Do you know someone who would like to start running or start eating healthier? Maybe that someone is you. Many people would like to make positive changes in their lives but just can’t seem to get started. Taking that first step is the one thing that prevents most people from changing what they want to do into what they are doing. Below are four stories from women who found the courage to start. Maybe their stories will help others wanting to make similar life changes.
Meet Karrie Vincent. In December 2009, Karrie was in denial about her health and her life. She suffered from joint and muscle pain, acid reflux, insomnia, had difficulty swallowing, periodic blurred vision, shortness of breath, and dizziness. She also weighed 250 pounds.
Karrie knew she needed more exercise but even walking one mile would leave her exhausted for the rest of the day. So when her sister came to town and urged Karrie to run a 5K with her, Karrie was apprehensive. On her first attempt to run she only managed one block. But her sister was persistent and got her to the starting line. Karrie crossed the finish line in 48 minutes and was immediately on cloud nine. She had not experienced that wonderful feeling since she was a cross country and track runner in high school. Both her sister and that first race ignited a fire in Karrie. She had made her start. She ran one more 5K that year and shaved 5 minutes off her previous time. She was hooked!
In January 2011, Karrie got serious. She set fitness goals and started eating a healthier diet. She gave up refined sugar, white flour, and processed foods and resolved to take good care of her body. She signed up for a slew of 5Ks and got her entire office involved in eating healthy foods with her. In nine months Karrie lost 90 pounds! Now she is unstoppable. In May, Karrie ran the Ogden Half-Marathon and has recently started doing duathlons and triathlons as well. She no longer suffers from any of her previous health problems and absolutely loves her new active lifestyle. Her enthusiasm is contagious when she states, “Running makes me feel strong and free…My life is so much more fun with running in it!”
Meet Beth Schaewe. Eight years ago Beth felt uncomfortable with what she saw in the mirror. She felt sluggish and tired. Three babies had added 10 pounds each to her frame, along with another 10 “just for fun,” she says. When she saw a picture of herself at her 39th birthday party, she thought, “This is enough.” Beth got started; she joined Weight Watchers and began working out with a personal trainer at the YMCA. When she told her trainer that she wanted to run, the trainer asked, “Why?” Beth ignored the comment and ran her first 5K that summer. That’s when the running bug bit her hard.
Beth started to train with some girlfriends for a half-marathon. She felt better than she had in years and was full of confidence and energy. Before long Beth was signing up for marathons and running faster times. It took her a few tries, but she recently qualified for the Boston Marathon. Beth states, “Running is peaceful time to myself, a way to socialize and catch up with friends, and a great way to unwind!”
Three years ago Beth made a career change and became a personal trainer. She also started working at a specialty shoe store where she gets to coach beginning runners as they get ready for their very first 5K. “I know EXACTLY what these runners feel. I love being able to give back what others gave to me. What an honor!”
Meet Tara Bartek. Inspired by the early passing of her brother, Tara made a decision to get her life on track. Topping out at 330 pounds, Tara started her journey in December 2011 by joining a gym and getting a personal trainer. She immediately began to drop some weight by working out in the gym. Then, a little over 3 months ago, Tara went for her first run. At first she could barely run 100 meters without stopping, but one month later she was able to run as much as five miles at a time. She has lost just over 100 pounds since she began her journey and recently competed in her first 5K. Tara has big goals for herself in the next year. She is well on her way, with enough momentum to make her fitness dreams come true. “I now see running as something I love to do,” she says. “It’s a way for me to clear my mind of everything going on in my life and it gives me time to focus on my own needs.”
Meet Erica Quigley. Erica reached 230 pounds before she started to make a change; since she began running she has lost 85 pounds. Currently weighing in at a trim 145, Erica says she’s still getting stronger and healthier every day. “Getting into running has helped me eat healthier so I can feel better and run more often,” she explains. “Although it’s sometimes tough for me to get going, there is no better feeling than the energy I get after I’m a few miles in. Running also makes me a happier person, in all aspects of my life, because I can get my frustrations out.”
Each of these women found the courage to start. They took that first step, made that first commitment, and never looked back. The secret to keeping the momentum going is to keep getting started — every single day.
Has running helped transform your life? How so, and how did you get started?
Read the guys stories here: