Growing up there were two things that were almost guaranteed to me in school and they were a C average in math and a 20 minute mile run time. While they have no direct correlation to one another they were two things that I absolutely dreaded having to complete. I remember contemplating lading wrong during the run and twisting my ankle just enough to get me out of the mile but not bad enough for a cast and crutches. I had similar thoughts about math but opted to taking an incredibly long walk to the restroom to avoid being called for the answer to a math problem. I’d sit there in the stall and count the floor tiles before walking back to class hoping it was just enough time for me to miss that window of random selection.
On New Years Eve I signed up for Run The Year 2017, which is a challenge to run 2,017 miles this year. This distance is like running from my hometown through 8 states to Elephant Butte, New Mexico or to Boston, Massachusetts and back roughly four times.
After signing up, all runners were to connect to the private Facebook group where people can share their stores, miles logged, and other inspirational content to keep everyone motivated for 365 days. Seeing the posts of other people like me has been such an encouragement and kicked in my competitive drive to get off my butt and start running.
While I’ve been battling my annual winter cold I still laced up my sneakers and hit a trail with my dad while my mom took our 9 week old yellow lab for a short walk. One day he will make a great running partner, however right now those stubby little legs of his just aren’t fast enough to keep up believe it or not!
Today I am able to run the entire mile in roughly 10 minutes and can continue into a second mile. Last September I ran a 5k in 38 minutes. My previous 5k was completed in 2012 when I was tipping the scales at 280 pounds – the heaviest I’ve ever been. I have since lost 50 pounds and have begun to focus on both my eating habits and physical activity to continue to shed the weight.
Running has taught me how to love the process of finding a healthy lifestyle and shown me how much my body can endure. I am able to set small goals for myself every time I hit the street, trail, or treadmill and it’s such a motivator for me. I cannot wait to see where I’ll be at the end of the year. It makes me smile to think back to my younger self hating the days of the required mile run fitness test and loathing every minute of it. I still try my hardest to dodge answering any math related questions…some things will never change I guess.
©Megan Matos, January 2017
Header image downloaded from Pexels.com