This is me finishing my first ever 10k race on Ward Parkway in Kansas City, last Thanksgiving. (Photo courtesy of my Beloved)
The most visible change since deciding to turn my life around has been my physical appearance. At the time of my rebirth, I weighed more than 260 pounds and was being threatened with special tests at my annual physical if I didn't get my weight under control.
I started walking and riding my bicycle in spring 2015, but it wasn't very effective. The walking just wasn't taking it off, and I spent more time trying to repair my bicycle than I did riding it. I've always admired runners but never imagined I could be one. But I knew I had to get serious about my fitness.
So I started researching the best way to learn to run. And I found a whole category of apps for your smartphone called “Couch to 5k” or C25k. You start the app and the little voice tells you when to run and when to take a break. As the days progress it gradually increases the amount of time you're running versus walking until you get to the point you can run an entire 5k.
I got serious that summer, downloaded one of the apps and began the eight-week training plan. The first day the running portion was 60 seconds and I could barely do it. But I kept at it.
Now I had never thought about actually entering any races, but about midway through I thought it might be nice to find a race as a sort of graduation from the program. I got online and found the Nevada Crimson Sound was hosting the “Band on the Run 5k” that September so I registered.
I finished the training program and was really proud of my accomplishments. I could run for an entire five kilometers without stopping! I was slow, but I could do it!
Race day came and I ran my first ever 5k race. I loved it! It was so fun!
I was hooked.
The YMCA had a Halloween 5k. Then Head Start held their “Freezin' for a Reason” race around Christmastime, and I ran in that one too. They had a costume contest in addition. My Beloved sewed me up a simple reindeer costume, and I bought antlers from Wal-Mart. I made a collar with jingle bells and wrote the name “Dasher” on it (get it?).
Then a friend on Facebook invited me to join her online “Race a Month” challenge and I jumped at it. I ran a race every month of 2016.
One of my New Year's goals that year was to run a 10k race. I found the Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day race was offering a 10k option, so I signed up to run it. That was my first “Big City” race, and the atmosphere was even more intoxicating.
I decided then I would run my first ever half-marathon in 2017. I registered for the Garmin Marathon the afternoon after my 10k. I began a 12-week training plan for that race on January 1st. And that race is coming up this Saturday, April 22!
It's been one heck of a long haul to get here, we had some really cold days this past winter! But here I am. I've gone from weighing 260-plus to 173. From 46-inch pants to 32s. From barely being able to run for 60 seconds to about to race my first 13.1 miles!
Wish me luck!