As a follow-up to yesterday’s Don’t Count Yourself Out post, I asked my friend Angela to write up a little something about her journey. Angela is a good friend of mine who I have known for years. When we first met, I believe it is safe to say that she was NOT a runner. But alas, she finished the 13.1 Miami Beach race on Sunday right there along side 3200 other RUNNERS!
Angela’s Journey (unedited)
Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Author Unknown
Until 3.5 years ago, I had no idea how to re-write my ending. I was constantly unhappy with the face and body that looked at me from the mirror. I was in a constant state of wanting to change, but lacking the power, dedication and knowledge to do so. But when my daughter was born, a switch in me flipped. It occurred to me that if I didn’t want her to grow up with the same body image issues I have had for my entire life, I had to make a conscious effort to change the path of my life. Otherwise, she would most likely end up as I did—a teenager ashamed of her morbidly obese mom and incredibly lacking self-confidence.
So a few weeks after Summer’s birth in September 2008, I began the new chapter of my life. I was 220 lbs. I enrolled in a boot camp at our local YMCA. By showing up and giving my all, I was able to win a six month membership that helped keep me on the right track.
My neighbor was a runner. My husband was a runner. For so long I had sat around and said “I could NEVER do that. I’m not built for it.” But I finally made the decision to give it a shot. I was tired of staying behind and of saying I couldn’t. So one day I started running. I made it less than half a mile and thought I was going to die. But I didn’t. Every day I went a little farther. And farther. Until one day I made it all the way around the 3 mile loop in our neighborhood.
In February 2009, I ran my first ever race, a local 5K. It was so great to have something active to do with hubby.
But I still had a very love/hate relationship with running. I hated it while I was doing it, and I hated the thought of doing it, but I was always proud of myself afterward. It wasn’t until Christmas 2009, when we took a trip to Missouri and got basically snowed in, that my attitude shifted. As I ran on a treadmill at the Y there, after being holed up with my two crazy kids for several days, I realized I would never again look at running the same way again. When we got back home to South Florida, it was no longer something I just did. It became something that defined me.
Lucky for me TooTallFritz and I had become friends in my former life. I picked her brain a lot. She wrote in her last post that sometimes you are lucky enough to have a friend who will support you and give you motivation, and she was that friend for me. I always knew if I was hung up or stuck, I could drop her a line.
I don’t race much. My race history can be summed up as a couple of 5Ks and a sprint distance triathlon. I don’t run to train for things. I run to stay sane, to be strong, and to set a good example for my kids. I would race more if we were not on such a tight budget. Every single year, I plan to do a few races, but I usually end up doing only one. I’d been thinking about doing a half marathon for a while, but was having a hard time justifying the expense. I finally took the leap last year and signed up for the Miami Beach 13.1 in March 2012. You have to understand. Up to 3.5 years ago, this fell under the category of IMPOSSIBLE. UNIMAGINABLE. UNATTAINABLE.
Now, nothing is impossible. The whole thing was made absolutely perfect by the fact that Amanda decided to make a destination race of it and came to see me for this thing. I always tell people that if I can run, they can run. Nothing is impossible. The only limits that apply are the limits that you impose on yourself. Sometimes I have a hard time coming to terms that I will never be the fastest—in fact, everyone I know is significantly faster than me. But no one has my story, and I have to remind myself of that often. I finished my first half in 2:49:52. It was made extra awesome by all of the friends waiting for me at the finish. By Amanda coming back to run those last few miles with me.
Angela – March 9, 2012
I think we can all agree that this is an amazing journey. It’s amazing because she wanted to make the change and she did it. Nowhere will you see her say that it was easy. We all know it w
as not but she did it because she wanted it. Because she could. For herself. For her children.
Make the Choice, Amanda – TooTallFritz