Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and competition have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. However, I began running in high school only after facing some setbacks. I had difficulty breathing, an asthma diagnosis, and minor weight gain that I suffered while trying to play soccer, a sport that I had enjoyed since childhood. I was by no means overweight for my height, but with the combination of eating fast food on the road while warming the bench as a freshman on my high school soccer team and traveling the marching band, I was overeating, relatively sedentary, and eating all of the wrong foods. I am petite and I have a relatively small frame so the excess weight brought me down quickly and I was struggling both physically and emotionally.
My family purchased a treadmill the winter following that difficult soccer season and I can still remember my first run. I attempted to hide in the basement away from everyone during the intermission of a Pittsburgh Penguins game. I had mentally prepared myself for the worst and ran about a mile with the treadmill speed set to 5.0 (which is about equivalent to a 12 minute mile) and forced myself through. I knew that I could not stop though if I wanted to maintain a healthy lifestyle and succeed in sports, so I ran through the winter gradually increasing both my time and my pace eventually adding inclines and as the weather improved, I moved outdoors to the track. Running certainly helped my endurance and performance on the soccer field.
While living at home, I still struggled with breathing issues when running outdoors, however years later after sporadic physical activity my first few years of college, I began running again. This time things were different. I was not running with the motivation of improving my performance in another sport, running became something I enjoyed, time that I got to dedicate to myself, and a way to work off the freshman 15. I was improving quickly and even beginning to win age group awards in some of the races I did locally.
Then several months after graduating college, I got a job working on a political campaign, where an easy short day of work would last from 9am until 9pm and the average diet was comprised almost entirely of pizza with a few donuts tossed in. This was not helpful to my waistline or my running goals, however I met my husband during this time period so those minor setbacks were completely worth it. Following the campaign, I moved to Washington, D.C. where I eventually got my dream job. I have been working in the city for several years now and I honestly still have not adapted to city living or the often unpredictable work hours.
I have been running actively again for several months now and my husband and my dog, Nigel often join me on my runs. I have a long way to go before I am back in good form but I am enjoying myself and running has helped me stay sane despite a crazy job and living in a still somewhat unfamiliar place.