The shortest version of how I came to running is: I had been walking a bit, purely for exercise, and thought to myself "I wonder if I could run?"
Obviously, by looking at these photos, there is FAR more to it than that. Here is the not-so-short version (but I'll still try to stick to the highlights).
From puberty to age 27, I was overweight to obese (and gradually so). The photo on top was taken in 2001. I was 27 and had just bought my first home. A friend was visiting from out-of-state and snapped this photo. I ended up not seeing it until I looked pretty much like I do today (see next two photos). Nonetheless, it serves as a HUGE reminder of where I've been and where I do not want to return.
So, just a few months before my 28th birthday I joined Weight Watchers with a coworker (also a wonderful friend). Long story short: with zero exercise I had lost over 30 pounds. Once I hit that plateau, it became apparent that I must start exercising. That's when my same friend and I joined Curves and went to work out at lunchtime. I decided to implement a one mile walk to my routine, also. That was four laps around my hilly neighborhood. I thought I was going to croak! I much preferred the air conditioned gym. Needless to say, the exercise prompted the weight loss to again be successful.
I was about to turn 29 and had just discovered that I was capable of running. A different coworker asked me if I'd like to start running after work. I was thankful for the opportunity. After about 2-3 months of that I ran my first 5K. I set my PR (personal record) of 31:12. Unlike my friend Chris (www.marathonchris.blogspot.com) who considers her "runner" status to have begun the second she crossed her first 5K finish line, I still didn't feel like a runner. I felt like a girl who completed a 5K race.
The cold weather hit, so I retreated to a new gym so I could use the treadmill. That was NOT fun... so I kind of slacked on the running for a few months, until spring came. As soon as I could stand to be in the weather (says the girl who now runs in 20 degrees) I started running after work. I did it purely for exercise. I still didn't consider myself to be "hooked."
That spring I met my husband. We ran together a bit. Fast forward to the next spring: I got married. And fat. My sweet husband will argue that point to the death... but I know it's true. Since meeting him I had put on, at the worst point, about 14 pounds in little more than a year. That was last spring. I had completed a half marathon in that "status," but I didn't feel very good about it. When the harsh realization came that I might as well give away my "skinny / single clothes," I decided to take action. I did not want to be the stereotypical "plump married woman who used to me much thinner." (Sorry if it sounds harsh, but it's how I felt.) After listening to a zillion podcasts, one stuck out to me, and I have been a participant ever since: www.reasonablediet.com. With the help of the fabulous, super-motivational Sandra Ahten, I have steadily lost ever since late last summer.
As of today I am approximately 45 pounds lighter (see photos at left) than the photo up top. Finding running has been key in my life. Otherwise, as I joke with my friends, it's impossible for me to be "married AND thin." Ha! I hope I'm over that, but I know for sure that I am on a journey that will never end. Needless to say, I now feel like a runner and consider myself to be a runner. It took me a long time to say "I'm a runner," even though I have been running now for over three years.
My husband is extremely supportive of my passion for running, and for that I am grateful. He has noted that I am "happiest" when I'm running, preparing for running, talking about running, or have just finished running. Notice a theme?!?
I have many motivational factors to keep me running and trying to be as healthy as possible. On the positive side, I want to be a mom one day, and I want it to be as easy on my body as can be (i.e. not to develop gestational diabetes, etc.) That is definitely a positive reason to stay on top of my health. I want to set a good example for my children. As for negative motivators, I have been witness to health problems in both my family and my husband's family, and I do not want to follow suit. I have seen suffering made possible by poor health choices. I want to be a hip grandma that can keep up with my grandchildren!
I hope my tell-all gives some insight as to the author of this blog! I welcome all comments and questions. And thanks for listening!