I remember when I first started running as an adult. I lived in Gresham, Oregon (outside of Portland). I was 50lbs plus overweight and I knew running was the way to lose the weight. My BF and I met at the local high school track. I had a 6 month old at the time and no running stroller so we walked a lap together then she ran a lap, then I would run a lap, then she would run and so on and every time we switched we would take turns and push my baby in his stroller (regular stroller that you’d go to the mall with). We would complete a total of 8 laps 4 walking and 4 running. Then we worked up to running 2 laps in a row before switching to walking. This was the summer 2002. That August for my birthday I got a jogger and our runs were better even better, we could go together.
I still wasn’t losing the weight, my runs weren’t that consistent and I was making some awful food choices. That Christmas we came to Grand Prairie to visit my family, my son was 10 months at the time, and I was not getting thinner. I was embarrassed and depressed.
We came home in the New Year 2003 and I was bummed, it was very cold and rainy and I was still not happy with my weight or myself. I saw a Jenny Craig commercial and decided to call. What did I have to lose? They had a special and at the time I was watching two kids so I’d use the money to pay for my membership. March 2003 I started Jenny Craig and started losing the weight because I was changing my eating habits and learning about nutrition. My membership was a 6 week special during the middle of my 6 weeks I decided to upgrade my membership to the Platinum program which was JC for life and it included all these additional goodies, (books, meal planners, cook books, walking CD…etc). Well I had a 1yo and I took adv of my mornings before Erik went to work to get my walking in. So 6am, I put in my CD in my disc-man and started walking. The CD took you through a warm up, a workout , and a cool down. It was cheesy music, but hey I paid for this and I was going to use all of it. The route I took had what my BF and I called hills from hell.
A week into the walking, I started running a mile and then walking a mile home. Soon I was running 2 miles. EVERY SINGLE MORNING 6am. I met with my JC counselor once a week, she was impressed, and I liked the affirmations. Then my BF wanted to join me but since she had class in the morning, she could only run in the evenings. So I ran alone in the mornings, then met with her and my 1yo at the HS track and ran another 2 miles.
End of Spring early Summer 2003 my BF and I hit it hard, she came over in the morning at 6am and we ran the 2 miles of hills from hell. Then she came by in the afternoon and we did an hour of Pilates, EVERY SINGLE DAY. I was still on JC and I lost 25lbs. I was at my halfway to my goal where I was planning my own meals and going over my foods with my counselor.
By the end of June 2003 I was loving my new shape and energy. I woke up one morning and decided to take a pregnancy test. Well well well, I found out I was pregnant and I was thrilled. My JC counselor told me to take a break from the diet until after the baby and then I would be on a breast feeding diet plan. How cool is that? They think of everything! So even though I was not on JC, I still continued to eat right, and exercise. I walked every morning and continued Pilates (modified of course).
Justin was born February 2004 and I felt great throughout the entire pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Exercising was key to that. I went back on JC and in July 2004 I met my goal. Hooray 40lbs lost!
February 2005 we moved to Southern Oregon. It was still cold and the apartment we lived in had a little workout room. I made use of the treadmill and started running 20mins every morning. I went by time not by mileage. At first it was 2 miles in 20mins then it was 2.3 miles in 20 mins. Then I started running 25 minutes then 30 then 35. I got up to 40minutes on the treadmill 4.3 miles. I also did Pilates, Power 90, and ran outdoors. My original goal of 40lbs was now 52lbs. I looked right and tight! 25yo mother of two and in the best shape of my life.
After that goal was reached I decided to look into finishing school. So in Winter 2006 I enrolled to Southern Oregon University as a junior attempting to finish my bachelor’s degree I had started 10 years prior. Slowly school and my family took over my life and running took a sideline. I went from running everyday to every other day, to every few days, to once every few weeks. I graduated in 2008 and had gained 20lbs. EEEK!!! What happened!
I had goals of getting my master’s degree and in the Summer 2008 we moved to North Texas so I could attend the University of Dallas and be close to my family. However, I was burnt out from SOU, I had become obsessed with school, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA. See a pattern here? I made a promise to myself that in graduate school I was going to strive to make B’s and that’s it. In order to keep my scholarship I had to maintain a 3.5 so that is what I strived for nothing more and nothing less. I learned my lesson. Classes started in September 2008, I was excited and I love learning, but I was still 20lbs over weight!
