My fitness journey began about two years ago when I committed to running my first half marathon - 13.1 miles. Little did I know how much running and working out would teach me about life.
Prior to making this commitment, I worked out with light intensity about two or three times a week and was quick to say I hated running. I had always been thin and considered myself somewhat in shape and running was not something I had ever been interested in doing. But after a heart-wrenching break-up in the summer of 2011, I agreed to run the Malibu Half Marathon that November with a friend.
Beginning my training in the hot Arizona summer was brutal, but the training served as a great distraction while I was coping with the breakup. My runs were a time to reflect and a form of therapy. It was a goal to focus on and with every step of progress I made in my training, I was able to slowly rebuild my confidence.
Running my first half marathon was an incredibly emotional experience for me. I was in tears as I crossed the finish line. It was a crazy mix of emotions - runner's high, a feeling of accomplishment, and a reflection of how far I had come both physcially and emotionally in the five months since the breakup.
Despite the feeling of accomplishment though, I wasn't sure I ever wanted to run a half marathon again. It was hard. I reached my goal of not walking any of the course, but I was in pain and wanted to stop so many times. I didn't think I'd want to put myself through that again. But three days later I signed up for my second half marathon. I managed to run my second half marathon 15 minutes faster than my first. I was so impressed by the improvement that it made me want to do more. How good could I get? I then decided to run a half marthon every month for the rest of the year. So from March 2012 to December 2012 I ran a half marathon every month. Some of the cities I ran races in were Lake Havasu, Prescott, San Diego, Chicago, Milwaukee, Scottsdale. Some were harder than others, but I kept improving and was proud of my accomplishments.
I finally ran my first full marathon, 26.2 miles, in January 2013. It was the P.F. Chang's Rock n Roll Marathon in Phoenix, Arizona. The training runs of up to 22 miles were absolutely grueling. The memories of those runs are still so vivid. But the pain and sacrifice was worth it. I was grinning ear-to-ear start to finish of my first marathon, because I couldn't believe I was accomplishing something I never thought I would ever do.
After completing my first full marathon, I decided I wanted to take my other workouts to the next level. I did barre classes, high intensity interval training, pilates, yoga and finally hired a personal trainer. I now often workout twice a day - a workout with my trainer and a run. I don't run and workout so obsessively to look a certain way. These are moments of sanity for me - away from my phone, emails and all other stresses of life.
Fitness has taught me so much about myself, how to stay sane and has helped me enjoy the highs of life and cope with the lows. I can't imagine fitness not being part of my life and I look forward to sharing my journey with others.