When I was asked to choose one word that would best describe me, it wasn’t easy. That said, throughout this crazy journey I’ve been on for the last nine years, the word that would come to mind is, determination. I’m always determined to reach my goal.
It all began in late 2008, when I decided to change my life. Seeing a candid photo of myself and realizing how unhealthy and overweight I had become, I knew things had to change. That was my moment, the turning point in my life where I became determined to get healthy and fit.
By August of 2009, I had lost 75lbs through calorie-counting and working out. During the holidays of that year, I went vegetarian, then vegan. Originally, I went veg for my health, thinking it would help me lose the last 5lbs I wanted to drop. It worked, I lost a total of 80lbs by the end of 2009, and would keep that off for the next five years without much difficulty.
I didn’t discover running until after my big weight loss. In fact, I NEVER thought I would be a runner. I was one of those people who couldn’t understand why anyone would want to run for fun. Just wasn’t something I could see myself doing. But, once
I got healthy and fit, my mindset was transformed. Things like running didn’t seem to be a crazy idea anymore.
Initially, I began with the Couch 2 5k program. I made it through a few weeks of the program, and then I got injured. Somehow, I herniated a disc in my lower back. Not only was I going through a painful injury, but my doctor told me that I would likely not run again. This was devastating news, and I found myself incredibly upset. Running was something that while difficult, I was learning to kind of like doing.
Fast-forward a bit to 2011. That was the year that I became a half marathoner. I didn’t let not being able to run stop me. My determination was strong, and I trained to walk the 2011 Space Coast Half Marathon. Crossing the finish line of that race, I felt amazing. I knew that I wasn’t ready to not be a runner, I wanted to do more races and heck, I wanted to run!
A friend introduced me to Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method after I went to see a specialist about my back. He told me that he didn’t believe running would make me any worse off, so go for it. This news and the Galloway run-walk method ignited a new fire within me. Thus my running life adventure truly began!
I ran my first half marathon in March 2012 at the Orange Blossom Half Marathon. It was at the time, the hardest thing I had done fitness-wise. I recall the day being incredibly windy and cold and just how much I wanted to stop and quit. But, my stubbornness and determination to not quit helped me to cross the finish line of that race. All the difficulty of that race morning, and I finished with a huge smile on my face. And yes, wanting to do more.
In June 2012, I joined Orlando Galloway, and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have run 5 marathons (about to be 6 with the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon), 28 half marathons, and numerous 10k and 5k races. Not to mention that I’ve made some of the best friends through Galloway and running. I can’t imagine my life without them in it at this point.
It’s because of my determination that I’ve done so many amazing things in the last few years. I have learned how incredibly strong both mentally and physically I am because I’ve been too determined to give up. Running has reinforced that, and I believe it empowers us to be all that we can be.
Believe in yourself, and how much you are capable of. That is the one thing I try to do with my running group as a pace group leader. I really believe that if you want something bad enough, if you push through the hard parts, you can and will reach your goal. It’s all about determination.