I am a runner now!

I am a runner now!

by Gloria R.

Today, I am a much stronger and confident person for having become a runner.

I met Coach Joe through another trainer about seven months ago.  At that time, I had just completed a couple of months of circuit training, had reached losing 15 pounds through a weight loss program provided through work and felt it was time for another challenge.  I felt the next logical thing to do was to run.  Running had always been my biggest challenge.  I never really liked running or tried to incorporate it into my workout routine.  I was always an elliptical or stationary bike type of person.  I remembered trying to join a running club a few summers ago.  However, I always felt like I was never progressing or had the time required to become a strong runner.  Things changed when I met Coach Joe last February.  When I met him I was upfront and told him I had three days a week, at most, to dedicate to running or working out in general.  I knew being a single mom, working in the hectic IT field, in downtown Chicago, with a son preparing to go off to college would leave me with just a few hours a week to dedicate to my work out routine.

Coach Joe was very flexible and offered a few options on how to get started.  He mentioned he would be able to supply weekly online training plans when I told him I could not attend the running classes or join the running club due to my schedule.  The online running plans were definitely the way to go.  They were convenient, affordable, and I had a coach with awesome experience and reputation.

I must admit, at first I felt discouraged at seeing my heart rate soar and to see how slow my pace was during the runs.  However, Coach Joe always reminded me that improvements would take time and I should keep doing what I was doing.  His words encouraged me and I continued to follow his advice.

As work continued to get more hectic, I found myself getting more anxious to hit the gym or the neighborhood paths and run to release some of the stress.  Running has not only became a great stress reliever but has given me a chance to have time for myself.  No cell phones, no emails, no meetings, no one else’s needs to attend to, but just my own for just a couple of hours three times a week.

As the summer months came, my employer announced their plans to conduct an enterprise wide reorganization.  I was not sure what that would mean to me and if my job was in jeopardy.  Needless to say, the summer was very stressful.  Once again I used my running to get me through, along with encouragement from friends, family and co-workers.

Stress relief isn’t the only benefit running has provided.  I have noticed my body is much trimmer, stronger, and I am now the same size I was 10 years ago!  People have also told me I look great and have even suggested I sign up for a popular reality show that entails a lot of physical challenges while traveling around the globe.  I am not sure I am ready for that just yet, but maybe in a couple of years!

At this point of my journey, I have completed my first 5k and took fourth place in my age group (out of 14 runners).  I was so happy I completed the race not having to stop once and that I was able to keep control of my heart rate just as Coach Joe had advised.  I am now ready for my second 5k and look forward to getting stronger and faster and completing my first 10k, half marathon, etc!

I have also already told my son that if he makes it into University of Vermont, I may sign up for a race in the green mountains of that lovely state the same day he enters college.  When he gave me strange looks and asked me why must I do such a thing, I told him because…  I AM A RUNNER NOW, SON.  I AM A RUNNER NOW!

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