interval training. He encouraged me to learn how to run so I can burn more fat. My husband is not a runner but works out and does weight training with some cardio and has recently started running some short distances. If it were not for him I would have never started my running endeavor.
My first run was over 2 years ago. I ran a local 5K and it had hills and I had no idea. I thought it was all flat plains. I will be honest, I did not train like I should have. I was still very morbidly obese and carrying the amount of weight I had was just out of this world on my body. My knees and shins paid for all of the weight I carried during this run. I finished the run with lots of walking added. The 5K took me 44 minutes to complete.
Two years later and about 100lbs lighter I went back and ran the same local 5K. This time I trained. But I did not train on the pavement, I only trained on a treadmill and a lot of strength training. Needless to say this was yet another painful run but I was much lighter and completed the run in 33 minutes with all the inclines that felt like they will kill you internally. I was extremely proud and was glad to had finish in 33 minutes. I came in 14th place in my age category. The race came and gone and needed to find out what to do next. My friends kept inviting to me join races and I seemed to be on the fence as I have always ran on my own. In June of 2017 I decided I was going to train for a a full Marathon and not just any marathon. The Chicago Marathon for 2018. Here I am at the age of 45 and I just made the decision to run a full marathon. Thank goodness for my supportive family. Mainly my husband as he is the one that has to deal with my pains and woes of my running and hard training. I am self taught and self training. I have taken running into the next level of my fitness journey. In October of 2017 I will be running my first ever 15K. I began training immediately and as I read and do research I implement all what experts provide into my training. This journey is not easy.
My first week of training I went from a 5K to 4 miles then 5 miles on a treadmill. In the second week I finally got over the fear of running outside. If I wanted to run like the pros I needed to hit the pavement no matter the weather conditions. One day I got up at 6am and got dressed and found a trail I can run with in minutes of my house. I ran 4 mile on my first outdoor run on the trail. It was hard as I was still learning to run. I never new there was so much to learn about running. From, posture to arm swings, shoes and much more.. Nonetheless that day those 4 miles were the most accomplished 4 miles of my life. I ran outside and discovered a whole new world of running and the solidarity that comes with it. The solidarity is not of loneliness but more of self development and awareness. That day I remembered all my dreams, reflected on all of my life accomplishments and what it would be like to actually beat someone else time. Before I knew it my watch was telling me I had completed my run and I was amazed as it felt so fast. My time was not fast but I had accomplished the 4 mile run without stopping or loosing my breathe. I walked the rest of the way home listening to my music. I made it home and the kids asked how many miles did I run and I told them and they were impressed. Made me smile that they felt pride for their mother who once was morbidly obese.
The family and I head into our vacations and I had to find paths to run. The good thing is that safe paths were available but once again I encounter for the forsaken hills that look and feel like mountains. But as many would say without hills you do not develop speed and strength. For the 4th of July we went on our annually family vacation to my best friends family farm. This place is heaven, serene, peaceful and most of all beautiful. I had asked my friend if there was safe paths to run on as I am training for a 15K and her sister sent us directions and my husband mapped out the run. She did advise us that there are some hills. I didn’t think anything of it until we got there and saw and drove these very very steep hills. They looked like mountains in my eyes. My husband had even asked if I wanted to make the 6 mile run; without a thought I said yes. Saturday morning I was up at 6 am getting ready for my run. My husband is still snoozing comfortably and finally wakes at 6:15 am and asked if he was going to join me. He was ready with in minutes as I was drinking my pre-workout drink. We head out at 6:30 am and everyone in the house is still sleeping and very much quiet. We started walking up the quarter mile drive way and it was steep. That in itself was a workout, the walk was enough to give us a warm-up before our run. We get to the main road and look ahead and we have a monstrous hill coming up with in the mile. Never in my life have I ever ran hills so steep. I used muscles I didn’t even know existed. I just kept looking ahead. My husband was not running to much farther behind me. He was not to run the entire 6 miles with me as he had not ran very much and doubted he could make the 6 mile run. I made it to the end of the road that its a major road and ran about 3.80 miles and decided to make a big U-turn and head back running. I ran into the husband with great excitement and told me he completed his first 5K. I was so happy for him and told him he could do it. He kept running to the end of the road. When I made the U-turn I didn’t realize how steep the hill was. It was tougher than the other 10 hills I had just ran. I felt the burn in my thighs and every single part of my body I needed to use to get me up that hill. I over came the pain in mile 4, once the hill was completed I got a 5 minute break on planes before I hit the other 10 hills to home. Though I felt the burn what made me forget my pain were my dreams and the idea I may have a chance to be in top 10 in the 15K race. Then I saw a herd of cattle just waiting to run with me. They were my spectators and what a great distraction from the harsh run I was enduring. Before I knew it I was done with my 6 mile run and my watch notified me of my successful run. I ran my first 6 miles in hills in an 1 hour and 17 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I could barely feel my legs and I had just accomplished the longest run thus far in my life. Once I completed this I knew I would be okay and can make this 15K happen. My husband survived the 6 mile run and only walked once for a brief moment. What an accomplishment and a feeling success.
The next day I was completely sore but it was a rest day. I soaked my body in the hot tube a few times. Later in the day my husband asked if I was going to make the 6 mile run on Monday. I was doubtful up until my friend who is a former runner said “you get out there pain or no pain you run!” I saw the coach come out in him; and I how could I fail myself? I needed to hear that coach voice. So we got up Monday morning and as sore as I was we made the 6 mile run. I suffered a severe anxiety attack that morning. One in which took my breath completely away. At times I just need to learn how to cope with who I am and my past that had haunted me for so long. At that moment I had become my own enemy trying to sabotage myself. My husband comforted me and said nothing and just stood by me as I dealt with this attack. The release of anguish in the middle of nowhere after taking a wrong turn was needed. I needed to clear my mind of all the demons that haunt me. Clarity hit and realized I needed to make the run happen and I restarted my run and started running. The adrenaline kicked in because my husband said he lost sight of me after a few minutes. I didn’t feel like I had elevated my speed. This time I ran the 6 miles in an 1 hour and 3 minutes. My husband completed the 6 miles without stopping. All day kept he kept on saying how proud he was of us and that we accomplished two runs on our vacation. 6 miles with steep hills, the feeling, the accomplishment. I could have never fathomed of doing this when I was overweight.
We are back home from vacation and life goes back to normal. Husband goes back to work and I stay home and take care of the fort. I have been running outside ever since. My marathon journey continues. My husband is motivated and wanting to go on runs with me and my kids join in as well. This year 15K, next year a 26.2; I will be 46 years old.
Keep on following my journey as I will have daily posts in social media and keep up with my story. I will be an adventure. From Obese to a Marathon Runner.