Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

April 10, 2011, signaled a huge accomplishment for me:  it was the one-year-anniversary that I joined Weight Watchers and started down the road of my new Fitness Journey.  The day gave me a chance to analyze the past 12 months, and not just in terms of a number on the scale.  In the past, I usually quit after I reached a certain amount of weight or specific length of time (6-9 months), or I got scared of my own success (sounds strange, I know), or I caved when a crisis hit. So what's different this time?  How have I managed not to chicken out and go back to my old eating habits, put all that weight back on, and get depressed?


I'm running.


My mother was the runner in our family.  Before we five kids got up for school every morning, Mom disappeared for about an hour as she faithfully ran her 4 miles.  I had neither the stamina, time, nor the desire to run, but Mom loved it.  She participated in every race she could, from 2K Fun Runs to grueling 10Ks.  Occasionally, she'd drag us kids along, but I guess we complained too much to the point she stopped inviting us.  I thought she was crazy, plain and simple.  What a waste of time! 


When I needed something to reignite my weightloss after I got back from my cruise in December, I decided on running and joined a training team to run the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Race coming up in June.  I'm not sure where the idea stemmed from, perhaps a desire to impress my mother?, but whatever the case, when our coach mentioned "endorphins" and "runner's high," I thought she was crazy, too!


The truth is, I've fallen in love with running in a way I never expected.  When I'm out there on that trail, I feel like I can run forever ... like I can conquer the world!  Is it because I have 90 minutes to myself, uninterrupted, when I can just listen to the birds chirping and the water rushing by in Fountain Creek, dogs barking, children laughing, and wind whistling through the pine trees?  There's no laundry to do, no husband to wait on, no phone ringing?  Whatever the reason, my mind is free from the distractions of life while my body gets a great workout. 


I confess, I'm still on a high from quitting my housekeeping client--I smile every time I think about it.  I'm free from her criticism and scrutiny (speaking up for myself and setting boundaries is critical to my success).  Running allows me time to congratulate myself on my newfound confidence, and map out new ways that I can take charge in other areas of my life.  Running is not a chore; rather, it's a treat I give myself, similar to how others get a pedicure or back massage.  I'm beginning to understand what my coach meant when she said, "Endorphins kick in, and you're filled with joy."


My Fitness Journey isn't just about a number on a scale, and yes, a smaller dress size is terrific.  But it's the mental state I'm in that's most important.  Never before have I been this confident.  This joyful, this excited, this beautiful, inside and out. 


Yup, running has made the difference this time.  All the difference in the world.  Looks like Mom knew what she was doing after all!

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