This is a reader-submitted article for the Strength Running All-Star feature that highlights motivational stories of running transformation. If you’d like to submit your own story, email it to me at email@example.com.
I want you to close your eyes and use your brain for a moment. Think of a girl who weighs about 230 pounds. She has a few kids, has a good size front butt, not too bad legs, a slight double chin, regular size ankles. Can you see her in your minds? She is about 5″6′. Does that help?
Okay now that you have this big girl in your mind, dress her in athletic wear down to the shoes. How does she look? A little out of place maybe, but dress her anyway. She might need two sport bras to help wield the beasts. There you go.
So, now you have your chubby girl in running clothes, ready to go. What are you going to do with her? No, don’t give her a doughnut, she obviously doesn’t need it. I have an idea. Let’s drive her to Bryce Canyon, Utah and have her run 13.1 miles. NO, you say?
Oh yes, I say. She can do it. She has been running since May and she can do it. Perhaps she will place 356th overall out of about 1000 people, 92th in her age group with a finishing time of 2:35:08.8. Crazy idea, I know, but if this big girl can do it, so can you!
I wrote this shortly after completing my first half marathon. I was so excited and proud and sore. The only other race I had completed was a 5k. I think it took me about 36 minutes to run. I thought I would die.
This last weekend I went on an overnight trip with a couple of mommy friends of mine. Everyone needed a break from the regular grind of the life of a mother. While the other mothers slept peacefully in their beds, I got up and went for a run. It was a beautiful morning and I passed several runners on my way.
There are some key differences between this morning and the morning that I ran my first half 3 years ago. This morning I felt like I belonged. I didn’t feel out of place. I now weigh 170 pounds and ran my 12 miles in 1 hour 56 minutes. I don’t feel like I am pretending to be something I am not. I am in my zone. I am an athlete.
The process of getting where I am has been arduous at times. But the refiner’s fire has helped me deal with other stresses in my life. I had another baby in the process, quit running, quite working out, didn’t quit eating. I started all over last February. I started running for mere seconds at a time. I literally started from square one.
This last year I have been more focused and determined to be the person that I want to be. I hired running coach Jason Fitzgerald and he has changed my life. Before Fitz I worried about every step I made. My legs hurt non-stop. I would want to cry just walking around the grocery store. My feet hurt.
I went to a podiatrist who made orthotics to help with my high arches. I put them in every shoe I wore. I had to keep shoes by my bed for first thing in the morning. If I went without my orthotics, I paid for it.
After I started training with Fitz, he had me do some easy exercises to improve the muscles in my legs and feet. Now, I am for the most part pain-free. I don’t wear my orthotics at all. I experience the aches that come with increased stress on my body. But it is so good to get up and run 5 miles and think to myself, “that was easy.”
The first part of this article originally appeared here: http://lydeem.blogspot.com/2008/07/believe-it_20.html. It has been slightly modified from its previous version.
I want to thank Lydia for sharing this inspirational post. She’s been incredibly awesome to work with and her improvement speaks for itself: after running 2:35 in the half-marathon, she has recently run 2:00:08! That’s nearly three minutes per minute faster!
Show some love in the comments and help spread the word about this up-lifting tranformation. It was very brave of her to share her story. You can also follow her on Twitter at @LydiaHintze.