I used to dream about being a runner. In my dreams I always wore pink. In my dreams I was fast, I was fit, I was in control. But then I would wake up. And in my real life, I was morbidly obese, a condition brought on by a lifetime of inactivity and horrible eating choices.
Pink is a powerful color for me. Pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding. Even at my heaviest weight, I loved myself unconditionally. I understood that it was up to ME to make the changes necessary to go from fat to fit. In color psychology, pink is a sign of hope. It is a positive color inspiring warm and comforting feelings, a sense that everything will be okay.
Today I celebrate 4 YEARS since I stepped in to my first Weight Watchers meeting. In 2 weeks I celebrate 2 YEARS of maintaining my 212 pound weight loss. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
Earlier this week, I was chosen as the Athleta Power to the She winner for the Clearwater Iron Girl.
Ella (age 7 1/2) was supposed to run the 5K with me, but a few days earlier she got sick and was still feeling under the weather the night before the race. I was debating running the 1/2 marathon alone, but my older daughter Haley (age 9) asked if she could run the 5K with me. Of course I said YES!! Unlike her sister, Haley does not like to run, so having the opportunity to run with her made me so happy.
We were honored before the race at the staging area for the 1/2 marathon where Mary from Athleta introduced me as the Power to the She winner, and read a bit of my story. The 1/2 marathon started, and Haley and I had about 35 minute before the 5K was going to start so we headed off to the bathroom, and before I knew it, it was race time!! We quickly made it to the top of the Memorial Causeway and saw the Mile 1 marker!! Many thanks to Meghan for letting me pull her away from her volunteer station to take this photo!
Haley started to get REALLY thirsty and her pace really started to slow down. I was pretty thirsty too, but it's different for little kids. We had to get all the way to the bottom of the bridge to get to the one and only water station on the 5k course.
She drank like 4 cups, and we jogged through the turn around, grabbed another few cups, and headed back up the bridge. We ran in to Caroline on the way up!
Soon enough we were at mile 2!!
Up ahead I noticed my favorite cheering signs!
We ran down the bridge and Haley's little legs started to get tired. I was feeling really good, and knew that if I had run alone I would likely have PR'd, but this race wasn't about ME, it was about US. So I encouraged Haley to try a little bit harder, to run just a little bit faster. I reminded her that it's okay to sweat, and that if it were easy, EVERYONE would be out running; that it is supposed to be hard, it's the hard that makes it GREAT! That seemed to work and we ran through downtown, inching closer and closer to the finish, when she suddenly STOPPED. I could see the finish line up ahead about 200 meters, and I told her that I'd wait for her on the other side; I wasn't planning on walking through the finish line. That was all it took, and ZOOM my girl took off and sprinted past me, past a bunch of other women, and crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of me. You can see her in the photo below, a blurry mess of pink on the left side.
I was so proud of her. She finished in 43:10, which is a new PR for HER by nearly 15 minutes! And she ran more than she ever has before. I was (and am) so proud of her and now she has a new goal to beat when we do the Women's Running 5K in November. We'll have many many 5K's between now and then, but November is the one we'll train for. I'll also be participating in the Iron Girl Triathlon in Clermont in September, 2013. Soon I'll be able to say that I'm a multi-sport Iron Girl!
Thank you Iron Girl, Athleta, and Polar for believing in me, sharing my story and letting me inspire other women. But let's not forget about our daughter's. We need to empower our daughter’s to embrace an active lifestyle. We need to show them the way. We need to give them the courage and confidence to seize physical opportunities and not let anything hold them back. Let’s teach our daughters that they don’t have to dream about being runners. They are runners. They are Iron Girls.