January 18th is my running birthday. I started running on that date in 2009 so I'm only 3 and still a toddler as far as running goes. I've learned a lot so far but I have a lot more to learn.
When I weighed 300 pounds, I felt trapped...suffocated...like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wasn't happy at all. I know that being overweight isn't the end of the world but you just don't know how awful it feels. Frankly, I think those women who say they are happy weighing 100+ lbs more than should are full of crap. Seriously, if you love yourself, don't treat yourself like shit. And being obese is not healthy no matter how much you trick yourself into thinking it is. I had no illusions. I just didn't have the will power to lose the weight.
But I finally did thanks to running & riding. I didn't enjoy it much in the beginning. It was hard and my knees & hips & feet hurt. Of course, they would when you're carrying an extra 75 pounds (the picture above was taken 2 months after I started running and the picture to the left was taken in December 2011). Eventually, it started to hurt less and I actually felt like a runner. I still didn't love it but it was doable.
Finally, about a year and half ago, I fell in love with running and thankfully the honeymoon hasn't ended. I feel incredible when I run. I feel like I'm light and fluid and strong. I feel like there's nothing I can't do.
You know, I still pinch myself sometimes to make sure I'm not dreaming. Never in a million years did I think I would love running, that I would love long runs, that I would complete 5 marathons, or that I would do a 12 HR! A flipping 12 HR! Me! The girl who weighed 300 lbs, wore a size 26/28, and used to drive to the store...half a block away!
I'm sure some people must wonder how all my runs can be so great or how I can feel good all the time. I guess they aren't always but when I compare how I feel on a bad run to how I felt 3 years ago, it's still 100 times better than it was. Who can complain about that?
And I've been so blessed by having running in my life - traveling and meeting awesome people and having all kinds of adventures - that every time I lace up my shoes it's a little bit of a celebration. A celebration of finally living the life I want. Would I do those things if I wasn't a runner. Maybe. But probably not. I didn't really take vacations before I started doing marathons. I'd go to visit my family or take time off when they came over but my vacation time would usually just build up and then I'd cash some out so I wouldn't lose it. But I'm using it now! I also hated to fly because I was always worried about fitting in the seat and being able to buckle the seat belt. And of course I didn't have the energy to walk around. Ironic that now I travel to run races and still have energy to walk for hours while I see the sights after, don't you think?
So yeah...I don't have bad running days. I may have slightly less great running days. Oh sure, I might complain that I didn't hit certain times or it's windy or it's so frickin cold my finger are numb (hey, I'm from SoCal, I don't do cold!). But I'll take those days over the spud days any day. And you have my permission to kick my butt if you see me forgetting that.
So what am I going to do to celebrate my 3rd running birthday? Why, sign up for a race of course! Registration opens for the Disney Half in October and I'm signing up for it so I can run with Teal, Beth, and Emily. AND...I'm seriously considering signing up for my 1st 100 miler! I really, really want to do the Javelina Jundred in October. I already talked to my sister about coming to help crew for me and she said yes. It's in Phoenix and close to where my sister lives. In fact, I think they've gone camping there with the kids. I think it would be a blast. Check out this video to see what it's like. Looks fun, right?
Thanks for celebrating with me and following me as I grow up as a runner/ultrarunner. :) Woo! I'm an ultrarunner! Woo! Sorry, I'm still a little excited about that. :) Ultrarunner...flipping insane! Am I dreaming?
When did you start running? Do you mark the date? What do you do to celebrate?