Monday, May 2, 2011

Running + Myself = My Character?

When you think of a runner what is the first thing you think of? That they're atheletic, crazy, have bad knees, or are wearing awesome shoes? I use to think the same things, then I became a runner. Becoming a runner was one of the hardest, yet best decisions I've ever made in my life (crazy, right?).
I have never been an amazing athelete or naturally trim, but when I began college I made a pact with myself, I would avoid the freshman fiveteen and be skinny by the time I graduated. I did avoid the freshman fifeteen, but the sophmore thirty toppled me over! School became my life once my choice of major, Human Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Interior Design, was decided. To add onto that, the major required an Art minor and I, being the slight overachiever, choose to add an Entrepreneurship minor to set my resume apart. Once the Entrepreneurship minor was added, I somehow ended up pursuing a Computer Information Systems minor as well!
Having a demanding school schedule can take a toll on one's physical appearance (as well as their mental health!). During all of these sleepless nights, midnight McDonald runs, and slight dip in personal hygeine, my focus was on one thing, finish my work better than anyone else in the program. I quickly learned that all work and no play (or time taken to care for yourself) produces one crazy, overweight, slightly unhygeininc insomniac! After two years of secluding myself from the outside world, including friends and sunlight, I decided something had to change. I could not continue to focus only one thing, school, and not myself or those around me. In the summer of 2010, I began an internship and decided that this could be my trial run at how the "real world" would be after graduation and I no longer was dependent on my relationship with Floyd (the name of our building at school who we now refer to as a close, personal friend).
My older brother proposed to his girlfriend around and they set a date for the wedding, which was also a date for pictures that would last forever and be shown to countless numbers of people. I decided this was the time that I would put my college pact to the test, I wanted to lose weight. I had tried diets before and, as most women do, I only kept it up until I reached my desired weight then would go back to old eating habits. I decided this time I would make a life change and try not to only lose weight, but to live a healthy lifestyle. I subscribed to Women's Health Magazine and often read other helpful sites that would increase my knowledge about a healthy lifestyle. I choose to eliminate soft drinks from my diet, which I weined myself off over the summer, which I thought would be a good starting point. Around that same time, I had a friend approach me about becoming her "running buddy". At first I was apprehesive, but she explained that she too was trying to make a lifestyle change and would  need to ease into it as well. Our first goal was to run twice a week. We started by running 3 minutes and walking 4 minutes. These in itself was hard to do, but after months of pushing ourselves, we saw that we could run farther in the 3 minutes than we had started out running. We then decided that since we could now run, we would change our goal from simply running, to running a mile. We began doing so and gradually upped our goals. I can now run 3 miles, which I never thought was possible much less that I would actually enjoy it! Running taught me how to set your mind to something and push through the pain to get there. It also taught me how to take care of myself when work and school was pushing me to my limits. Like a runner, I find that I am determined, dedicated, and slightly crazy. I have built my endurance for not only running, but for staying with something for the long haul! The most valuable thing I have kept is my humor through this all. If you can't laugh at yourself when you fail, or fall, then it's going to one hard world to work, or run in.