Why I run

You know that moment when you realize you have to do something or your current situation is only going to get worse? I’m sure we’ve all had one of those moments and they each impact a part of our life in different ways, prompting us to make changes, to take risks or in extreme cases to start all over again. I had one of those moments a little over six years ago, my moment was a health related “aha” type moment, at that point in my life I was 230 pounds and extremely out of shape. Worst part was, my primary care doctor had been warning me about my health risks for years and pushing me to make changes to no avail. Luckily this is not a scary story of a horrible near death experience, but more of a “punch in the gut” “stomp on my pride” related event that was my catalyst for change…

There I was at my oldest daughters’ swim practice, watching my 7-year-old swim laps in an Olympic size pool for 30 minutes straight, I thought to myself there is no way in hell I could ever do that, certainly not in the shape I’m in, but I was going to try anyways. You see up to that point in my life I had never thought of myself as obese, nor had I ever backed down from a challenge and I wasn’t going to let my 7-year-old beat me… no way! So the next week I got in the pool and swam 1 length of the pool and that was it, literally that was it… and that was the moment I woke up. I accepted the fact that I was obese, the fact that there were challenges I couldn’t just “dive into” without preparing for them, the fact that I had to change something in my life so I could be the best parent I could be for my kids.

I had no idea where to start, I had been to a gym, I had ridden a bike, I had done research before and drafted plans, I had even purchased one of those infomercial programs that “guaranteed results” but all those efforts failed. They failed not because I didn’t have the motivation but because I wanted immediate results, my goals where not smart goals and that made them unattainable which in turn always lead me to quit. That was until I tried a couch to 5k program; 9 weeks of 30 minute workouts 3 times a week, leading up to a 5k it didn’t get any easier than that (a smart goal)  and best of all there was a group of people just like me doing it (accountability and support). Two lessons I took to heart quickly and have held on to ever since; setting smart goals and having a support group that holds you accountable.

That year I continued to push myself, I was hooked! I had experienced the proverbial “runners high” and I wanted more, but most importantly I was seeing the health benefits and they were sticking around too… So I signed up for my next 5k, and the next one and then a 10k and a 15k at which point one of my co-workers  challenged me to sign up for a half marathon… and for a brief moment I found myself back at that pool with my kid swimming laps and I thought there is no way in hell I can do that, but there was a big difference; at that point in my life I was healthy, I had lost enough weight to where I was no longer obese and I was running more frequently and longer than I ever thought I could so I took on the challenge and trained for my first half marathon, my co-worker signed up to run the race with me and would check-in on my training leading up to the event.

In the weeks leading up to the race my co-worker and I would talk about the training and the inherent challenges of taking on such a lofty goal, we also talked about the excuses we make all the time that keep us from reaching our goals and how having a support network, a group of people who want to see you succeed and that will hold you accountable is so important, not just for running but for life. During this time a new challenge and an even bigger goal was proposed; “if you can run a 10k, a 15k and a half marathon why not go for it all and run a full marathon, I’ll even run it with you” I’m pretty sure those were his exact words and of course my immediate reaction was you are nuts, that’s never going to happen. But it did, less than a month after running my first half marathon and just shy of eight months after I had laced up and signed up for my first 5k I ran my first full marathon… and I haven’t stop running…

Every year I set new goals, most of which revolve around improving my time in certain race or event, going father distances or running more challenging races. Other goals have been loftier, like running every day for an entire calendar year or running 2016 miles in 2016 or running an ultra-relay race of 200+ miles. All of which have two things in common; they are smart goals for which I prepare myself both mentally and physically and my support team of running mates, family and friends are there with me every step of the way, cheering me on, providing encouragement or holding me accountable by giving me a kick in the butt when needed. This year is no different and whoever reads this has now officially become part of my support team J.

I have challenged myself to qualify for The Boston Marathon and I have two opportunities to make it happen this year. In November I will be running the TCS New York City Marathon and the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon. These races are a week apart from each other and for the next 16 weeks I will be training my heart out to make that goal happen. I invite you to come along this journey and hold me accountable, keep me grounded and I promise that along the way I will in turn return the favor by providing the lessons I have learned during my running journey and how they continue to impact my passion for forward progress…

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