Hi Readers!! I’m back home in Ohio but am exhausted! So, I have one last special treat for you today: A blog post from my very best friend Caity. She actually recently visited and we had a great time!
She recently ran her first 5k and I am uber proud of her! Caity’s guest post talks more about her story and what lead her to start running.
Take it away Caity!!
If you would have told me a year ago that I was going to run a 5K I would have laughed out loud and responded, “I don’t run anywhere!” Several months ago I stepped on a scale and realized I had reached my highest weight ever. This is my road to 5K…
A little background on me. I am 25 years old and can’t remember a time in my life in which I was not overweight. I have tried just about every type of exercise or group fitness routine in combination with diet. I am really good at dieting and exercising for short periods of time, however I have commitment issues. My freshman and sophomore year of college I remember I was a size 12, down from a size 14 that I was during high school. Reflecting back I am surprised I didn’t gain the “freshman 15” but at WVU there were hills and stairs everywhere! The business school had the dreaded 92 stairs that was a main artery for getting from building to building. One thing I did gain were “calves of steel.”
After graduation I got an amazing job where I traveled from city to city and was on the road 24/7. Problem #1 I ate out every day. Problem #2 limited times for exercise and gym access. This is where I gained back everything…straight to a size 18. I was happy, loved what I was doing and was eating whatever I wanted. Then in early October I found out I was losing my job. The end of October left me back at home now depressed and devastated.
Being at home at the beginning of the holiday season was even worse for my eating habits. I had a routine in which I would get up, eat breakfast, snack while watching Regis and Kelly, then watch Ellen, eat lunch, watch the Young and the Restless, get showered run errands, snack before dinner, and then eat dinner. Usually dinner was followed by dessert of ice cream or something sweet. After four months of this routine, I started a new job. Having to buy all new dress pants should have been the first sign, but I was just excited to have new clothes for my new job. I continued my eating out habits when taking other employees from out of town to dinner to get to know them and show them around. I was regularly eating out for lunch and usually dinner. During the summer I didn’t gain but maintained as I am usually more active in the summer. I continued this routine for a year of ups and downs with five pound weight loses here and there.
I can’t quite pin point exactly when it happened, but my mental focus changed sometime over the winter. Several family members had made very hurtful comments about my weight. I purchased a pair of black pants in a size 20 for a work event. Shortly afterwards I went out and got the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video and started working out in the basement. Additionally, I would use the elliptical for 30 minutes while watching TV. My best friend Katie also invited me to participate in fitblog and slowly my focus began to change. I got major encouragement from the Biggest Loser. I started watching the show for the first time and I realized that I weighed as much as some of their contestants which shocked and thus motivated me to become healthier and to lose weight. I continued to work out at home and began researching the local gyms and what they had to offer. After a few months, I knew my mental game had seriously changed because I got up in the morning and planned the time and the exercise I wanted to do that day.
In April, I set a new goal I wanted to be a “runner.” I joined a gym to train on the treadmill and on the road. I purchased a pair of top of the line running shoes. Then I decided I wanted to train for a race, this inspiration came from Katie after seeing all the fun she was having with her races! I found the Hollidaysburg YMCA 5K race scheduled for the 4th of July. By now I was committed, the date was set, my registration paid for and I had 8 weeks to train for something I had never done before. I started slowly, and had already been walking the track with my Mom. I would then alternate walking and running a lap. Slowly but surely I increased my running distance. I set my goal to just complete this race. I didn’t care how long it took me or if I came in last place. I just wanted to complete it.
The time went by so quickly, mid training I went to visit Katie in Ohio. We ran in her neighborhood and she pushed me and gave me some great tips for a first time runner. I was also inspired by her Nike+ bracelet. It was very helpful in tracking time, distance and pace. I worked on breathing on that run and absorbed everything I learned to continue my last couple weeks of training at home.
Before I knew it July 4th was here. I was nervous, excited, and anxious could I actually do this? I had heard last year there were over 800 participants. When I picked up my race packet I read through everything…three times. I was prepared, had a cute running outfit and my own cheering squad. My Dad and my best friend Kimberly came along and were so supportive and encouraging. There were so many serious runners everywhere! I was ready and when the gun went off the whole pack of 800 people started… I started too.
I was doing it! I was actually running in a race! Now I can’t say that I ran the whole way, in fact it was more of “wogging” aka walk/jogging. The pack quickly got ahead of me and I was left on my own. The policemen were very encouraging as there were limited spectators along the course. The firemen had set up two water stations where they sprayed the runners as they ran past that was definitely refreshing. I kept thinking just like the little engine that could, “I think I can, I think I can.” When I came around the final corner there was a small child running with her parents. I thought, “I can’t let this little kid beat me.” I also saw the crowd at the finish line that gave me the final push to run the last .25 mile. As I crossed the finish line I heard someone say “Go Caity Go!” The MC announced “Let’s cheer in #399!” I ran faster and straight through the finish line! I DID IT! I was so excited and felt like I was going to pass out and die all at the same time. I kept walking, didn’t want to collapse. Then I saw Kimberly and my Dad they were there with cameras and video cameras and cheers and hugs and support. I’m so glad they were there!
My official race time was 42:21. My pace was 13:40. This was the best time I had recorded through all of my training. Oh, and I didn’t finish in last place for the race or my age category! I told myself this race was a race against me, not others. Now at least I have a recorded baseline to continue training to beat! I lost weight while training but I boycotted the scale. I feel better and my pants are a smaller size but I’m not quantifying it yet. The numbers screw with my head and I’ve had success without knowing what the scale says that I’m continuing for a while without knowing.
This is the first time in my whole life I have had a chance to seriously focus on my health, my diet and my exercise. The accomplishment of the race has inspired me to continue to focus on eating healthy and exercising. If there is anyone out there that reads this and realizes that “fat girls can run” then I have met another goal of inspiring someone to get focused, get serious and change their lifestyle to a healthier lifestyle however they define it.
I’m proud to call myself a runner now and plan to run again in October in another race. I want to thank my best friend Katie for an opportunity to document all this and put it out there in the blog world. Katie is always there to bounce ideas off of and provide support, thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve made major accomplishments and still have a long road ahead of me. I have 75 more pounds to lose. So today I continue my journey after an incredible Independence Day 5K Race.
I am so so proud of you Caity! I wish I could have been there to see you in action — I’m confident we’ll be running a race together soon though! You are such a strong person and I know you can accomplish anything you set your mind too. Congratulations!
What lead you to start running??