Almost literally, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year you can go outside anywhere in the world and see someone running. Runners come in all different sizes and ages, male and female, and they all do it for different reasons. Some have struggled with their weight for many years and finally want to beat the all too well-known enemy…the extra pounds. Others have been running for years and have fallen in love with it. Many find it as the only way to find peace from stress, depression, and other struggles in life.
Whatever the reason is, all the runner’s in the world have at lease one thing in common. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want to fight the natural man or woman that’s in all of us that tells us to stay down. That voice that tells us that we are not good enough, that we aren’t strong enough, and that laziness is the key to happiness. Every time we go out and run, we are helping ourselves be the best person that we can be, mentally, physically, and emotionally!
Why I Ran?
For those of you that have read other parts of my blog, you may already have an idea as to why I run. I ran throughout all of high school, and absolutely loved it. That feeling of running with a group of my closest friends, and building lasting friendships was worth every second. Being in shape and winning races was one of the best things ever, and honestly, kept me running for as long as I did. I will never forget those four years of Cross Country and Track, and will always be grateful for the friends I made.
Looking back, I also realize that running kept not only my gut in check, but my emotions as well. I started taking medication for bi-polar and depression when I was in 10th grade (refer to past blog posts for more detail). When you run, certain endorphins are released that can help relieve feelings of stress and depression. When I ran, I felt better about myself and it was easier to keep away the negative thoughts that would bring me down. I don’t know where I would be today without the running I did in high school, but I am sure glad that I did run all those years.
Once High School ended I began to see my weekly miles diminish more and more. I enjoyed being lazy, especially since I remained the slim guy with a six-pack for so long! (Okay maybe not a six-pack, but kept my gut in check 🙂 On my mission, and for about a year and a half after that, I ran here and there, on and off, but was no where even close to the shape I was in during High School. I have to admit that I was a little naive all that time, and I received a reality check about 7 months ago.
As you may know, coming out to my parents and being there for Braeden as he came out to his ended up putting a lot of stress on me. It was hard dealing with the challenge of helping others understand me and my decision a little better, and it was especially hard for me because my life was turning upside down. I transferred schools, moved to a brand new town and apartment, and had a brand new roommate (Who happened to make the best dinners ever! 🙂 Thanks Braeden! All these life-changing events are one of the main reasons I began to gain weight (not to mention all those amazing, yet high calorie, meals).
The story goes as follows…Last January when Braeden and I began our first semester here at Idaho State University, we had to get picture ID’s. I happened to like my picture and it didn’t look too different from how I looked about 6 years prior. We began the semester and both were doing pretty well. I was not going to the gym or running, but figured I was okay because I hadn’t been doing those things for a while and still felt in pretty good shape. But then March came!
I had to get an Idaho license because I still had my license from Arizona which I got on my mission. The lady asked my age, eye and hair color, and my weight. I knew that my weight for the longest time was around 155 lbs, but since I also knew that I had gained some weight, I told her I weighed 165 lbs. When she handed me my new license and I looked at the picture, I WAS SHOCKED! My face was huge. My neck was practically hidden behind my second chin! I came home and Braeden and I compared my license picture with my school ID from just THREE months earlier and I looked completely different. I couldn’t even recognize myself. My two pictures looked like Dr. Jon and Mr. No Neck!
That is when I knew something had to change. That is when the gym became my new best friend, and when I rekindled my relationship with my old friend, RUNNING!
Beginning in April I began to prepare for a race in Idaho Falls called, “To Bone and Back”. I knew being fit enough to even run a few miles would take a miracle but I figured that with a goal in mind, maybe I could at least lose some of those new-found pounds. The race was a 40 mile relay, so each runner on our 8 person team had to run 5 miles. I knew that since the team was counting on me, I had to work hard. I had about two months to get into at least good enough shape to not get my time crushed by my team, which consisted of all girls of just one other guy!
That first day back into the gym for a long time, and the first time I stepped on a scale in who knows how long, I weighed 178 pounds! To you that may not seem like a lot but from my perspective, I was less than happy with it. I weighed 143 when I left high school, so within just 6 years I put on 35 pounds. I thought to myself, “No way can I get into good enough shape to compete in that race!” I almost called my sister Sarah who was our team leader to drop out from the team. I just KNEW I couldn’t do run it! But Braeden was great inspiration and he helped me decide that I COULD do it and that I would be very proud of myself.
I ran hard and worked out almost daily, and the week before the race I had lost about 15 pounds! I was down to 163 and was in the best shape of my life! I went from KNOWING that I couldn’t compete in the race, to KNOWING that nothing could stop me from running on that day! I did fairly well, didn’t have the slowest time on our team, and left that day being not only proud of myself, but actually happy to be me! It was a very stark contrast to how I felt not even a full year earlier.
Where I Am Today
The last time I weighed myself was last week. I now weigh 153 pounds! That’s 25 pounds less than I weighed just 5 months ago! I only weigh 10 pounds more than I did in high school. And not only have I lost weight, but I have gained a lot more muscle than I had before! I never thought that I could ever be in as good of shape as I was in high school, but now I think that I am in even better shape. I cannot believe that I was so naive before. I was always told that if left unchecked then my gut would catch up to me, but I never believed it. Now not only do I believe it, but I lived it.
I am just glad that I never have to live it again! I have renewed my love for running and respect every one I see on the road hitting the pavement. I remember why it is I ran in the first place. It makes me happy. It makes me feel good about myself. It helps me feel FREE!
Get Out And Do It!
I’m not asking you to love running or the gym. I just know how much better I feel about myself since I’ve been running. It goes beyond losing weight. Running brightens my day, and makes me happier. I never finish a run thinking…man do I wish I didn’t just do that! I know that just a few minutes of exercise, no matter what time of day, can mean the difference between a bad day, and a TREMENDOUS one! You may weigh more than me, or be just like I was a couple of years ago, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you do today. Just go out and fight that natural self. Take control of your life! TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HAPPINESS! You will NEVER regret it!