How Running Found Me
There are so many things that I love about running…
It has truly changed me for the better. Knowing how key running was (and still is) in my journey to find myself, I now possess this overwhelming desire to share this secret with everyone, including YOU.
Yes, I’m looking at you!
4 years and 40 pounds ago, a very good friend of mine asked me to come walk a 5k with her. She was, at the time, morbidly obese by at least 250 pounds. She had made some major lifestyle changes, which included nutrition, medication and meeting with a personal trainer several times a week. She had lost maybe 75 or 100 pounds and to say I was proud would be an understatement. So, even though walking THREE WHOLE MILES sounded like cruel and unusual punishment at the time, I really wanted to support my friend. I submitted my registration and promptly went to Kohl’s and bought a pair of Nike’s. (I did not even OWN athletic shoes, that was just how NON-athletic I was!)
The day of the race came, and we had an absolute blast. We walked, we talked; we cut up with the policeman who was nudging us along as he “swept the course.” See, we were bringing up the rear. But we didn’t care; not one bit. It took us 1 ½ hours to finish and when we did, my friend just bawled. She cried happy tears at her accomplishment and that has always stuck with me. It isn’t often you see someone cry because they’re overwhelmed with joy, and it’s really touching to witness that kind of raw emotion. To see the pride she felt; it was truly inspiring.
Everyone around us had been so encouraging throughout the race. My friend had a huge group of supporters: coworkers, family members, and other friends; all who had come out to cheer her on, most participating in the 5k themselves. Seeing all that positivity and experiencing that unique situation awoke something inside of me that day.
I thought to myself: your sweet friend is 250 pounds overweight and she is out here doing this. What’s your excuse? What have you accomplished lately? What are you doing that you’re proud of? When is the last time you cried happy tears??
And the rest, my friends, is as they say, history (or in this case: CHRISTORY.) I was teaching at the time, and conveniently class was about to dismiss for summer which meant I had a nice little break coming up. So, the next day, I woke up early and I put those Nike’s from Kohl’s on, and I ran to my neighbor’s mailbox. And the day after that, I woke up early, and I put those Nike’s from Kohl’s on, and I ran to my neighbor’s-neighbor’s mailbox, and so on and so forth.
And by then end of that summer, I had graduated to a pair of Asics, lost 20 pounds, and could run THREE WHOLE MILES without stopping.
And I’m still running… still LOVING how it makes me feel so accomplished and proud, and –how every now and then– there ARE happy tears.
I encourage you all to find YOUR “running.” It could be swimming, lifting, tennis, walking. Heck, I suppose it could be ANYTHING really, even something NON-fitness related. (GASP!!)
But take my word for it. Life is too short not to.