Spring Break 2009 I went to the gym with a friend and our trainer friend for training sessions. We had two training sessions that week and that was my kick start, I joined the gym and started taking Spin Classes, Boot Camps, Yoga, Power Sculpt…etc. Sometimes two classes in a row, Spin class then Power sculpt or I’d run on the treadmill for 30minutes then go to a boot camp class. I ran my first 5k June 2009, another 5K July 2009, a 15k January 2010, 10k February 2010, my first half marathon May 2010. I finished school, I was in great shape again and I started my first real full time job. The hiatus from running started once again. I gained 10 lbs and began to freak out.
I started running again, ran the Dallas YMCA turkey trot 8 mile and was happy. Cow Town half 2011, Violence against Women 5K April 2011 and I PRed, I was on a roll. My attempt at my first marathon began that summer. My running partner, BF, and colleague started training for Cowtown 2012, a first full for both of us. We ran our long runs and got up to 14 miles before she said what I was thinking, “I don’t want to run the full marathon anymore.” OMG I’m so glad she said that! I was having personal things going on and I wasn’t into this full marathon training. We ran the half instead and it was a better experience than the halves I ran before, even though my time was the same.
Right after the Cow Town, I decided to do a round of Insanity. I started March 1st 2012 and finished it May 11th 2012. I ran off and on throughout the course of this 60 day bootcamp and was loving it.
I joined MRTT summer 2012 met some awesome running mamas. July 2012 I ran Too Hot To Handle 15K, Hot Mama Half, and participated in a track meet, not to mention a number of group runs where some of us met up at Trinity to run for fun! Summer 2012 Tiffany and I hit it off and it was through her encouragement that I decided to run my first full marathon. We have been training since October and are going to run 18 miles on Saturday. Not only that but on our 13 mile training run, we ran 13.1 and I got my PR on a training run!
I found a balance between my family life, my work life, my running life, and spiritual life. Before I would become all consumed with ONE thing and succeed on meeting the goal but get burnt out. I also realize that once I completed something I’d go looking for something bigger, harder, more challenging, but would be so burnt out from the stuff I did before that I’d either fail and feel guilty, or work hard and neglect yet another area of my life. There was guilt either way and that guilt would drive me to work harder and harder and harder because NOTHING was good enough. Running has balanced me in a way that nothing else has. It is spiritual for me, it’s my alone time, or time spent with my girlfriends.
One thought on “my running journey”
You know what I find refreshing about this entry? It’s honest and relatable.
I’ve never been much of a runner, and even in my best shape, it’s just never been my thing. When I read (or know about) people like you, who can run like that, I feel a bit envious and inadequate. But the other side of that feeling is that I have massive respect that you can do that. Running is something everybody can do, but it’s also a discipline and not something easy.
I like that you admitted in here what it was that propelled you to running (concern originally about your weight). I like that you showed how it’s been many years of sticking with your commitment, and that you didn’t arrive at a goal or losing weight overnight. It has been a gradual process that has been a source of transformation, grounding, and building true self-esteem. I mean, self esteem is not being able to fit into tight jeans — it’s built from the inside out. Experts recommend a well-rounded fitness program where you physically build endurance, flexibility, and strength, but there are complementary mental practices — even spiritual ones — that are exercised along the way.
Your original intent of losing weight was replaced, over time, by how running has made you “feel.” We live in a culture that is sooo focused on “weight” and “appearance.” There are lots of infomercials about programs, equipment, diet food, and supplements. It’s a billion-dollar industry in America. A lot of well-meaning people start out on a fitness or nutrition program with the very legitimate goal to lose weight and improve their health, but I see a lot of people throwing in the towel along the way or they get to their goal, if they stuck through it, but they didn’t pay attention the journey and to the real lesson: it’s about the transformation possible with personal growth, and it’s about mental changes and challenges as much as it might originally spring from the desire to produce a result, a number on a scale or a clothing tag, or what you see in the mirror. You cannot see discipline and commitment in a mirror. You cannot see self love in a mirror. You cannot see all the miles run, the soreness of muscles, the bad weather, the temptations, the excuses to not meet a commitment.
It is very evident that you stick with this not entirely to look good, but it’s been so much a part of shaping you feel and how you’ve found something that’s changed how you live your life, that centers you and grounds you. Bravo, Idalie!!!! You are an inspiration!