When I moved to L.A., I was like every other Angeleno – body-conscious and fitness-obsessed. I joined 24-hour fitness and worked out like a fiend. I had a nonexistent social life and LOTS of free time. I met Rob, who was not so much a gym kind of guy. Instead, we’d hike and take part in outdoor activities Courtesy of my career ambitions and my ungodly commute to work, my activity level diminished drastically. I quickly became out-of-shape. As the pounds racked up, my confidence and gusto for being active disappeared. To add insult to injury, I developed a thyroid condition, which made being active difficult. In the midst of this, Rob and our friend Kevin kept encouraging me to join them on their outdoor exploits. Quite frankly, I just couldn’t keep up. As much as they tried to slow down, it was just too much for me. I was demoralized and quit trying to be active. I made a few attempts at getting back in shape and they just didn’t work.
When I moved back to Virginia Beach last November, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I was borderline overweight and I felt like crap. I am a short woman and all the extra weight was affecting my health. I needed to do something, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I still had a 24-hour fitness membership, but there isn’t a location in my area.
I found inspiration to run from an amazing group of ladies. Some are friends that I’ve known and one is a person that I’ve only known through Twitter. The idea to start running again started with Aileen and Nina. Both are former design clients of mine with whom I became friends. I watched their running progress and Half Marathon training on Facebook. I was impressed by their fortitude. After seeing this, I got a new iPod nano and the Nike + system. When I made a few attempts at running with Dottie, they were both very supportive. Still I wasn’t quite sold on running.
My Twitter friend Amy I. decided to start running. Amy’s journey has been motivating because previously she wasn’t particularly athletic. In a few months, she went from being a “couch-napper” (her term) to finishing her first 5K. For those who aren’t athletic and are contemplating running, I highly suggest checking out her blog The Happiest Race on Earth. I downloaded Couch to 5K podcast. I ran a few times, but it didn’t really care for the Couch to 5K method. So many people swear by it, but it wasn’t for me.
My final motivator was my old friend Rosie. Rosie and I have known each other since we were 10 years old. We went to the elementary, middle and high schools together. In college, we lost touch. When I ran into her at wedding a few months ago, I hadn’t seen her in years and she looked fantastic. She was positive and upbeat despite going through a divorce as well. I asked her what her secret was. She said it was because she ran. Running had become therapeutic for her. Since I was at crossroads of my own and needed to find an outlet for my frustration, I was finally going to give running a serious try.
After running into Rosie in February, I ran a few times, but the frigid weather was off-putting. It wasn’t until April 10 that I started in earnest. I started out very slow. Initially, I could barely walk a mile, but I forced myself to go. I gradually increased my distance. Eventually, I started running. About 3 weeks into it, I suddenly running 2+ miles at a time. I surprised myself. From that point on, I was hooked and in love with running.
To keep myself honest, I allowed Nike+ to post my running stats on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I had hoped that by doing that I would be forced to be consistent since the information was there for all to see. It worked better than expected. Not only did I start running regularly, I received support from friends. The ladies that inspired me also gave me much-needed tips and advice. My sources of inspiration have left countless messages on my Facebook page and Twitter. Rosie even wished me luck on my first race via her Facebook status. I was extremely touched. People came out of the woodwork to share their running stories. I became addicted to the runner’s high. Running has become meditation for me.
After a few weeks of training, I signed up for my first 5K. I finished with a respectable time of 39:54. I’m sure it’ll be the first of many races. Actually, I know I’ll be doing more…
Because I’m a crazy, I decided that I’m going to start my birthday festivities on June 19th by participating in the Xterra Fugitive 10K. It’ll be the longest distance I’ve run to date and it’s a hilly trail course. To say the least, it will be quite a challenge.
It’ll be my first 10K. I’m nervous as hell, but I’m not living unless I’m doing something that scares me. After running part of the course, my goal is to simply finish the race. Let’s pray that I’m still standing 😉