This was a year of getting on that fit train. This was the year that I realized that I was no longer healthy. I had quickly lost all that weight I gained when pregnant with my boys who were 15 months apart. It was easy. I didn't diet, and the only exercise I had was gardening and chasing the boys. My oldest was diagnosed with mild Diplegic Cerebral Palsy. After years of therapy and a few major surgeries, life was finally starting to calm down a little, but my anxiety level was through the roof. I had extremely high cholesterol, low iron, esophageal ulcers, constant hives, dizzy spells, constant cold sores, unending colds and infections, and was told by my doctor that I was a walking time bomb. My anxiety was so bad that there were times I would go to the ER for fear I was having a heart attack. After trying different medications for all my ailments, along with seeing a counselor, I was still not finding any relief. That's when we met our new neighbors. They were runners. My husband starting running with the neighbor. After a few months, we learned of a "Poker Run" which was a fund raiser for a local children's charity to benefit children in need of gifts during the holidays. It was suppose to be just for fun. You run from bar to bar in a three mile loop and collect a playing card. The best hand wins. There was no timing, no first place winner, no last place. Only the person with the best poker hand would win. My thought was, "I can do that". But to test my non-running legs, I decided the night before to take a run around the .75 block in our neighborhood. I made it back alive, but I felt like I was dying. My brother who had just completed Iron Man that summer told me that what I was experiencing was blood flow to the brain that hadn't been felt in years. He assured me I would be fine. Surprisingly, I was just fine. It felt great to run, even if it was just in short intervals this time. That next week, I began my goal of running a little further each day.
In April of 2009, I was ready for my first 5k. After running all winter outdoors, I knew I would be ready for my first race. After battling some shin splints and learning that increasing my mileage too quickly and the need for better running shoes, I had learned a lot about running. I did surprisingly well for my first race. I was so nervous, I didn't know what to expect. I finished with a time of 29:23. Not too bad for my first race. This gave me the confidence to get faster and sign up for more races. That November, I was able to shave an entire minute off my 5k time on a hillier course. I finished with a time of 28:16. The following spring, I had a PR on the first course I ever ran with a time of 27:06.
My husband signed up for a local half marathon that was being held that April of 2010. I knew I would never be ready so I agreed to be his cheerleader and photographer. As the months passed and my mileage grew, I got comfortable with my runs. I had a schedule set that allowed me to increase my mileage. Instead of it just being something to relieve stress and get my blood flowing, had become something I really enjoyed. When race day rolled around, I wished I had signed up for that half marathon. I was bummed I didn't run it. I was ready after all, with my mileage at a comfortable 12 miles. I came to realize that I actually enjoyed running, so instead, my husband signed me up for the Lake Placid Half Marathon. I thought it was a great idea until the day came closer and I realized that it was a very hilly course that seemed to never end. But I survived, with my husband by my side to assure me I was doing fine and to keep me motivated. I finished with a smile and couldn't wait to do my next one.
Over the course of the next couple of years, we added lots of finisher medals to our collection for various distances of road races. I even had a few age group winning placements that I can be proud of.... But eventually, I felt like there must be something more out there. That's when we discovered Obstacle Course Racing. We saw a video on YouTube of this race where you do obstacles, run through mud, get electric shock and many other things that looked like more fun than just running on the road. We weren't sure if we were quite ready for that big race at the time, but there was set to be a local mud run that we signed up for to be sure we liked it first. Needless to say, we fell in love with it! Within a few weeks we were signed up for our first Spartan Race! Instead of going for a small race, we signed up for the Spartan Beast at Killington, VT.