How Running has been Critical to my Wellness Journey
For much of my life I’ve been obese.
At one point I weighed nearly 300lbs. My size at that time was a 26/28. I look back now with disgust at myself for not trying harder to get in shape. It takes time to make real change. What I have done to my body, some things just can’t be fixed. The scars will forever be with me when I look in the mirror naked. But I will take that as a reminder to not let myself go back again.
What has helped me become a healthier, happier person? Running. Becoming a runner helped me lose over 100 pounds and get off all of my medication for blood pressure and diabetes. It’s been a very long journey, but one that I hope will be encouraging and motivating to you.
The Beginning of the Journey
I have lived with chronic pain for 20 years. In 1990 I was in a car accident. The pain kept me in a destructive cycle of bad health decisions. In 1992 I was diagnosed as a diabetic and put on insulin. I threw in the towel and just went on the pump.
At times, I would try to get healthy by changing small things like cutting back takeout food or certain processed foods from my diet. Last year I finally decided to have surgery on my back. I walked out of the hospital and decided I was going to walk the TC10k – and I did! I decided I had finally had enough and was going to get serious about my health.
How I Got Serious
Getting serious about my health is a balancing act. You know tree pose, a yoga pose. It’s no different with being a diabetic and a runner. Balancing food in with exercise out. There are days I need to take in a bit more so I don’t bottom out. For me the proper balance of food is, Protein Fat Carb. No more junk or fake food! More organic foods and making my meals from scratch as well as gluten free.
Once, during a workout, I got on the treadmill, and thought to myself, “I want to run a 5k. Holy molly where did that come from?” I shocked myself because I was the girl in gym class that would come in LAST from the run. Why would I want to do this to myself? I never enjoyed running, so me doing a 5k… well it blew my mind.
I Became a Runner
In 2012 I did my first ever 5k, Charities Challenge Obesity. I mostly walked, but Charities Challenge is a great place for someone to start. The support was awesome, why would they be so excited for ME? Cause they are excited for anyone to make that change. It’s not easy, but so worth it in the end.
Shortly after that, I was doing another and another. I’ve now done 25 – 30 races! I’m almost pain free because I’ve stuck with the training.
I’m not a fast runner. Sometimes I walk/run, depending on how I feel. I used to get really upset about my time, not so much now. I’m happy just to be able to be out running and meeting new people. The running community is so supportive; people you never meet are cheering you on!
The Struggle Continues
I do still struggle with my weight. This is a hard thing for me to put out there, because I don’t want people to think I’ve failed again, because I haven’t. The problem for me is eating when I’m training vs when I’m not.
I’m trying to switch my gears in my head to use food as fuel only, not as an emotional escape. Sometimes I do great, other times when I’m stressed, it’s very hard. But I’m learning to deal with those emotions in a healthy way. I won’t be perfect and I know that this might be a struggle for awhile, but I’m committed.
Because I can be short, tall, thin, overweight it doesn’t matter! I can do it at my pace. When I’m out running, it feels natural. I feel peace and if I allow myself I can get lost in it. I have noticed lately my body sends me a notice if I haven’t been running. If I don’t run for 3 or 4 days, I get leg cramps. What does that tell ya, my body craves it!
We need to remember that we should never give up on ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves for us to be there and ready for others. I would always give up on myself, thinking it was too much time. It’s important to take care of ourselves. When we don’t we are telling ourselves we aren’t worth it. So break the circle and make the time.
I turned 50 this month, and running has helped me feel better than I ever have. I feel better now than when I was 30. And I may become even better when I’m….cough cough 60?
How Far I’ve Come
You have to start looking at the positive changes within yourself. My fitness coach she asked me recently, “If I left you alone in this room what would you think about?” I said “ how my arms are flabby and my body looks horrible naked”. Her response slapped me in the face.
“You wouldn’t think how far you came? That your off all your meds? That you lost over 100lbs? That you starting running last year? That you accomplished a half marathon and just finished a 10mile? That you still did this after back surgery last year?”
I’m guilty as charged. I’m one to go down the negative road first. As I sit here writing I have tears streaming down my face. Cause it’s true, I am very hard on myself. Which I think we all are! My goal is to stop, not an easy task. But I need to focus on the accomplishments I have done, not the negative, and so do you!
My Half Marathon for 50
So as I prepare to run a half in March to celebrate turning 50, I’m not focusing so much on time, but the experience of it all. Meeting new friends, seeing new places and wondering where will this new path take me. This year is MY year, just because I will be 50 doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. I have about 5 to 6 halfs planned and maybe a full marathon.
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO! Where is your journey taking you? What have you learned about yourself during your journey?