Let me start this blog by giving credit to Radiolab, WYNC.org for the podcast Shorts: In the running, about a woman named Diane Van Daren. If you’re a runner, you MUST listen to this podcast, it’s just incredible; if you’re not a runner, listen anyway, her story is amazing. http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2011/apr/05/in-running/
So it got me thinking that I wanted to write a blog asking my few readers, what is your running story? I want to know that magic moment that made you decide to lace up your shoes and take off on more than a walk for the first time? Especially those of you who weren’t runners as children and came into running later in life, like me. Diane was always an athlete, but as I’ve indicated before, I had severe asthma and was discouraged from exercise, I struggled to breathe through anything, whether it was swimming, or talking, or gym class, you name it. I felt like a total freak with my loud lungs…..
My running story began in 2008. I’m exactly 5’6.5″, and I was walking with my coworkers, J, J, L and N. One J is about 5’9″ but the other three are just 5″ tall. And they were lapping me, meaning they would get so far ahead they would have to turn around and circle back to rejoin me. I was obese, my son was just months old, and I’d struggled with obesity since I was in my early 20’s. At this point, I’m 35 years old, and I’m fiercely determined to change the course of my life and be a success with weight loss so that I don’t DIE from sleep apnea and asthma. So, we’re walking in our work clothes at this point, we started in March, but I’m getting sick and tired of being lapped. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED that my coworkers were supporting me instead of leaving me, but I’m mad at myself for being a slow whale (sorry but that’s what I felt in my head at the time).
So we start to change clothes before our walks because we’re getting really sweaty as the weather warms up, and I start to jog to catch up with them before they can loop me, and I’m completely out of breath as I do it, but there is this RUSH in my brain, this intoxicating feeling of joy, empowerment, control, determination……it is intoxicating. I want more, more, and more. So I intentionally walk run, walk run and love my little “sprints” to catch up with my teensy coworkers. I was incredibly consistent in my walk/runs, I made no excuses, and meanwhile I made drastic changes in my way of eating as well. I did my first 5k October 2008 (Ghost N Goblins), and I ran part of it with another friend, H. My first time headed toward the finish line clock was another pivotal moment; I was totally focused on finishing in under X minutes…..and I did. The feeling that rushed through me was even more intense, almost orgasmic. I was hooked, 100% on running, even though I was still 205 lbs and slow….but in this process, I had lost 70 lbs.
I became a runner in 2008. The girl who never played a sport, the uncoordinated girl no one wanted for her team, the taunted mocked girl took control of her destiny in a pair of walking shoes. I traded the walking shoes for running shoes and I’ve never stopped. I lost more weight and I gained some back, and I think I’m pretty stable now, which has me heavier and therefore slower than I was in prior years, but it’s 2013 and I am logging more miles than ever. I’ve completed 5 half marathons and many, many other races. Maybe my story wouldn’t play as well on a podcast, but the fact is, it is just as much of a miracle, because I think running not only saved my life, but became an inextricable part of my identity.
Please share with me your running/athlete/life changing story, I want to hear them all!