Comparison pic July 4 2012 and July 4 2013
It all started in 2010 when I got laid off. My job was extremely stressful and I put in very long days which lead to unhealthy habits and massive weight gain. I was around 180 pounds when I started that job and around 260 when I left 3 years later. While being laid off I decided to join a gym. I spent a couple hours a day walking on the treadmill and gradually added some short runs interspersed in there. My goal was to run a 1/2 marathon and signed up for one in August. I started loving running so much that I signed up for an earlier one and ran my first 1/2 marathon (Red, White and Boom) on July 4, 2010 in 2:36. By the end of the summer I had lost over 60 pounds.
In the meantime, I found a job and started nursing school. Working full-time and going to school full-time made it incredibly difficult for me to continue working out and I fell back into a sedentary lifestyle and gained all my weight back. I was very stressed out being in school and was very unhappy with my life. In 2012, I made a choice that I needed to take better care of myself if I was going to take care of patients so I started running again, but did so over my lunch break at work since this was the only free time I had.
My bucket list always included a marathon but it seemed so out of reach for me. This time around I decided that I needed to set my sights on one and signed up for Grandma's marathon in Duluth MN. I continued running, going to school and working. I found that adding the running to my life reduced my stress so significantly that school was no longer something I loathed going to and actually found I was learning more and more easily. I was happier in life, wasn't as tired all the time, was getting sick less often and was losing the weight that had been holding me back.
Finishing strong in 2013
On June 22nd, 2013, I ran my first full marathon. I ran it in 5 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds. A time I will never forget. I won't lie, it hurt like hell but it's not a bucket list item for me anymore, it's a personal goal for me to improve upon. I've already signed up for 2 more full-marathons because I know I can only improve from here.
I've continued going to the Red, White and Boom 1/2 marathon every year. It was my first 1/2 marathon and it was their inaugural 1/2 marathon so it's something special to me. Last year it was reduced to a 5-miler because of extreme heat and humidity so I don't have a time comparison but I completed it this year with a PR of 2:20.
Running for me is something that has kept me whole and sane. I didn't have any support when I first decided to run a marathon but when the people around me saw what a positive change it was having on me, they rallied around me. now I have people asking me how to start running, and I help them understand how to continue running.
A random collection from the world of RunJunkEes