On October 11, 2014, I did run a half marathon.
I ran 13.1 miles! What? That’s crazy! I am still trying to wrap my mind around that.
You see, 22.5 months ago I weighed 316 pounds. I had spent the majority of the previous 20 years weighing around or over 300 pounds. I had been either overweight, obese or morbidly obese my whole life. I did not set out to run. I certainly did not set out to run a half marathon. I set out to try to save my life. I wanted to be healthy and to LIVE!
When Wayne and I first met to talk (November 2012), one of the things we talked about was things I wanted to do but had been unable to do – running was not on that list. I didn’t even think it was a possibility for me – never considered it – never mentioned it. I had “bad” knees and neuropathy in my feet. The first day I exercised with him, we went for a walk down their street.
A 1/4 mile walk was hard for me.
I walked very slowly and got out of breath. My knees hurt, my feet hurt and it was hard. It was hard for me mentally and emotionally too – I felt embarrassed and we had to talk through all of that over time.
I began to move more and more and it started becoming a little easier. As I lost weight and moved more, I felt stronger. I realized the benefits of moving, and made choices each day to move more.
In June of 2013, I walked my first 5K.
It was a big deal! I had lots of friends and family who walked it with me. It was a wonderful mile-marker in my journey. A great celebration – so thankful for those who shared that day with me.
In August of 2013, I walked another 5K. Around this same time, I took a challenge to walk at least one mile a day. I also remember around this same time, that Stephanie (Wayne’s wife) looked at me and said something like “You never know – one day you might just run a half marathon.” We laugh about the look I gave her that day. That was “crazy” talk to me – out of the realm of possibility.
Can my body even run?
There were a few times, even early in my journey that I tried to run a little (just to see if I could). Now, I’m talking about a run between mailboxes, not any distance. I just wanted to see if my body could even run at all. Anyway, I did walk at least a mile a day until that December when I had foot surgery. After recovery, I picked that back up again and I walk at least a mile everyday .
As I got stronger and had lost more weight (over 100 pounds at this point). I wanted to see again if I could run. Every time I tried, I would get to a point that I could not go any longer. Each time I looked at my watch, it had been about 2 minutes!!!! That’s it?? It felt like a lot longer than that. I remember wondering how anybody could run a 5K, much less any more than that.
Overcoming 2 Minutes
One day, I was out for a walk and decided to try again to run. I got a little “mad” and decided I was going to run more than 2 minutes. When I felt I couldn’t go any longer, I looked down and there it was again – 2 minutes. I decided to keep going and think about all the things Wayne had told me to pay attention to if I did try to run (i.e. posture, arm position, foot landing, breathing, etc.). The next thing I know it was 7 minutes. I thought, “OK wonder if I can make it to that tree….and then to that tree…. and then around that corner”
I ran a mile that day!! I didn’t tell anybody that day except my husband, Allen. I thought I must have just had a “good foot” day and that it was a fluke. I wondered if I could do it again and knew if I told Wayne, he would say “of course you can” (that is what he said when I told him the next day). I did have to try again the next day and I ran a mile in my neighborhood.
WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone…
That Friday night, Wayne texted me about coming to MOMENTUM RUN group the next morning – EARLY morning. Now, I did not like this at all. I knew that some people there walked and ran, but to me they were runners and that was WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone. I had never run in front of anyone except Allen (my husband). In all honesty, it sort of made me mad that he texted me (because it challenged me outside my comfort zone). It made me have to think about it. I have given him permission in my life to do that but I didn’t like it in the moment. On one hand, I didn’t want to do that at all, but on the other hand, I trusted him and knew he wouldn’t ask me to do something that I couldn’t do or was not ok to try. I just felt like I didn’t belong there.
Well, I went. Everyone was so nice and encouraging. I decided to run 1 mile in and walk 1 mile back. I tried not to look at my watch but by my music knew I must be about a mile in. I looked and I was past a mile. I ran a little further and then turned around to walk back, but I felt good and decided I would run a little bit more. I ran all the way back to the start point. I looked at my watch and it was almost 3 miles so I kept going to 3.1 miles – 5K distance!
I kept going and in June, Wayne, my daughter (Cheyenne) and I ran the same 5K that I had walked the year before. Another incredible mile-marker!
A birthday gift
A friend of mine, Michelle Austin, called me and told me she had a crazy idea – to buy us entry into the Murfreesboro Half Marathon for my birthday. I said, “Uh, can I get back to you on that – not sure I want that for my birthday!”. She did not pressure me. She said we could walk the whole thing and just spend the time together. (I wasn’t sure I could walk that far.) She was also fine to spend my birthday another way – just an idea! Something else to think about – outside my comfort zone. I took a few weeks to decide – I talked to Wayne, I talked to my husband – could it be possible to even walk that far?? I decided to say yes. We began to train – adding distance each week.
In August, we ran the 10K that I had walked the year before. I remember on my birthday in September, we ran 10 miles. The night before, I was telling some friends at Fortified Fitness Group, that I was going to start my birthday by running 10 miles. Someone said – on your birthday? Why would you do that on your birthday? The answer that came out was “because I can” – What a gift!
Another gift that has come out of this is the time spent running long distance with Michelle – time spent together, growing our friendship – times of talking, laughing, straining, encouraging. I am so thankful for the hours she sacrificed to train with me. It was a gift to us both in all kinds of ways. I have also met so many wonderful people and am enjoying many new friendships – people I have met in MOMENTUM Run Group! It is a beautiful, encouraging group of people.
13.1 Mile Marker in my life
On October 11, 2014, Michelle and I ran the half marathon – ran all 13.1 miles. What a marker! What a celebration! And I really am trying to realize that it actually happened. But again, the goal was never to run 13.1 miles. In the beginning, I was just trying to live – to be alive – to save my life! All the markers came out of choosing daily to make healthy choices – living and thriving each day in the beautiful boundaries God has given us to enjoy!
I did not know the potential. I had quit dreaming! God has done immeasurably more than I could dream or imagine. What a journey Jesus has me on! And I have no idea what is to come – but He does!!! I will continue to live one day at a time, learning to embrace all He has for me!
One step at a time – you never know where it will lead!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” – Ephesians 3:20