Fast forward to November 2012. I am 45 pounds lighter and as a result, in possession of a new wardrobe, including jeans in a size 8. I am stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. I am in better health, and my body is in better shape than it was in my twenties. Friends and family have asked how I did it. I eliminated the word "can't" from my vocabulary and decided to RUN, that's all. I made a conscious decision that no matter how slow I went, how awkward I looked, how tough it was, I was going to hang in there. At first I ran barely a minute, and then had to revert to walking for 10 or 15. Today, I am running at a speed of 4.5 to 5 with a 1.0 incline on the treadmill. I run for 45-55 minutes straight, usually ending up a little over four miles in an hour, with 15 minutes of walking included in that hour, followed by another half to one hour of resistance training and a commitment to eating healthy and clean. Mondays are an exception - I go in for a 55 minute spinning class instead. But five out of the six other days of the week I am running, without fail.
Others have presumed I lost the weight "for" someone. It wouldn't have happened until and unless I was ready to lose the weight for myself. The most amazing thing that happened in the process was the realization that I am a runner. Running saved me. Running made me realize that I AM the athlete I always wanted to be. Running forces me to let go of things over which I have no control, and to seize the reins of that which I do. Running inspires me to work for the best body I could possibly ever have. Running gives me an uninterrupted hour every day to focus on God, and to work on developing my inner faith. Running challenges me to push myself to achieve what I previously thought impossible. Running is the voice of the coach screaming at me to keep going when my heart threatens to leap out of my chest, sweat dripping from every pore, and every limb and muscle wants to collapse and give up. Running courses through my veins and calls to me every single day with a voice that will not be silenced or ignored until its demands are met. Running silences all of the doubts and fears and negative thoughts that held me hostage for years. Running leaves me feeling exhausted, grateful, happy, whole and strong. I don't run for anyone else. I run for me. I run because I can.