Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hi! I'm Cristina and I used to hate running. Now I actually have begun to enjoy it. See that mustache wearing cutie next to me? That's my niece and it is because of her that I have found the joy in running again. That and a good sports bra. My journey into running really began about 5 years ago. 

I weighed about 40 lbs more back then and wanted to do something about the 91lbs of extra weight I was carrying. So I signed up for the Muddy Buddy with a friend. It was a fun race. In training for it I had lost about 13lbs. However, I did not find the joy in running. I found the joy in challenging myself and the camaraderie of my fellow runners but not in the running itself. Maybe I just wasn't ready.

Three years later I entered the Expedition Everest Challenge. Again, I loved the camaraderie  and the challenge but it just wasn't enough to get me into running. Flash forward three years, 60 lbs weight-loss, 20 lbs weight gain, the big four oh birthday, and six months of personal trial after trial. Something had to give and I didn't want it to be a backward slide into Potato Couchland. With an overly burdened mind and a yummy brownie in my hand I turned to my niece and asked her if she would like to run with me in the 5th annual Expedition Everest Challenge. To my surprise she said she would love to! Really? Wow, okay then. My fellow couch potato was ready to build some much needed self esteem. We would do this together.

I had a fantastic time training for the race with her. Suddenly I began to really enjoy the running and not just the companionship. I loved the way I felt after a run and I actually looked forward to the next run. With this new enjoyment came the insane act of signing up for The Tower of Terror Ten Miler. Ten miles....ten miles...what was I thinking? I asked a friend to sign up with me but the race filled up before she could register. Could I do this on my own? I have started to believe I can.

Flash forward again a few months to the Expedition race. It was a blast! Never had I had so much fun in a race. My niece was a trooper. We encouraged each other the entire time and laughed along the way. As we left the park - proudly wearing our medals - she turned to me and asked if we were doing it again next year. Of course! Then we hugged and she talked about how she couldn't feel her legs. She also talked about how she wished both of her parents could have been there to see her start the race and then see her and greet her as she walked triumphantly to the car with her medal around her neck. On the way to the hotel she thanked everyone in the van for coming out to see her and expressed to them how much it truly meant to her and how much she loved them*.

And now she is going to help me train for the TOT in September. Plus, we have decided to enter the Donald Half Marathon 2013 together. This 14 year old helped pay for her entrance fee. I think the self confidence has finally begun. Now you my friends can follow our journey as we train together for my solo TOT and our joint Half Marathon. I plan to lose the rest of this weight and become one hot potato! But I know I'll gain more than just health...I'll gain more self confidence for me and watch a wonderful young woman become a confident young woman.

Let's run!

* This experience taught me that throughout our lives what we most crave is the support from our parents and family. We never stop saying "Mom...Dad...look at me! Look at what I can do!" We all just want to make our families proud. I know it meant the world to me that my own parents came along to watch their daughter start a race even though they couldn't see me finish it. And that is why this blog is titled Look At Me Guys!