I put one foot in front of the other one. Little did I know how important these lyrics would become.
I had always been in good shape growing up and throughout college, but the weight had crept up on me after my wedding a little bit at a time. It wasn’t really noticeable at first. After about a year of marriage, my husband and I decided it was time for children. My mindset was, “I’m going to get big anyway, so I can eat what I want.” The problem with that theory was that it took almost a year to get pregnant. I gained pre-pregnancy weight and pregnancy weight. On the day my first son was born, I weighed 194 lbs and only 5’4’’.
I was a new mom with a full-time job, so in my mind, there was no time to take care of myself. 3 1/2 years later, the day of my 2nd son’s birth I tipped the scales at over 200 lbs. I appeared happy, but I was dying on the inside because of how I felt about what my body had become.
In 2008, my 10-year high school reunion was upon me. I thought to myself that there was no way that I was going to attend having just given birth to my second child. But that summer, something clicked with me. I decided that I would “take my body back!” I completely changed my diet, cutting calories and generally eating healthier. I started doing cardio videos in the privacy and convenience of my living room. I dubbed it “Operation 10 Year Reunion”. I attended my reunion 50 lbs lighter and over the course of a year I had lost 77 lbs.
I also started running that year, something I had only done as a sprinter in my school years. I started one mile at a time. When I was able to run a full mile without feeling like I was knocking on death’s door, I added another mile, and so on. I began to feel amazing. Running distance gave me such a sense of accomplishment every single time I ran a race. Eventually, I built all the way up to running a full marathon. 26.2 miles! I did that! In mile 25.5, I completely tore the fascia in the arch of my foot. I managed to run on the side of my foot to the finish, completing the course in 3 hours, 59 minutes, and 15 second. I cried tears of joy, tears of relief, and tears of pain. I had beat my goal of 4 hours. I could relive that moment in my mind over and over.
In the weeks and months to follow, I was in a boot and had to go through extensive physical therapy for my injury. I didn’t start working at Whirlpool until after I ran my marathon. At this point, I wasn’t really running. My body started changing again, because in my new role, I was sitting for most of the day, so I started running the parking lot of our Knoxville building and the lots adjacent to us. 3 miles every Monday and Wednesday. I’ve continued to do this for about a year, and people started taking notice. There are now 4-5 of us running during our lunch breaks. We are a community. We encourage each other and push each other to do better.