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#REALwomenmove: From the Couch to the Peaks

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I hated any kind of fitness. I wasn’t a healthy eater (actually I STILL struggle with this one!). I know it sounds clicheŽ, but I was “that” person – the one who was always picked last in gym class. I tried a few different sports growing up – gymnastics, swimming, dance, volleyball. But I just never stuck with anything long enough to excel at it. As a result I was always embarrassed of my athletic abilities and eventually this resulted in me labeling myself as “not athletic.”

 

That terrible term “not athletic” was my excuse for everything and anything and eventually it caught up to me in college. My metabolism slowed and that combined with my lack of movement resulted in 30 lbs gained during my sophomore year. Throughout college I tried a few times to lose some of the weight but just wasn’t motivated.

 

It wasn’t until post-college, when I was in countdown to my wedding that I finally decided to take control and get serious about my health. I joined a gym and although I didn’t love going, I kept it up and, that, combined with consistently eating healthier resulted in losing those 30 lbs I gained. While I was thrilled that I lost the initial weight, I knew that in order to keep it off, I needed to find a sport that I enjoyed. That was the only way to turn it into a lifestyle. So during the summer of 2011, my husband and I started hiking some of Colorado’s amazing mountains, and much to my surprise, I actually did love it. There was an initial transition stage where I wasn’t sure it was worth it (the pain, the sweat, the cold, getting up early), but in the end, every hike I did that summer changed me. I began to see the world through a different light. There was something so rewarding about exploring these beautiful places on my own two feet – places that so many people will probably never set foot. I was hooked.

 

Unfortunately, hiking is generally a “seasonal” sport in Colorado and that next winter I started to get back into my old ways of being a couch potato. In an effort to not let that happen I reluctantly started going to the gym again. But this time I tried something new: running on the treadmill. It wasn’t much at first – just short intervals of running and walking since I had never run consistently before. After a month or so those intervals turned into full miles which then progressed into multiple miles. Before I knew it, I had run 3 miles in a row on the treadmill!

 

So what did I do next? Something that would change my life more than I could have ever predicted: I signed up for a real life, outside, with other people, 5K. My husband had done a few in the past, so he joined me for it and helped me finish my first 5K in 34:42. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty, but I did it. My very first race! There was just something so rewarding about crossing the finish line that I was officially hooked. Not only that, but I realized how much fun running outdoors could be; and from there on out, I started running outside more and more frequently. Then one morning I decided to explore a new route and without even realizing it, I ran 5 miles! Me? 5 miles! That day I actually started looking into half marathon’s (yep – skipped the 10K) and in March 2013 I ran my first half marathon, Canyonlands Half Marathon, in beautiful Moab, Utah.

 

Since that half marathon less than 3 years ago, I have now run multiple full, half, and even a few ultra marathon’s including a 50 miler. I’ve also been able to combine my initial love for hiking by getting into trail & mountain running. In the summer of 2014 I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon – a 26.2 mile trek with over 7800 feet of elevation gain. Me – someone who used to be a complete couch potato – ran the PIKES PEAK MARATHON. I honestly love running because it has taught me that you really are capable of anything you set your mind to. I used to think there were “athletic” people and “non-athletic” people. “Athletic” people were the ones who could run marathons and mountain races. But now I know that anyone can do it – and that is why I LOVE the #REALWomenMove movement, because running has taught me that ordinary people can do extraordinary things! Yes it can be hard and challenging, and you might have to sweat a little, but that is also what makes it so incredibly worth it!