Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I am.....a runner??

I’ve always hated running. Always. In junior high, I quit Track after one day of practice. In high school, our gym instructor made us participate in the 15 minute run once per month. It’s exactly what it sounds like. 15 minutes straight of running laps around the gym. I usually ended up walking most of it. And was ALWAYS the last one to finish. Which meant that the 20-25 other students (most of whom were the school’s star athletes - why oh WHY did I always get put in gym class with them?!?!) were sitting in the bleachers watching me want to DIE for the last ¾ - ½ of my run. Once I graduated, I vowed never to run again. And I made good on that promise.

Until a year ago, that is.

One year ago, I had an 18 month old and was still hanging onto some baby weight, some “happily married” weight from before baby, and even some of the “freshman 15” (although I actually gained all of my “freshman” 15 in my sophomore year). I was uncomfortable with my body, but apparently not uncomfortable enough to do something about it. Then, in the dead of winter last year, I thought it’d be fun to start running. I was picturing myself as one of those glamorous girls who dresses in cute workout gear and runs around town or on the treadmill like it’s nothing, without breaking a sweat or losing my breath. I was in for a wakeup call. I could barely run a block. I had to stop to walk a lot, and I dealt with terrible shin splints. After about three weeks of trying to be a runner, I quit, telling myself that I wasn’t meant to be a runner. That it’d never happen for me. That I was stuck being a “walker” for life.

Since then, I’ve went about life acting as though I was one of those girls who can eat whatever I want, whenever I want without lifting a finger and not gain weight. I’m NOT one of those girls, by the way, and more weight crept on. Over the year I got tired of only buying shirts if they were flowy enough to hide the “pooch” on my tummy. I was tired of having to use a hair elastic to secure all of my too small pants closed. But I kept saying to myself “there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re a Mommy now. Your son is now two years old and it’s too late to do anything about this weight and saggy tummy.” I was getting depressed.

Finally, at the beginning of this summer, I’d had enough. I had a “friend” at the time that was constantly making jabs at my weight – which I’ll be the first to admit is not grossly huge for my size – just 30 or so pounds overweight that I managed to camouflage pretty well. But this “friend”, easily a size 00, was judgmental. And she noticed my extra weight – and she made sure I knew that she noticed. Lots of jabs about food, eating, working out, and “fat” were tossed casually my way. I ignored it, played along, and got a lower and lower self-esteem with each comment. Finally, I’d had it. I started getting up early every morning to walk 3.5 miles. I started counting calories and finding healthier alternatives to my cooking methods. And I started losing the weight. One morning, about a month in, I met a girl, not much older than myself, running in the park. I watched wistfully as she ran away, sad that I “couldn’t” run…that it “wasn’t in the cards for me”.

Until it was. After spending much of the next month pining over being able to run, I decided to give it just ONE MORE shot. I discovered the C25K app and immediately downloaded it and headed out the door. I was winded with that very first workout, but it got easier. Week 2 about killed me, but it got easier. And progressively, it all got easier. Somewhere around week 3 my shin splints came back. Bad. I almost gave up. I almost gave myself that same lie that “running isn’t in the cards for me and I can’t do it”. Instead I took a week off, did a lot of research on how to prevent and treat shin splints, and then I got back up. I got to week 5 and again wanted to quit. It was getting hard. But I kept going.

I was so proud that something which just a few months ago was just a dream, is now reality! Even when people tried to put a damper on my excitement about it they couldn’t bring me down! I was camping with some family earlier this summer and lamented how I’d love to run a 5k….a WHOLE 5k…and an uncle suggested his town’s annual 5k run in October. That gave me 3 months to prepare. I could do it, I got excited! Until another uncle said “You can’t do it! You won’t be ready! Don’t waste your time and money getting signed up, you can’t do it!” That was all the push I needed. I sent in my paperwork the very next morning.

And guess what? I’m going to do it! A MONTH EARLY! That’s right! I’ve been training my tooshie off (literally!) and I’m ready to go NOW! So, I researched area 5k’s for the beginning of September and I’ve signed up to run my very first 5k an entire month ahead of schedule! A huge “TAKE THAT!!” to all my doubters out there!

Am I a good runner? Good enough for me. I’m slow, but I’m improving. I still have to stop occasionally to let my shins have a break or to take a quick breather. But I’m always back up and going within a few seconds. In the words of Kanye West “Work it, make it, do it, makes us harder, better, faster, stronger!....That that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger!”

So those of you who are scared to run…just do it! You’d be surprised at what your body is capable of if you just get up and go! You will feel so empowered by proving yourself and everyone around you wrong! Here I am, the girl who dreaded the 15 minute run in high school, the girl who laughed in the face of anyone suggesting I participate in sports - running. If I can do it – YOU can do it! Don’t hold back on your dreams just because you think they can’t happen. They can! It will take hard work and determination – but they can happen!

Jill // Fellow Fit Camper


  1. Great job Jill! I'm on the C25K journey as well and I'm SO glad to hear of your success! I can't wait to run a 5K and I know you're going to do great!! Please make sure to let us know how the 5K goes!

  2. Your story sounds SO MUCH like mine!! Great job and you will love the 5K!! Can't wait to hear about it.

  3. This made me tear up! Like Mama says "haters are motivators" even if it is the people closest to you! ..SO PROUD of you for sticking to it! Cant wait to here about your 1st 5K!!

  4. Jill, thanks so much for your post! Can you please come back for a follow up and let us know how your first 5k went. Also, I need to know what your double zero friend has to say now! ~ Jen J.

  5. Just what I needed today, thanks Jill! Congrats and good luck on your first 5K!

  6. Great story! But please tell me - did you lose that judgemental friend as well?

  7. WTG!! I'm right there with you. It's hard, not glamourous at all but so totally worth it!

  8. Is your "friend" still around or could she not handle being your "friend" anymore because you got more awesome? Good luck on your first 5k. Look forward to hearing how it went!

  9. Awesome!!! I'm doing my 1st 5k on Oct. 6 & I'm scared shitless!! Currently I can RUN for about 2 minutes before feeling like I'm gonna die! I have the distance down with no problem but I'm bustin my hump to get the RUNning part down! 2 more weeks.....


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