What inspired me to begin my fitness journey?
I’d been active as a kid and all through high school. Soccer teams, competitive swimming, and finally dancing. In my junior year of high school, I was taking 6 dance classes plus a couple extra rehearsals every week. That, and walking to work four days. I’ve always been curvy, but I was in shape and never thought much about what I ate.
The result was that I never learned to be responsible for my health. When I went off to college, a maxed-out class load and working 2 or 3 jobs meant I didn’t make time to workout. Heck, I didn’t even have time to learn how to be healthy on my own.
After I graduated, I decided it was finally time to take control of my health. It started with a short jog around my neighborhood. The first time I ran a full mile was so exciting! I ran nearly every day those first few months. The next step was incorporating strength training and yoga. Then I realized I needed to change my eating habits. I lost nearly 30 pounds that first year! I was finally starting to learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Fast forward to graduate school, and I was able to maintain a good level of fitness. I gained back some, but nothing unmanageable. These days I’m a newlywed without classes or kids, so I have more time to focus on health. I spend a lot of time reading and researching different eating styles; I meal plan for Jon and myself; I workout 4–6 days a week.
“I’m not the fittest I could be, and that’s OK! Sure, I’d love to lose 5 more pounds – honestly, who wouldn’t? – but a big part of this journey is accepting and truly loving where I’m at. I have to remind myself every. single. day. that I am a beautiful person of value with plenty of talent to offer the world. As I learn to appreciate that about myself, I am learning to better recognize and appreciate that about others.”
Finish this sentence: I run because ________.
When I started running, I ran to lose weight. During the last few years, I ran to be fit. Now I run because I really enjoy it. Sure, staying healthy is still a major reason, but it’s no longer the only reason. It’s about the challenge of running longer or going faster. It’s about measurable improvement. It’s about getting outside in the fresh air and having time to myself. I also run to relieve stress.
My favorite mantras:
I say these to myself nearly every day:
“This is about the journey, not just the destination.”
“Moving forward is easier than starting over.”
Running accomplishment am I most proud of:
Two things come to mind: consistency and breathing. I’m successfully balancing how many days I run each week with other workouts (like HITT, easier yoga days or rest days). I used to have a terrible time breathing well. I read a lot of articles, really focusing on better breathing habits for months, and it has paid off.
I’ve never been very interested in races, but I am running my first half marathon in June
“It’s these little successes that motivate me and keep me heading out the door.”
The hardest fitness challenge I have overcome:
I have ongoing circulation problems in my legs, particularly below my knees. My feet and legs literally go numb. After many days in medical offices and various tests, I was told they couldn’t figure it out and I should just stretch my calves more. Getting compression socks has helped, and I’ve been stretching more, but there are still days that the tingling/muscle spasms/numbness gets so bad I can’t finish a run. I can’t express how incredibly frustrating it is to feel like I can’t improve because my body is consistently working against me. As a whole, it’s gotten better, and I need to hold on to that. On the bad days, I just need to take it as a loss and move on.
There is always tomorrow.