Ellen Stefanie, I wanted to thank you for writing your latest blogpost. Your opening line really spoke to me. “Ever since I was young, I felt as if I was always chasing something…” For well over a decade, I, too, felt like I was “chasing something” and I had devoted years of my life around that fact. You see, I had also struggled with weight gain and dieting in my early adult years and I didn’t know how to handle it. I have been following your story for some time, Ellen, (yes, even us bloggers find inspiration in each other) and I feel that I can now talk about this sensitive subject, because you have helped me get there.
This is my story.
That’s me, in the best shape of my life. In this picture, I was a NCAA Division I collegiate soccer player and I had just come home from Air Force boot camp. I was a size 4.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I watched the weight scale arrow progressively make its way from one side of the dial to the other. As my weight went up, my confidence went down and I started to feel that I needed to “chase something”.
I put off going out and buying clothes, because I was chasing after my ideal, size 4 self. When I felt I wasn’t achieving that image completely, I would stop trying and the weight would come right back on again. I performed this vicious cycle for ten years, but the pinnacle moment happened when one of my best friends asked me to be in her wedding. I was truly honored to be a part of her special day, but was not looking forward to trying on my bridesmaid dress. I can still remember the moment I stood in front of that boutique mirror and hating the person that I was looking back at. I had to look away as the seamstress told me the things she could do to try to flatter my figure. I ended up in a size 16 dress.
From that day forward the fitness decisions I made were not in the form of me chasing that ideal image, but of me simply finding the time to do something for myself. That’s it. That time became many different things over the years. At first, it was just of me working out at a gym. This helped me get over the issue that time for myself can wait. I realized that some other things can take a back seat for a change. Then, I was given the opportunity to write for Runitlikeamom. By expressing myself through my writing, I was able to pinpoint my struggles. With the feedback of our readers and the motivation I gained by reading the other Runit bloggers’ posts, I was able to muster the courage to conquer what troubled me. Not only was I taking care of my body, I was also taking care of my mind.
At this point I was able to fit into a size 12.
I started to find my passion for running with the new found love for trail running and the formation of a local trail running group. This soon led me to achieve physical and mental obstacles that I thought I could never overcome. I was able to complete my first long distance 10.5 mile race, up along the ridge side of Simsbury, called Traprock. It wasn’t my greatest hour (more like three actually), but the old me would have gotten discouraged and given up trail running, while the new me went right back out there and did the same course run after my ankle healed. Boy, did that feel good to do.
I then joined another running group, at the beginning of this year, called Run 169 Towns Society. The constant support and encouragement of these members have motivated me get out to train in between races and the mission of completing all 169 towns of Connecticut, in my lifetime, makes me continuously want to race!
Not to mention all the fun we have while racing…
Another wishlist race item fell into my lap, this summer, with a spot that opened up for me to join a Ragnar Trail New England team. This mega racing event is a 24 hour relay race on Northfield Mountain, in Massachusetts. I ended up running my three legs of the relay which totaled 16 miles up and down a mountain…three times!! I was able to do this with some current and former members of the Air Force base I was once a part of (hoorah)! My old self would have never thought this possible, but it is, and I realize it now.
I have now become a size 8. I may never get to the size 4 me again, but I’m OK with that now. I think I’m rocking the size 8 me, just fine.
I feel like I am figuring out the problem of finding time for myself, writing through my life struggles and having a blast with encouraging people that I have met along the way. Ellen, we may have taken slightly different paths to reach our healthy selves, but your story has been part of the reason for my transformation. Thank you.
You and my other Runitlikeamom sisters mean everything to me.