Road to Richmond – Let’s Run

All my life I have been athletic. A more accurate description would probably be to say I have been competitive. My competitive spirit just manifested itself in basketball, softball, and track. About 8 years ago, I took on the task of competing in the #1 market in the world, New York City. I helped build a radio station’s new format from the ground up. I worked hard and long to win. Fitness was not a thought. Winning was. I worked long hours every day of the week while traveling back and forth to DC (and often worldwide) multiple times a week.

The stress of work, traveling, and some personal issues, threw me into the unhealthiest time of my life. I ended up in the hospital on several occasions. My weight pushed 250 pounds. My blood pressure was low while my cholesterol and sugar levels were high. I was becoming unproductive and a poor example to my daughter. Something had to change.

I became like Adam and Eve. Once they realized they were naked they wanted to clothe themselves. In my case, once I realized I was obese and unhealthy, I felt ashamed and wanted to hide. All this time I thought my clothes were shrinking and couldn’t figure out if it was my washer machine or the detergent. The doctors never came straight out and said I needed to lose weight and exercise. I was in my own world of work for so long, I lost myself and now that I could see what others saw, I did not like it and did not want anyone else to see it ever again.

I purchased a treadmill. I did not want to go out in public, which is hard to avoid as a radio personality. I certainly did not want anyone to see me working out. A treadmill in my home got me moving. I lost some weight, then I lost some more, and some more, then it got warm and I wanted to go outside. I began to run early in the morning. ‘Fewer people,’ I thought. But by leaving my house, I soon found I was not alone. A LOT of people took to the streets early in the morning of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Everybody smiled as they passed or gave a nod or a wave just to encourage you to keep going. My confidence and self-esteem were returning.

It was not long before my competitive spirit leaped again. Just running in the morning was not enough. I had to measure myself against another. So I entered my first 5k (3.1 miles). “As long as I am not last,” I told myself. I wasn’t. I was squarely in the middle of the pack. I became excited about my future. There was more 5k’s with better times. I tried trails, flat surfaces, hills, I ran it all. Then I made the jump from 5k to 10k (6.2 miles). This time I said, “I just want to finish.” I did. Logically, a half marathon would be the logical progress but I had my sights set on a marathon.

October 2013, I ran and completed The Marine Corp Marathon. Unfortunately, around mile 15, I aggravated and old basketball knee injury. I probably should have stopped running but was determined to finish. With each mile the pain got worse. I knew I had done some serious damage. As a result, I am about to enter my third round of knee rehab while I am also entering my 2014 marathon training. Yes, I am doing it again. I have chosen the Richmond Marathon to run (http://www.richmondmarathon.com/). It is a relatively flat course that is well supported and far enough away to offer plenty of time to train and prepare. I would love for you to plan to run with us.

Whether you join a running group, run with a buddy, or hit the treadmill, running is a solo event. It is a constant conversation between you, your body, the road, and your God. It offers time to sort through thoughts and evaluate circumstances without the distractions of the world. You see things you never paid attention to before. You appreciate a cool breeze and the colors of a sunrise or sunset more. When running it is very easy to find peace. I have one running buddy who often says, “Running is cheaper than therapy.”

This is the first of many posts I will offer on my road to the Richmond Marathon. Sometimes I will offer training tips, sometimes nutrition tips, sometimes training updates, and always inspiration. If you can’t run with me, please continue to encourage me. The road back from any injury is a humbling road that does not care about your status, bank account, or education. You have to put in the work. If you have never thought of running a marathon, DON’T. Think of taking one more step today than you did yesterday. Think of going a few steps further tomorrow than you did today. When you look up, you will be surprised. You can go a lot further. Just move.

*Week One: Run 2-4 miles 3x this week. Use another day to cross train and increase strength. One day (probably the weekend) go for a long run up to 6 miles. Use 2 days, in between, to rest.

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2 Comments

  1. Nanette

    Reading your story was very touching. I remember you being the motivation for me to keep going when we was in school. I can’t run the marathon with you but know I’m praying for your strength, and speedy recovery.

    • Denise

      Thank you so much and its great hearing from you. There are so many smaller races and just regular daily runs. I am getting ready to start a text club for those who want to join on some runs so stay tuned. If you ever decide to get out there definitely let me know how i can support. Stay blessed.

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