My folks will vouch for the fact that I am the one of the most feminine tomboys you will likely come across. In elementary school, I insisted on wearing dresses and tights, but would come home with scraped knees bleeding through my ripped stockings, all from challenging the boys to races on the playground. I won. Obviously.
Fast forward to middle school, I became severely asthmatic. Not just a little wheezy here and there, but think full-on retainer-voiced ASCHMA. I was on so many inhalers and pills, and I had to get 4 allergy shots a week. It was exhausting rolling my plastic bubble John-Travolta-style back and forth to school, but I would just chant “Grueling pace, meager rations!” on the long trek. Okay, so I lied about the bubble part but everything else was true. And don’t even act like that Oregon Trail reference didn’t take you back to the 90’s for a glorious-neon-Lisa-Frank moment. But I digress.
It now seemed as I entered high school that cross-country was out of the cards for me. I could run my heart out for a brief spurt and spend the rest of the night wheezing with satisfaction that I was still at least a sprinter… until I kept training on shin splints and faced some injury. The fielders scooped me up and claimed me as their own. And that’s the story of how I accidentally became the tiniest female shot put and discus thrower west of the Mississippi.
I gave up on running. I was so mad that my body was preventing me from doing something I loved that it just became easier to pretend I hated the sport.
And then I grew up. (Well, physically anyway; the jury’s still out on the rest) and time has a way of healing many wounds, and consequently asthma. High-five! I definitely am still asthmatic. I definitely will never run without an inhaler again, but it’s infinitely more manageable and dagnabbit I have the confidence to rock the heck out of that Albuterol-shaped lump that my stretchy Spi-belt is hugging to my waist during races.
I’m just a real person like everyone else with real physical limitations who gets a rush out of pushing them. I’m someone who believes that with correct training, putting the best fuel into our systems, and a willingness to learn, we can go farther than we ever believed our bodies could take us.
My Aha Moment was not just one moment, but many moments where I realize that continuing to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle is a passion of mine.
I got involved in fitness and health after my first son was born (15 years ago) because I knew I wanted to lead an example by taking care of myself and my family. Along the way I discovered many activities I enjoyed, and achieved many accomplishments such as earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, competing in a women’s fitness competition, becoming an ultramarathon trail runner and Boston Marathon Qualifier, completing a triathlon, and practicing yoga. Also along the way I encountered many hurdles, setbacks, and obstacles as life seems to hand out. I got knocked down a few times throughout my journey, but I always knew I could return to health and fitness no matter what my setback was.
There is a Japanese proverb that is read: Fall Down Seven, Get Up Eight. This saying has become my personal mantra for my health and fitness journey. To always keep going, to always stay committed!
Because of my journey where I had to find commitment and compassion for myself, I found that I have a passion for sharing this with others, inspiring them to find their health and fitness no matter where there are at, no matter what obstacles or setbacks they have had. I want to inspire others to keep getting back up and moving forward!
We all have a moment that defines our fitness journey. Here’s a little story about mine.
I was always very active growing up and through early adulthood and continued to stay active after the births of my children. In early 2009, I needed a little bit more. I had twins in 2008 and was looking for a way to drop the few extra pounds I was carrying, and mostly, I needed something to take my mind off of my crumbling marriage. A friend of mine at work started running, and I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it!” I put on my old shoes and hit the pavement, making barely three-quarters of a mile before I had to walk. I was slightly embarrassed by this, but I continued out each day. Running gave me a chance to be one with my thoughts and get away from all of the stress in my house. It was my “me time,” something I didn’t have for so long.
I started to see progress. I was able to run farther, faster, and loved it! Life changed – I divorced, moved into my own house, and struggled with life as a single parent – but running remained constant. It has been my go-to stress reliever.
So, how far have I come? I am very pleased to say that I have completed 4 marathons, starting with my first in 2011; 5 half marathons; and numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, and 10 milers. And I love racing and running more than ever!
Good luck, everyone, and I look forward to hearing about your aha moments!