I never considered myself to be athletic and I am not particularly coordinated. About my sophomore year in high school, my idea of physical activity became shopping at the mall and talking on the phone with friends. This sedentary lifestyle continued well into adulthood. It wasn’t until my late 20′s that I started to have any desire to exercise, and that was only after I noticed my metabolism slowing down, which resulted in adding on a few pounds. Thus began my slow fitness journey.
So there I was, in my mid-20′s, experimenting with fad diets and finally deciding to join a gym. I was intimidated by all the gym equipment, with the exception of the treadmill. I didn’t want to go to a group class all by myself, so I decided to run. There was no rhyme or reason to how often or to what distance I ran, I just went when I felt like it and ran until I wanted to stop. For the next few years I was anything but consistent with exercising. When I got pregnant with my first born I thought I had a free pass to eat whatever I wanted. The only exercise I got was the short walk I took the dogs on. After my son was born the weight came off fairly quickly. Without much effort, I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Shortly thereafter, I got pregnant with my daughter. Again, I thought I had an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Since I was chasing a 2 year old around, I was a little more active than I was when I was pregnant with my son. At first, the weight I gained while pregnant with my daughter started to come off pretty easily, but then I hit a wall with about 15 pounds to go. I was not running anymore, my gym membership had expired, and slowly the pounds started adding on. At one point, I weighed as much as I did when I was 9 months pregnant with my son! As I moved up clothing sizes, I knew I had to do something, and so I began running sporadically. Then in March of 2010, Erika (who was living in Virginia at the time) and I decided to run a 5K together while she was home visiting. I enjoyed my race experience and it marked the first time I thought I could actually be a “runner”.
Inspired by my marathon running dad, I decided to sign up to run the 2011 Houston Aramco Half Marathon. Since he would be recovering from the Marine Corp Marathon that takes place a couple of months prior, my dad decided to forego the full and run the half with me. This time it was totally different, running had changed for me. Armed with a training plan and a goal, I found myself looking forward to my runs. It had become “ME” time. As with any type of training, there were challenges, including getting a horrible stomach bug about 3 weeks before the big race. It was hard to recover from, but I had a fairly solid foundation of training and was able to complete my first half in a respectable 02:26:29.
Following this race is when I began to get serious about running. I started learning more about the sport. I took up cross-training with classes at my local YMCA, and I continued to run 5K’s for fun. I signed up to run the 2012 Aramco Half Marathon, with the goal of running a sub 2:00. I started a training plan and was on schedule to do so, when I went off track for a couple of reasons – one of them being an unexpected trip to Guam for my sweet grandma’s funeral. It was a very long trip, but I was able to get in a long run and a couple of short runs. I even ran a 5K with my family members in honor of my grandma. It was one of the most fulfilling races I have run because it was with the people I love in honor of an amazing woman.
I returned home from a 16 hour flight, 3 days before the half. Since I was dealing with jet lag, my goal changed from a sub 2:00 to beating my time from last year. Luckily, my months of speed training payed off and I completed the race with a PR (personal record) of 2:08:07. Invigorated by this race, I planned on running the full marathon in 2013. As I mentioned before, I am expecting my 3rd child, so I put this dream on hold for now.
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point along the way running & working out changed from something I had to do into something I wanted to do. If I don’t get a run or workout in, I feel bad. Not because I didn’t go, but because my body and mind literally crave it. The more I run, the better I feel. It has helped me in so many ways and parts of my life, including empowering me. I honestly can’t imagine how I ever lived the life I did before all this.