Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Challenge Year

By Kristy Young

I really don’t know why I took up running. I used to run, when I was 19; I was young and thin, and had joined the Army. In Boot Camp, you had to run... but then I developed shin splints from running in combat boots, which turned into stress fractures that wouldn’t heal because I wasn’t able to get the rest time I needed. These stress fractures caused me to be unable to do the necessary amount of push-ups needed to pass the PT test. I was eventually sent home.

That was all 19 years ago.

Fast forward to 2014. I’m married, have a home, a child, and have to be an adult now. I’ve also gained a bunch of weight from my own unhealthy eating choices, lack of energy, and lack of exercise. It’s a vicious cycle: I was always eating on the go, eating fast food that made me feel terrible and tired, and never made time for myself. I would do the same thing day after day, always feeling terrible and tired.

To try to break this cycle, I started running in early 2014 and feel like I did okay; I was slow, with 15-minute miles, but I was out there doing something! I stumbled across DRC, joined, and watched. I ran off and on with the Couch to 5k app, which is a mixture of walking and running. I did this until around July, when I had an asthma attack during my run and had to quit. I was DONE. I couldn’t do it. I was too tired, too fat, too unmotivated, too slow... I was unable to breathe, so I was just done.

But I still watched the DRC posts. Yep, I Facebook stalked all of you. And I kept seeing all the miles that were going on out there. So jealous, yet unable to get myself off the couch to claim a few miles for myself.

In November of 2014, I decided to join the gym. Club Fitness is three minutes from my house, why not? I started working with a personal trainer, Jamie Driemeyer, who taught me how to exercise properly and, more importantly, how to eat properly. Nutrition was where I was lacking the most and needed major help. First, I had to cut out the fast food and make healthy choices while cooking at home. This alone changed my entire household: we started meal-planning and meal-prepping, which was new for us. We started using MyFitnessPal to track what we were eating—it’s amazing what you put into your mouth and what you don’t when you are forced to think about it. From November 2014 to May 2015, I worked with Jamie and lost 50 pounds! During that time, I was still watching all the miles being posted in DRC.

At the beginning of 2015, The Challenge came out: Run 20.15 miles per week or month, or run 2015k or miles for the year. I thought, “I can do 20.15 a week, that can’t be too tough!” Wow, January was a huge struggle for me, but I scraped by with 21.1. miles! I kept at it. February was tough, too, and really scraped by with 20.7. My miles stayed restricted to a treadmill because of what had happened the previous July.

Then March came and I had a HUGE MONTH! I hit 41 miles! I doubled what I had previously done! And, more importantly, I fell in love! In April, I ran outside for the first time since July 2014 and I was even happier. At this point, I just could not wait to run!

Running my first race, the Mo' Cowbell 5k!
Every week I challenged myself, every day I was so anxious to run that I could hardly wait to get home and get out there! I have read almost everything I can find about running: what to do, what not to do, how to get faster, how to win over the mind struggles. I love reading your advice, your struggles, and your successes! Through the articles and your personal experiences, I have learned what works for me. I have hit 11- to 12-minute miles, a big improvement from where I started my year, an accomplishment that makes me very proud.

PR time of 35:50!
My goal at the beginning of 2015 was to run 20.15 each month, with a total of 240 miles for the year. Well, I hit that in September—that’s right, September! I changed my goal to 500 for the year and am 13 miles from that goal, and will definitely meet it.

In September I met my running buddy, Jolene Toeben. Without DRC, I would never have met Jolene. She and I became fast friends with common goals, I am so grateful to have met her. We run our long runs once a week- or every other week, depending on our schedules- together, but are virtual running partners every day. We support each other through texts and Facebook posts. It has been a joy to find someone with goals similar to mine and who is so supportive in all aspects of my life.

Katy Trail geocaching adventures with my husband and son.
So, DRC, I’m here to thank you. Thank you, all of DRC!! Without you, I would not be anywhere close to where I am now. I would probably still be on the couch. Because of you, I have completed 5ks, 10ks, and am running the Wildwood Frozen Feet half-marathon in January 2016. A year ago, I would have told you that you were crazy for wanting to run that distance, and even crazier if you told me I would run it!
My son Anthony's first 5k!
So again I say thank you! Thank you for motivating me, thank you for motivating my family. My 8 year-old just completed his first 5k, and is more active than ever, always wanting to go running with me. My husband is jumping on the bandwagon as well, starting slowly, but it looks like soon we’ll be a whole family of runners. Thank you, DRC. Without your unintentionally motivating posts, our lives would be so different right now. I would have missed out on all the fun, and the joy of watching myself change into a new person. 2015 was a tough year for me, but it was also so inspiring to see what I can do, if I only want it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

DRC Feature: Emelie Forsberg

Hey DRCers!

In case you didn't know, the holiday season is well upon us! I don't know about you, but I feel knee-deep in indulgent foods made with love, but also potentially causing guilt. I say, be free of that guilt! We were definitely made to enjoy food: it nourishes the soul, brings people together, and is just plain delicious. Even over the holidays, we can achieve a balance between healthy eating and enjoying ourselves.

Check out what ultrarunner Emelie Forsberg has to say about our relationships with our bodies.