I have spent a lot of time doing some real soul-searching since my accident in May. Not being able to run has been a bigger blow to me than many realize. My entire life revolves around fitness and being active and running. It goes way beyond the fact that I am a personal trainer and beyond the fact that I am leading a group of bariatric patients as they do what for many will be their first 5k and first half-marathon in Disney this November. It has so much more to do with why I run and why it makes me happy.
I took up running as a way to ensure I kept my weight off. It is a great cardio workout. Then it became a way of life. Not long after my husband Ben and I began to run, three of our kids picked up the sport. Two are now excellent cross-country runners for Baker High School here and love running just as much as their father and I do.
Running became a family sport in our home and something we did together and bonded over. In the summer of 2010, we all won our first silver medals together. We were so proud. I remember the feeling when we finished that 5k. It was both exhilarating and exhausting. I had just had surgery on my head a couple of weeks prior and still had two sets of stitches. Sure I had to walk a lot of the race and yes it took me almost an hour to finish, but that did not matter because I finished. This was in Ridgeland, MS and we were so tired after the race, that we had to go and lie down in our hotel room for about three hours before we could even function! But it gave me a desire for more. I wanted to do a half-marathon and the best place I could think of was our second home- Walt Disney World. So we trained and in January of 2011, Ben and I won our first gold medals. We completed the 2011 WDW Half- Marathon. We used the Jeff Galloway training plan and it was amazing. I literally cannot describe to you the way it felt to cross that finish line and have that medal placed around my neck. To go from being a 325 pound morbidly obese woman who couldn’t get up a flight of stairs without feeling winded to finishing that 13.1 miles was euphoric.
I truly felt like an Olympic athlete when we crossed that finish line. Once again, we were not fast, but we got the same medal as the guy who finished first. I could never put that feeling into words. That event is what solidified my desire to become a personal trainer and help others struggling with their weight understand that they CAN bet this disease of obesity and they CAN do hard things and they CAN become athletes if they want to do so. Health and fitness are my life and passion as is fighting against obesity, especially childhood obesity.
Running is so important to me and such a huge part of who I am, and not being able to run since May 18th has been pure hell. I intend to turn that around, and make fast-walking my new heaven. At least for now. The official word is that we do not know when I will ever run again or if I will ever run again. I will never say never. But since I know that for the November 10 race, I have to walk, that is how I am training. I look at it this way- power-walking is actually an Olympic sport. And when the race is over, I will get the same medal as the person who runs a 6 minute mile!
I decided that I would chronicle my journey back to my next half-marathon, cracked back and all, in the hopes that maybe I can inspire someone else going through rough times. There will be good days, there will be bad days, but my training will be shared here, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I know I cannot run the half, but I CAN walk it and and I plan to finish it even if I have to crawl across the finish line. I CAN DO HARD THINGS. MY Olympics begins in 104 days.
I welcome comments, encouragement, or overall thoughts. I also challenge everyone to take the next 104 days and set a goal and work with me. Even if the goal is as small as walking a mile by then…..it can be anything that challenges you. Your first 5k? Your first 10k? What do YOU want to accomplish with me? Let’s do something hard TOGETHER….