A little over 5 yrs ago, I would be that couch potato. My son, Dylan, had just turned 1 year old that summer and I was 262 pounds and in a size 22. My husband Mike was a newbie on New Albany Fire Department (8 months to be exact) and I decided on his off days to take “ME” time at the local park for at least an hour a day. I had no idea where to start other than to lace up my shoes and put one foot in front of the other.  I got motivation from watching the Biggest Loser Season 5 and learned from my fitness idol Jillian Michaels that a woman has to exercise 5 days a week without taking the 2 off days in a row. So, I did just that. I would go to the park by myself and determined as ever, decided walking 5 miles a day 5 days a week splitting my 2 days off up. I did this for 6 weeks, meanwhile cutting my portions in half but still eating foods I enjoyed. I tricked myself by instead of grabbing a normal size plate, I’d grab my kids’ plates, so to me it still looked as though I was eating a lot, but was really eating the portions I was suppose to be eating all along. After 6 weeks, I plateaued losing 20 pounds and knew I had to switch up my exercise routine because I was no where near my goal weight. This is when I started “jogging”, not even capable of running a mile. Back then, I would have laughed if you told me to run a mile. Boy, how grateful I am to have the discipline and will power to keep moving forward without turning back.

At 6 weeks, I began to jog 2 minutes and walk for 3 minutes for those 5 mile distances. Still hitting the pavement 5 days a week and with a bottle of water in hand. At 12 weeks into my fitness journey, I had dropped 42 pounds! In 12 weeks, it was amazing how much energy I had gained just from losing that amount of weight, but I was still not where my pre-pregnancy weight. Again, I tweaked my routine and then would jog a half mile and walk a half mile for those 5 miles 5 days a week. I did this again for another 6 weeks and dropped another 15 pounds!

Once again, I plateaued and needed to switch it up..this time I would be 18 weeks into the journey and decided that it was time to run my 1st mile. I would then run a mile and walk a mile for those 5 miles. I was able to release a lot of emotions over those 18 weeks. However, those released emotions would soon make me loose a whole person in body fat in a years time. Right at 6 months, I began running 3 miles straight. I no longer did 5 mile a day routines. It was Christmas time and my in-laws  bought me my 1st MP3 player to use while I worked out. Wow, was I surprised how different it was to run with music. At the time, I only used the radio option on it because I wanted a variety of music and wasn’t too familiar on how the whole MP3 player actually worked. I continued this routine for another 6 months finding myself synchronizing my steps to the music, running faster and challenging myself to hit certain distances or objects on the track before the songs ended. I found this entertaining and made me challenge myself for I still had no workout partner to keep me motivated.

In June 2008, I officially had dropped 100 pounds and had more energy to play with my kids and my self esteem went through the roof. In May 2008, I began working for Home Depot part-time, and by August I was full time. During this time, my mom-in-law Marsha, gave me a treadmill to help me stay in shape and get my runs in even when Mike was on shift at the fire department. It was a true blessing. I learned that running not only gave me back ME, but it also was my therapy to myself for day to day life stresses. I continued running 5 days a week 3 miles a day.

Then, in November 2008, I was talking with a high school friend, Kirsten Schmeling. She runs marathons and is a personal trainer down in Florida. Kirsten convinced me that since I was logging this many miles each week, that she could write me a schedle so that I could run my first half marathon in the spring of 2009. Kirsten sent me a questionnaire and within a few weeks sent me a PDF file of my first half marathon schedule with speed workouts. As I glanced at them, I was shocked at how prepared I already was and knew I was determined to commit to this challenge. Not only would this be my first half marathon, this would be my first race ever!!

I started training in Jan 2009, and my race was April 25th. Kirsten warned me this 18 weeks of training would not be easy, but I must not skip training days and that I had to fit my runs in. I remember my first long distance runs which are always on Saturdays made my legs hurt soo bad, and I would soak in the tub for an hour after each session leading up to my race. April 25th came and I was on course, running it alone but had tons of family and friends supporting via Facebook. It was the hottest Mini Marathon they have ever had so far, and I saw many runners falling out. This scared me for I had never ran a race before either. I can say with pride that I finished my 1st half and race in 2:13:54 running the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon.

Everyone has excuses for not finding time to fit their fitness in their busy schedule. Exercising only consumes 4% of your day. Make the time, as you will never regret a workout.