What’s your running “story”?
The thought of considering myself a runner was foreign to me. I am the kid who struggled with the mile during gym class, the thought of me being a runner, never, ever occurred to me. I began running as a way, motivation, to shed 100+ pounds, starting at a weight close to 300 pounds. Running gave me a routine and milestones to meet, not necessarily because you lose weight running. Though, the training encouraged me to stick to a healthier eating plan. I began running around my neighborhood, actually, walking, eventually picking up my feet in a running motion, keeping in mind the end goal of running a ½ marathon and crossing the finish line. My running included 5ks, 10ks and a year of my goal to run a ½ marathon race postponed due to an injury. I healed and continued to train for the next year’s race and completed that ½ marathon. I crossed the finish line. Still carrying some weight, I went back and continued on my running ½ marathons journey. I enjoyed the mileage milestone achievements and seeing my body push where I thought wasn’t possible and become stronger and or more conditioned in each run. My thought was that I would run one half. I have run 8 half marathons, something when I think of it, is a mind boggle. My running and health journey continue on and I will be running the Chicago Full Marathon this October 2022.
How has running changed your life? How have you grown?
Knowing and physically seeing that something I thought was impossible for me to achieve is indeed possible. Through that possible I have been able to meet finish lines, push through times I’ve wanted to stop, challenge myself to new goals and mostly pick up my feet off the ground to run. If someone would have told me back when I was running my high school gym required mile, so disliking that mile and all the aftereffects and every effort that I had to put into it just to finish within the 40-minute gym timeframe, that I would run a 1/2 marathon, seek to improve and then enter a lottery to run a Marathon, I would tell you, you’ve got the wrong person. I am evidence that what was once thought to be unattainable, is indeed attainable, and not only attainable, but there is also joy that I find in it. What an amazing reward!
What is/are your biggest running-related accomplishment(s)?
Running as many 1/2 Marathons as I have and each time learning new methods to be just a slight bit better.
What is your best advice to new runners?
Just move. How ever you can. Walking is wonderful. That is where I started. Walking. And, I loved it. Then, at a certain time, when you feel ready, try to pick up your feet in running motion, even if to just see how it feels. See how your body reacts and then repeat again, when you are ready. It is all about your personal pace, your story, your journey. Go at your speed, at what is right and feels good for you.
What is your best advice to advanced runners?
Remember that we all started somewhere and at some point. Offer grace to those who are wanting to give it a shot and are terrified or afraid that they can’t. Offer support and encouragement to all at any mile, walking or running.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
That no matter what, my shoes had to be comfortable for me. And, that for my first 1/2 Marathon, my goodness, I didn’t need so many clothes.
What do you do outside of running to stay healthy or active?
I love fitness in general. 27 years ago, I found a passion for it. I enjoy that the body is capable of so much, that it can adjust to our fitness stresses and that we can adjust our body composition with exercise and eating as nutritious and we can. Of course, there is room for treats!
What goal(s) are you working toward in the coming year?
Crossing the Chicago Full Marathon finish line. I have training and races, three half marathons and two Spartans lined up to help me do this. I will dive into my 2022 training end of February.