The Power Within Me
Two hundred and nineteen pounds and five foot tall – that was me just two and a half years ago. Until February of 2002 when I saw a photograph of myself from a friend's wedding. I had no idea how obese I had let myself become. I still saw myself as a size 12 even though I put on size 20-22 clothing regularly and only shopped at Lane Bryant. Still, it took me another three months to realize that I had to change my life in a big way. I began my new journey and new lease on life just a few days before my twenty sixth birthday.
I immediately joined a gym because I knew to be successful in my life change I had to make exercise a key component – without it I couldn't see success as a possibility. After joining the gym I took another big step and walked through the door of Weight Watchers – a place I had visited before, but hadn't seen success because I wasn't mentally ready to make the life change. This time, I was furiously determined to be successful.
A year into Weight Watchers and working out regularly I had dropped about 60 pounds – more than I had even set out to lose when I began…the excitement grew. I continued to drop more weight…the next thing I knew I was almost two years into my journey and had lost about 72 pounds. Now, wearing a size six I was happy with my new found lease on life, but needed more – I felt more fit than I've ever been in my life, but was getting bored with the standard gym routine. I set my sights on the Peachtree Road Race 2003 – I trained myself and finished in 1 hour and 7 minutes. That was just the beginning of my love affair with running!
After attending a track club meeting and hearing a coach Matt Russ from The Sport Factory speak about running, I was hooked. I began training with Matt and learned more about running, nutrition and how the body works. I followed the plan he set for me religiously and enjoyed the continuous interaction and guidance he provided. Matt trained me for several smaller races, but I had my eyes on the 2004 Peachtree – I knew I would be able to seriously shave some time since I had been working with him and had learned so much. I was so proud when I got my 2004 Peachtree Number and was in time group 1b – what a proud moment it was for me. For those who have never run the race, time group 1b is a great place to start, as it's pretty close to the beginning of the massive sea of runners participating in the race.
The day of the 2004 Peachtree I was so nervous – excited, but nervous as I knew I had a specific goal for myself and was determined to achieve it. Well, in 56:17 I crossed the finished line – my mission was accomplished. Gratified, but not satisfied – I'm now in training for my first marathon – January 2005 Disney
You know we all have the power within us to make a life change with determination and dedication. It's a matter of finding that burning desire to achieve – that burning desire to make the next
accomplishment even more meaningful than the previous. Every time I cross a race finishline, no matter if it's a short race or a long race, my eyes get slightly watery – tears of joy they are, tears of joy knowing that just a few short years ago I was a totally different person on a path of physical destruction. Today, Matt has to remind me that I'm an ‘athlete.' I've never been called an ‘athlete' in my life, but you know what – it's a good thing to hear…I found the power within me and became…an athlete!