I have hinted at why I started to exercise. Before having kids I had a job where I almost exclusively sat at a desk all day, peppered with frequent lunch outings and snack breaks. I didn’t think I had time to exercise. When I had my first son I kept working, but I breastfed him, so I spent nearly a year walking the couple blocks to his daycare to feed him and then back to the office. An amazing thing happened: I lost a TON of weight. I credit nursing, mostly. So as he got older and I weaned him, I kept eating like a nursing mom, and the weight packed right back on. I was so disappointed! I felt like I had blown this amazing opportunity. Between weight gain and struggling to get pregnant again, this was one of the darkest times of my life. When I gave birth to my second baby boy, I knew I couldn’t mess it up again. My husband and I started a Couch-to-5K program when Boy No. 2 was roughly 5 months old (which coincided with the new year as well as the beginning of stay-at-home-motherhood). I signed up for a race to keep myself accountable, and the rest is history.
But I chose running specifically for one primary reason: It was free. I wasn’t really interested in committing to a gym membership or a social group. I didn’t have to buy a bunch of stuff, and I could do it whenever I could work it into my day. I had this strange philosophy from the beginning: You shouldn’t have to have a bunch of money to spend in order to be healthy or in shape. I still feel that way. So if the plan you’re trying to sell me requires me to buy hundreds of dollars of equipment or special shakes or sign a contract, I most likely won’t — it just goes against my beliefs. Fitness should not only belong to the upper class. And I have seen so many examples of the difference just getting outside and being more active can make. It’s something that could turn around the obesity and health crises that are so prevalent in poor, rural places like West Virginia and it doesn’t involve medicines or surgeries! What a no-brainer!
The picture is of me after finishing that first race – on March 23, 2013. It’s my FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
Former journalist, full-time wife and mom of three boys, native West Virginian and amateur adventure seeker