How running and exercise challenged me and made me a better person.

trail run Buffalo Creek
When I was a kid, I hated running! There was NO amount of money in the world that could entice me to run. It was such a strong hate that I didn’t apply to my dream job, as a Behavioral Profiler at the FBI, once I found out there was running involved as part of the training(that’s also a whole ‘nother story in itself)! Now, that’s not so much the case and I am a different me. I’ve grown to love working out and running. I never thought I’d be that person but people change.

*back story* A few years ago, probably around three now, I started lifting kettlebells. It all started after I lost my grandmother unexpectedly and was having a very hard time coping with the loss. Really, all of us were. I’d spend hours on group texts with my cousins sharing stories and remembering her because she was such a staple in our lives and now she wasn’t there. Every Sunday, she would call. She called my boys sometimes during the week just to hear their voices or if she had one of us “on her mind.” She’d send them their favorite things or randomly pick up a book at the store that she thought they’d like. Each book was written with a special message and signed. Her not being here anymore took the breath out of me (still does) to the point where I went to see someone about it. She suggested that I do yoga, Pilates or start strength training. I had done yoga and Pilates after I had my sons but I didn’t see any results with that so I decided to strength train.

We went out and bought kettle bells and I loved it for a while. I started seeing muscles, I loved lifting heavy and challenging myself to lift heavier. Eventually, I reached a plateau with weights plus, I was still not seeing some of the bloat that I battled disappear. My husband had been suggesting that I do cardio forever. “What! No, I hate cardio!” is what I said for the longest time. Remember, you couldn’t pay me to run! Still, I was frustrated that no matter how much I lifted and ate clean, I was having bloat issues. I’m short (4’11) and weigh about 105 last time I checked so any amount of bloat or distension made me look bad. I had to make a change and I had to consider running.

My oldest son loves to run and one day he challenged me to a race. I, thinking it was a sure win, said ok. Nope! The kid beat me! He didn’t beat me by a little, this kid smoked me and bad. I was out of shape, or was I ever IN shape? Being skinny doesn’t mean in shape! That loss was huge for me. I had to do something. So, when I dropped them off at school one day, my husband and I went to a local park to walk the dog. He said, “I bet you can run one lap!” I knew I probably couldn’t but I tried. I ran half, it hurt, I stopped. Later that evening, my oldest challenged me again. He wanted to see me run the whole lap. That weekend, I tried again because I didn’t want to let him down! I was proud of my self for running slowly but I ran. He was proud of me and loved the feeling of that accomplishment, not so much the post-run hurt though.

I started going to that park every other day and pushing myself to see how much I could do. I’m now up to running a mile or so in 12-13 minutes. I know that’s not great but it’s good for me: a person that would duck out of gym class to avoid running, a person that gave up all chances at her dream job because part of the training involved running. I’ve noticed, that the muscles that I’ve built with kettlebells are more prominent, my leg muscles are stronger and no more bloating! I still can’t eat a lot of dairy, can’t have any grains and I limit my sugar but I’ve found the missing piece of the puzzle. It feels great and I look forward to running now.

We run as a family some weekend mornings. I had to overcome a lot of fear and the bad habit of allowing myself to quit when things started to hurt or when it was no longer easy. I needed to show my kids that when you set a goal, you work your ass off to achieve it. I wanted to show them that although their mom hated running, she’s now doing it and actually loving it. I can’t stop, won’t stop.

I still miss my grandmother hurtfully every day but I know that she always pushed me to do things that put a smile on my face. She’d always tell me to do what makes ME happy because seeing me happy, made her happy. If she were here she’d be proud of me. She loved hearing about the hiking trips and trail walks take my boys to go do. These life lessons are important to me. As parents, we sometimes feel like we have no idea what the hell we’re doing or how to do it.  Then, there are those other times when you see that you’re teaching little minds and showing them how to make and achieve goals that erase the doubtful moments (for a second). That’s why I won’t stop. They are why I won’t stop setting goals and crushing them.

This blog post was a personal one for me. I usually keep very personal stuff to myself but I felt the need to share more of who I am and not just share photos. Everyone has a story to tell. I wanted you to hear a little of mine and I’d love to hear yours. I wrote this to inspire anyone who has a goal in mind to set it and don’t stop until you reach it. If there’s something that scares you to do, THAT is the very thing you MUST do. Set a goal and dominate that shit! Don’t let anything hold you back because when you hold yourself back, you could be keeping yourself from greatness. I did that for years and looking back, I have a lot of regrets. I don’t want that for them or anyone else. We have this one short life to live. Start living it and not just surviving it.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

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