For instance, way back in the fall of 2002, one Saturday morning around that time I went to put on my favorite pair of size 18 jeans that to, my horror, no longer buttoned, I thought of my dear friend Joy who had recently started going to Weight Watchers and losing weight. That morning I decided with resolve that I was tired of living my life overweight and I was finally ready to do something about it. I joined Joy at Weight Watchers and consequently today am celebrating my 7th anniversary of losing nearly 70lbs.
There was a time when my resolve to keep the weight off waivered. I remember feeling tired of daily battle I fought with myself over eating right, not eating too much etc etc. I wondered if it was really worth it. At that same time, my friend, Sam, started on her own journey of weight loss. Watching her inspired me to get my thoughts and goals back on track, and today we encourage each other in the daily battle to fight for our thinner bodies we worked so hard for.
Growing up as an overweight child there were many things that I was not physically able to do. One of those things was running. In 2006, a mere year after reaching my goal weight, a new coworker, Krysta, talked me into running the Race for the Cure. I had never run before and 3.2 miles seemed overwhelming. I started slow and followed the couch to 5K plan. That year in October I completed my first ever 5k (sans Krysta, who I’m not sure why she did not end up running with me) and I’ve been running ever since. Krysta lives two hours away from me now and I don’t get to see or talk to her much. But I often think of her and how glad I am that she talked me into that first race.
In 2009, my friend Lauren contacted me and said, “Hey, I’m running a half marathon this fall why don’t you do it with me?!” Seemed INSANE to me at the time, I’d only ever run 3 miles before, but something in me was dying to try it. I caught the fire. So, I started training. Two months before the race I found out she wasn’t going to be able to run. I had trained for months and I couldn’t stop now. My sister, my lone supporter, that day traveled from two hours away just to get up at 5am and wait that chilly November morning to scream my name as I crossed the finish line 2 hours and 16 minutes later. Today, my sister, Pam, is my training partner who has pushed me (without saying any words) to improve my own running.
Life really tried to do a number on me the following year, and injury sidelined me from my running which had become my solace. By 2012, life had settled and a new “normal” had emerged. I was also able to start running again. That year my birthday brought me another unexpected (but wonderful) surprise – another new running partner – a boy by the name of Everett. I have had the pleasure of watching him grow as a runner over the last (almost) year, run his first 5k and smash some time records. He has inspired me to keep working as he has continued to find time to enter races and do runs in the face of grueling challenges like nursing school and being a single father.
There have been countless others that have come into my life that have meant so much to me, changed my thinking, and honestly, the course of my life. People who gave me the courage to do and achieve things I never in my wildest dreams thought I could. There are so many legitimate life altering reasons I could have used to give up, to quit trying. I could have chosen to let it shake my faith or make me hard and bitter. But instead I have chosen to be thankful for things I have been blessed with, my health, my girls, my running, my friends and family. I truly believe that every day is a gift, a chance to make sure the people in your life who mean so much to you KNOW how much they mean to you. My hope is that I can pour into and inspire people in my life somehow to achieve things they never considered before. I’m sorry I don’t have enough time and space to mention everyone here. I was kind of pre-occupied with running today. So, Dream it then DO IT!! To borrow an applicable phrase from Dr. Seuss "Oh, the places you'll go!!" And if you need encouragement (no matter what it is) let me know, I got your back! J