Am I really crazy? I guess it depends on who you ask!

I am the first to admit that over the last few years I have become more that just a casual runner.  What started out as a few casual 5k’s over several years has turned into something much bigger. 5 years ago, I was overweight, tired and could barely run a 5k.  This year I will have run over 700 miles and 6 half marathon, as well as countless other races and relays, still have a few pounds to lose, but the scale is no longer my focus.  Getting health is.  I am the first to admit that what I do is not what “normal” people do… but then again, I don’t think I could really ever be called normal!

I have lost track of how many times I have been asked why I do all of the running that I do, if I am completely nuts or how I can have that much energy to do everything that I do.  My husband has commented to of several of our friends that if someone ever wants to know where I am, it is usually one of 3 places… Running, the Gym or working (ok, maybe 4 – home either trying to catch some sleep or relaxing with a glass of wine)!  If you say one of these places, you are probably right!  The response is usually “Why” or  “You’re nuts”, “You really RUN 13 miles… at once… for fun?” Honestly, I don’t expect most people to understand.  Hours each week at the gym, miles on my feet running hitting the pavement (or Dreadmill on some of those extreme weather days), early morning alarms to get to the gym or to meet a friend to run… these are just some of the crazy things that I have been doing over the last few years. In fact there are times I have questioned why I do it all. However, it is a choice that I made and it has been one of the best things that I could have done!
Yes, I have lost track of the number of times that I have turned down plans with friends because I have an early run the next morning.  Or the nights that we have gone out with friends and instead of ordering a beer, I have stuck with water or some other beverage because I had a race coming up.  I don’t need to have a beer in my hand to have fun – I just need my friends!  Running, as well as all of the strength training, has taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of and how strong I really can be.  

Is it worth it?

Absolutely!

The idea of challenging myself to do something that only a small percentage of the population does is beyond exciting.  Each time I cross the finish line at any race, it is a true feeling of accomplishment, knowing that all of the hard work I have been doing is paying off.

But it is more than just what running has proven to me that I can personally accomplish!  Between all of the running and working out at Fitness Renegades, I have made some great friends who help to keep me motivated (and I cannot forget the friends that I have met via social media – we may have never met, but sometimes that does not matter)!  We are all in this fitness adventure together, sharing workout ideas, training together (I will never look at a tubing hill or a pile of car tires the same again!), sharing healthy meal ideas and everything in between.  We all may not be runners, but the fitness mentality is there!  Together, we understand what the other is going through, the aches and pains of running or lifting, what to eat (or not eat) before a long run or tough workout, the pains of foam rollers (or even what one is), proper hydration… the list goes on.  Unless you are a runner,  are married to one or are a fitness junkie, you probably don’t get it – and I don’t’ expect you to.  It is a truly unique lifestyle that one chooses.

I started doing this as something for me, but it has turned into something more.  Hearing that someone has started running because of me, or they started a new workout program because I somehow inspired them, or that they are working on improving their eating habits as a result of watching what I have been doing… well, that is still something that is taking me some getting accustomed to!  It also encourages me to keep going!  My son has started running 5k and 10k events with myTEAM TRIUMPH, has improved is race times and has even started coming to the gym with me once in a while!  Heck, my husband has even started walking some 5k’s now!  I know that he will never be a runner, but just the fact that he is out there walking, I am super proud of him!  Everyone has to start somewhere and if I can help someone with that start, it makes all of this worthwhile!

I know that I am still a work in progress.  I know that with continued hard work, I will eventually get where I want to be – even if that end point changes from time to time! I also love the fact that I am helping other people make healthy changes, no matter how small, in their life!  I am also forever grateful for my husband who has put up with my crazy schedule, countless “vacations” that are somehow related to a race I want to run or my 2 hour trips to the grocery store(s) to find everything that I need for the next week’s meals!  Without him, I know that I would not be able to do everything that I do!  Thank you John, for everything you do for me!

Then I originally started this blog, my thought was that if I could encourage ONE person to make a small change to improve their life, it was worth it.  In the end it is helping me to continue to make healthy changes in my life, and I am continuously grateful for those that I am meeting along the way that 

Yes I probably am crazy, but that’s just who I am!  It is just an honor to know that I have done something to encourage positive changes in others!

Oh, and technically I am only HALF crazy… maybe one day I will run a full marathon and be completely crazy, but right now, half is my limit!

So for all of you out that that keep me going, Thank you!

… and now time to pack and get ready to head to Chicago!  Women Rock Half Marathon, here we come!

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