What is your story and why did you decide to start running?
This is me back before I started taking care of my body. I didn't realize just how far I had allowed myself to go downhill. I have struggled with my weight since my early teen years, but this was at the peak of my weight. I would see people running on the side of the road, and I would wish that I could be one of them. I just didn't know how to start... I would try to run, but after 30 seconds I would be so winded that I would have to stop. I was not really happy with where I was, but I didn't change it either. However, during one season of the Biggest Loser in 2009, my oldest sister and I, and a few friends, decided to have our own Biggest Loser challenge and the person who had the highest percentage of weight loss would win the money at the end of the 10 weeks. That's when I lost about 60 pounds! But once the challenge was over I gained about 30 back. I didn't know what I was going to do to motivate myself to lose weight again.
You're probably wondering where the running comes in, January 2012 my friend, Maggie, asked me to run a 5k that would take place March 17, 2012. I decided, why not? I've always wanted to be a runner, and I need something to motivate me to do it, so I signed up, bought a pair of running shoes, and started training. I didn't have any idea what to do really, I would just go out, run as far as I could, then walk some, then run, then walk... Over the next few weeks my running built up, but not as quickly as I would have liked. But I kept going because I could see a change in my body. I was also going to another friend's house for personal training 2 days a week. I have never regretted the decision to sign up for my first 5k, the only thing I regret is that it took me so long to become a runner!
How has running changed your life? Running has given me a new confidence in myself. I know I am not the fastest runner, I have days, weeks, months when I just don't want to lace up the shoes and hit the pavement... but my body hates me for it and craves it... I know that sounds weird, but it really does! I love the feeling of pushing myself, and setting goals and meeting them.
What obstacles have you faced? I moved to Viet Nam for 8 weeks (April 17-June 12)... I continued to run, but there were no hills and Ho Chi Minh City is at sea level, so when I got back to SC I have noticed that I am really having to work harder to keep up the pace, and to be able to run hills. I know that it will come back to me with training, but it has caused me to miss PRs in races since I've been back.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting on their running journey? NEVER GIVE UP! I know that sounds cliche and all, but it's true. I went a month without running, but during that month I kept telling myself to get back out there... I did, eventually! Running may seem like something you may never be able to do, but believe me, if I can do it, you can too!
Practical advice: Get a good pair of running shoes!!! No joke! It's the most important part of your running wardrobe! Bad shoes can cause foot problems, knee problems, and/or make you not want to run. Go to a running store and let the people there fit you for a running shoe. Good running shoes aren't cheap, but they are worth it!!!
What are some of your goals?
Run a sub 40 5k.
Run a 5k without any walking breaks.
Run 13 races. (I have done 6 already!)
Run a Marathon before 27/7/2015 (to celebrate turning 30, but before I turn 31).