Yesterday it was my running anniversary. My first every registered run was Toronto Goodlife on May 5, 2013. I love how Facebook reminds me of such events. I did my first ever 5k in 51:46 mins. I’ve improved over the last four years but this doesn’t mean that I haven’t had set backs, crawl backs and stumbles, this journey has not been perfect and that is perfectly ok with me.
I’ve often had people ask me why I started running or what got me involved to become a runner, it was pretty simple after always being the cheerleader for my friends, I couldn’t come up with a justifiable reason on why I couldn’t be a runner. There was no reason a plus size person could not be a runner.
When I first started out the biggest hurdle I faced was trying to find clothing to fit a plus size person that didn’t make me feel like I was wearing a snow suit, which just made the sweat even worse, plus there was no such thing as “pretty clothing”. My next hurdle was going to running stores to discuss shoes. Not many people understood my concerns with needing shoes that take the weight of my body and keep my body from not hurting. People were looking at me like I was crazy at being over 300lbs and saying I’m a runner.
Now that I look back at it, I never once looked at a my weight as an excuse not to run, not to try. My weight never defined me. I never said I can’t to any run that I’ve come across. I never once thought to myself I can’t do this as people will stop and stare, or judge me. I was tired of letting people judge me, they didn’t mean a thing to me.
In the last four years I have grown more confident. I believe in me and love myself more now. I’ve changed as a person and grown more as a person. I’ve grown more confident in the goals that I’ve set, the dreams I’ve drummed up. I don’t back down, I chase the finish line just like everyone else.
I’ve learn to trust my body, trust the process and realize it never will let me down. What I put in, it gives back. It doesn’t cheat me. I can only cheat myself in not training.
This journey has brought some pretty amazing people into my life, I’ve met random strangers now turned friends in race corrals while waiting for the horn, I’ve travelled to run in their hometowns and I know I also have a support team ready to help me if I should ever hit a low point, they make sure I keep going. These people are family.
Although I’ve lost over 110lbs, changed my looks, my heart has not changed. I always will be the leader of the back of the pack, I’ll never podium, but I’ll always continue to be me. You don’t need to be perfect to be a runner.
So thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me, 2017 is looking to be another excellent year for me to continue to grow as a runner. Your support always means the world to me and I keep it close to my heart. Knowing I have each of you at times gets me through those tough moments.