A few weeks ago, I began to tell you the first part of my story – from my first organized practice through 4 years of college. When I left off, I was heading back to the DC Metro region for my first career position.
When I moved back to MD, I began working in corporate fitness. My company was a contracted company for a telecommunications giant in Virginia. My first role was an entry-level fitness specialist conducting fitness assessments and prescribing exercise programs. At this time, working out was still not a frequent activity in my life and I even spent 8+ hours at a gym every day!
Within the first few months at the center, I met my future husband. J would come in daily with his work buddies; hit the elliptical and then the weights. My duties included chatting with our members, so I was able to get to know him each time he came to work out. Our daily conversations lead to an evening out and sort of a whirlwind romance.
Fairly quickly, we moved in together and within a year of meeting each other were engaged. When I met my husband, he had a 6 year old daughter and an 8 year old son who lived with him the majority of the time. In addition to gaining a spouse, I also became part of an “insta-family”.
A couple years later, we added a son and a dog to our family and moved to Winchester, VA. The older kids were involved in many activities – roller hockey, cheerleading, track, etc over the years.
Running for me was extremely spotty over these years. I would try to run outside or on the treadmill, but I wouldn’t keep up any streak. My internal athlete hadn’t disappeared however. When I would go to our kids’ track meets, I felt my legs were literally craving to run . I wanted to feel the sponginess of the track under my feet and the wind through my hair. Fondly, I would remember running the anchor leg of the 4×400 in high school at the end of a track meet. The sun would be setting; the cool air entering my lungs and I’d be ignoring the fatigue settling into my legs after running several events. I wanted to feel that again, but I just couldn’t seem to get there.
Priorities were different now. My husband commuted 3 hours round trip per day and went out of town on business travel up to two weeks a month. With 3 kids at home, I felt like I was doing all I could just to keep up the house and get everyone to their respective activities. I did not try to make time for myself. Looking back now, I confess I wasted a lot of time where I could have easily found time to exercise.
Years went by and I became more and more unhealthy. When I would visit my hometown, I would dread the possibility of running into someone I knew. I enjoyed living elsewhere since my current friends weren’t aware of my past athletic achievements and my old friends weren’t aware of the difference in my appearance.
Eventually, I grew tired. Tired of watching the Biggest Loser on TV and wanting to lose even a fraction of what the contestants were losing. Tired of needing to purchase bigger clothes. Tired of having the craving to run, but not hitting the pavement. I am in my 30s and decided this was the time. I wanted to look fit for my husband. I wanted to be healthy for my kids. I wanted to be an athlete again.
“To change your life, you must change your priorities.”
I cannot adequately describe how mentally and physically tough it was to begin. Walking was all I could do at first. I would try to run – my butt would jiggle; my thighs would brush against each other, my lungs would burn; it all would frustrate me. I would barely make it a half mile, let alone a quarter mile. The first time I ran a straight mile, I think it took me about 11 minutes. A far cry from my 5:04 in high school. Yet, I kept plugging along.
Thankfully, my husband was alongside me most of the workouts in the beginning. We would walk, hike and jog a little together; talking about our day. Eventually, I began to run a little bit further and a little bit faster. Soon my husband would say, just go on ahead without me.
At least 3-4 days per week, I carved 30 minutes of “me” time into my schedule. Sometimes it was before work, sometimes after. As with any other item on my “to-d0” list, exercise was just one more line to cross off at the end of the day. Slow and steady baby steps began to lead into faster strides, increasing into 3-4 miles. In addition to eating better, pounds began to drop. I was feeling better – mentally, physically and emotionally.
This brings us up to about late 2015. I will continue my story about how I increased my pace, maintained my weight and became stronger in upcoming posts.
Hopefully you were able to get to know a little more about my past from these previous 2 blogs.
Years ago, I am unsure if I would be comfortable writing about my struggles. However, in addition to losing weight and running again, I have found my voice. Public speaking almost terrifies me, but crafting my experiences into these posts is almost cleansing. I have learned so much about myself and I am thankful that I have inspired a few of you.
Keep checking in for more posts about running, nutrition and in general, just being a healthier YOU!