My story starts over 13 years ago. It was a January night and with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to run a marathon with her that summer, she had just signed up with Team in Training. I really wanted to quit smoking and I thought what better way than to commit to running a marathon for charity. I had my last cigarette that night. My first long run was the next Saturday. I was coughing, I was cold, I was totally uncomfortable, but I was also determined. I signed up for my first 5 mile race about the same time I started training. I was so nervous. It was February, in Iowa. It was so cold. 5 miles was FAR! I’m not exactly sure how many runners were at that first race, but I would guess around 500 and I finished dead last. And not just dead last, but waaay behind anyone else. The streets had opened back up and I had a police escort blocking traffic when I needed to cross major streets. A lot of people would have quit. Not me. I had to prove that I could do it. What a wonderful feeling to cross that finish line. I went on to run a few more races before the marathon and on a cloudy June day in San Diego, ran my first marathon. My time was 6 hours and 15 minutes. I took in every second of that race. I took pictures along the way and had a blast. My time goal: Finish before the sag wagon picked me up.
I had raised enough money to “get to” do a 2nd marathon within a year, so that following January, I ran the Disney World Marathon with Team and Training and finished in 5 hours 45 minutes. A whole half hour faster! I was hooked on running, but still didn’t really consider myself a runner. I would run around 12 minute miles when I trained. I was a little overweight. How could I be a runner?
I went on to run several more marathons, some for charity, some for fun. I have run countless 5ks, 10ks and half-marathons along the way. I even kept running in between having babies and all the other things life brings. I ran my last marathon in 2010. I had the same finish time as the previous 2 marathons and decided I was done. I wasn’t improving. I now had 2 kids. What was the point? But I did keep running “for fun.”
In March of 2012 I had baby number 3. I had a very hard time getting rid of the baby weight this time. I signed up for a half marathon for September hoping that would get me back in shape. I ran that half, and while I met my time goal, I didn’t meet my weight goal.
During my training I was introduced to Body Back. I signed up to start the Wednesday after my race. Anyone that will listen knows what 8 weeks of Body Back did for me (lost 14 pounds, lost 6 inches of my waist, put me in the best shape of my life), but not everyone knows what it did for my RUNNING! The spring after Body Back, I signed up for another half and not only ran over 20 minutes faster than I had less than 8 months earlier, I also had a personal record. I was 36 years old and I had 3 kids, was this how it was supposed to work?
The secret I had been missing all those years was strength training and eating right. I have had personal records in every distance I have ever run in the past year and a half. Stroller Strides and Body Back have improved my running so much that I am signed up for the 2014 Chicago Marathon and am hoping for another PR.
I have been telling people for years, if I can do it, anyone can do it! I swear to you this is true. I started from nothing, but kept at it. It took me many years to figure it all out, but I just gave you a short cutJ
I might have written a blog about running eventually, but without Fit4Mom, I would still be “just trying to finish.”