Thank you so much for visiting my site and reading my story. I am not usually one that shares a lot of personal information, but I have felt a need lately to share my journey. My hope in being a little vulnerable is that I will help inspire a few people out there on their journey to get healthy.
You see, I was a pretty unhealthy person before in a lot of ways. I very rarely exercised, was about the most unhealthy eater you could imagine (loved my fast food!), and never got out of my comfort zone to experience all of the wonderful things out there. I think a lot of it was a cycle I was caught into. I had the same routine that caused me to feel bad both physically and mentally, and this in turn made me keep craving the bad food and not wanting to do anything about it.
Well, that all caught up to me one day when I woke up one morning with my heart racing, super pale, and I just knew something was not right. I ended up going to the emergency room to find out I had high blood pressure and they contributed the way I was feeling to anxiety. At 30 years old, this was a wake up call. The thing is, before that moment, I don’t think I even realized anything was wrong. It was just my normal to feel bad all the time.
The next day, I decided to make a change. I started walking around my neighborhood and counting calories. The first time I walked all the way around my neighborhood I thought I was going to die. But, I went a little farther the next day and just kept building. After about a year of counting calories and walking, I had lost around 100 pounds and was feeling so much better than I did before. So, I thought why not try to add a little running into the mix.
The first time I added jogging to the mix, I could only go about 30 seconds at a time without walking and thought it was the hardest thing in the world. But, just like the walking, I just kept building up a little more at a time. I started adding the running in January 2018. I decided to motivate myself to keep it up and get way out of my comfort zone by signing up for a race. I still remember the first time I ran a mile and I about cried. Then, I remember running 3 miles without stopping. These were such huge milestones for me. In May 2018, I ran my first 5k race with a time of around 33 minutes. A lot of my work crew did it with me, and it was such a great experience.
By that time, I had dropped another 50 pounds and was at my ideal weight. I had never been that weight before in my life. I had been overweight since elementary school. So, to celebrate, I ended up going to Ecuador for 5 wonderful weeks by myself to volunteer teaching English. It was such a wonderful experience. I ran a little while I was in Quito, the capital, but the altitude was so high in the mountains it made it extremely hard.
When I returned, I decided to get running again and this time I signed up for a 10k race with a friend in September 2018. I built it back up and ran it in a little over an hour. By this time, I was hooked into running because it made me feel amazing, and I decided to join a local running group. It is absolutely one of the best decisions of my life. They have given me so much support and encouragement. Plus, I have learned so much more about running and the great races in our area.
Once I joined the group, I started building up my long runs on the weekend. Before I knew it, I had run a half marathon on my own. I had also decided to pretty much go plant based with my diet because it just made me feel amazing. With the combination of running and healthy eating, I just absolutely felt amazing. So, what did I decide to do? Sign up for a full marathon. I knew it was possible if I spent the time training and decided I wanted to keep challenging myself to do better. I looked at the calendar, and I had exactly 20 weeks until the Derby Marathon. Perfect training schedule.
I did a lot of reading and asked a lot of people about the best way to go about training. I developed my own plan and pretty much stuck to it. It was certainly challenging at points, a lot of highs and lows, but I wouldn’t have given up the experience for anything. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of.
This spring, I did another 5k race and improved my time by about 7 minutes. I also did a 10k race and improved my time by about 9 minutes in 6 months time. I just love the feeling of knowing the more I train and work, the more I progress. I am not in it to beat anyone else in any way. I just love improving myself. The people I have met along this journey are worth all the training alone. Every runner I have met is so encouraging, happy, and motivating.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle has not always been easy, but I think that is what makes it so wonderful. Running is hard. Let’s face it. But, that is why it provides such wonderful accomplishment. When I finished the marathon, it was pretty emotional for me because it was not just the accomplishment of running 4 or 5 hours that morning. It was the accomplishment of over 2 years of immense change, learning, pushing myself, and consistent training. I have done this all for me, but my greatest hope would be that I would somehow inspire just one person to also take that leap to a healthier life. Every single step has been worth it.
As far as my before and after picture, the physical change is super obvious. More importantly, though, is the mental change that is hopefully also evident. I am just so much happier now in every way. I know I am a better person for everyone around me. If you are thinking about making a change, just do it. You are so worth it and will never, ever regret it.