Exactly five years ago on a snowy trip to Portland, Maine, I got honest with myself about the state of my health and fitness and began an amazing life-changing adventure that encompassed weight loss, taking up running, and so much more.
Since then, I’ve logged more than 3500 miles of running. I’ve run morning, noon and night. Through snow and heat. On vacation and during my hardest months at work. I’ve run 6 miles down Oregon’s Mt. Hood in a raging thunderstorm at 4:30 am, and I’ve run on a deserted beach in Costa Rica at dawn. I’ve run in at least 17 states from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. I’ve had fabulous runs, crappy runs, and lots of just plain average runs. I’ve had to struggle to get out some days, but have never regretted doing so.
Through it all I’ve met friends from all across the country who share this passion for running, traveling and adventure-seeking. I’ve run fifty races including dozens of 5ks and 10ks, 12 half marathons, one marathon, and the Hood to Coast Relay. And I’m working my way toward a goal of running a half marathon in each of the 50 states.
It’s been a grand adventure. As Bart Yasso says “never limit where running can take you” – and for me, that’s been both a physical and a mental thing. Running has taken me to new destinations, but also to a new place mentally.
I’ve gained confidence that I can do anything that I put my mind to doing. I’ve learned that even after a lifetime of couchdom, I can get fit, and stay fit for the long haul. I’ve struggled to get faster and also learned to be satisfied with what I can do. I’ve inspired friends to take up running and celebrated their accomplishments (frequently over post-race pancakes!), become a certified running coach, and started my own coaching business, Run To Your Life.
Almost five years ago I sweated and struggled through my first minutes of the Couch to 5K program. I was miserable and it was hard, but I had decided that I needed to start to exercise regularly if I was going to lose weight and keep it off. That first mile was – without a doubt – the hardest mile I’ve ever done. And I only wish I had started sooner.
For anyone contemplating taking up running in the New Year, don’t even give it a second thought – and as Bart says: never limit where running can take you!