Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm a Runner

I had this amazing experience last Sunday. I ran the whole 8 k at the Goodlife Fitness Marathon. Maybe not a big deal to many, but to me it was a goal that took me 3 years to reach.

In October 2007 one month before my band surgery I did the Royal Victoria 8k. My surgeon, Dr. Brad Amson had asked me to do it. I think he asks patients to do it because it shows a desire to really take exercise seriously and to prove to him that you are ready to do what it takes to make it happen. I remember when he said it to me. I looked at him and nodded yes...but in my head I was thinking.. WHAT are you crazy! I weigh over 300 pounds. Anyways, I figured if he thinks I can do it...maybe I can.

So I decided first thing I would do is get a really good pair of proper running shoes. I figure, if I am really serious about this I better take good care of these poor feet holding up all this weight. I went to Front Runners, which is a hard thing to do....walk in a fitness store at 300 pounds and not feel like everyone there is going to chuckle about the fat girl buying running shoes. The man who helped me was wonderful. He owns the store and he is very good at what he does. I tried on lots of pairs and he watched how I walked to find the right type for my flat feet. He was very professional and super cute too! I paid well over $100.00 and I battled in my mind about spending that much but decided that I plan on doing this as a regular part of my life so it was worth it.

So I started walking and joined a woman's fitness club, much like Curves. The ladies there were great and super positive. So off I went...walking. Got myself an MP3 player and had awesome inspiring tunes to keep me motivated.

That first 8k in 2007 was a turning point for me. I did finish it in 1:37 and when I heard my timing chip beep when I crossed the finish line tears were streaming down my face. I felt like the journey had started and I was on my way. What an emotional moment for me.

I also decided to get a photo of that day and then one two years later when I would (hopefully) be at my goal weight. I did the 8K in 2008 in 1:23, 100 pounds lighter and then in 2009 in 1:04 having lost 155 pounds..about 5 pounds from goal.

Over the last year I have gone regularly to boot camp 2-3 times a week and built up my cardio. For some reason I just could not seem to run very far with out stopping and walking. Nicole my boot camp trainer kept telling me it is a mental block as I am fit enough to do it.

On Sunday October 3rd I ran the 5K Run for the Cure with my Boot camp girlfriends. One of my friends is a cancer Survivor and she is amazing! After everything she has been through and there she is looking healthy and fit, running her butt off!!! My other wonderful friend has also lost a lot of weight. All three of us ran the whole 5K. The energy there was so positive. It was an awesome day and a milestone for me.

It was a mental block that was holding me back. I kept running when my knee started went away. I kept running when i felt went away. When I saw the finish line at the 5K I sprinted to it and realized I had lots of energy left. Maybe the 8 K was possible.

This past Sunday I ran with best friend in the world. She has been so supportive of everything I have done in my life. She has always been a healthy, fit and active person. It was so neat to be a healthy, fit and active person too. I even looked like a runner!
We had this neat thing happen...we stopped to use the porta potty befor the race and there was this huge line up. We did get through the lineups and were late to start the race. We ran down and up to a huge metal gate that ran all the way down the street. We could not get in. We had followed 2 other people and they too were trapped behing the fence. This amazing man, maybe around 50ish, got down on all fours on the concrete and said "Here, use my back". The 2 ladies stepped on his back and up and over the fence. Sue went next. I was last. I kept looking at the fence to see if I could scale it way. I looked way down the street to the entrance..too far, and I looked at this wonderful man who offered his back as a step. I was worried I would hurt his back. Finally I thought I am not 300 pounds anymore I am normal size...I am strong and can use my arms to pull myself up and not put too much weight on his back. It was weird all these thoughts going through my head...fat girl thoughts. Sue said "it's ok" so I did it. Up and over. Landed solid and off we ran to join the race. I yelled back to him "Thank You! " and gave him a big wave as I ran away. I will never forget him. How kind. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about him.

Wow..longest post in the world! So off we went. I knew the race course and thought I can run to the turn around part of the course (4.5k) got there and kept going. Got to 6K and thought.. Hey, I have never done that before!" kept going and thought only 2K and your there. Sue and I saw each other and cheered each other on several times. We run about the same pace. At the 7K marker I thought I feel so tired, but if I walk now I will be so dissapointed in myself. Keep going! So I did and sprinted across the finish line!! I turned around and there was Sue. We hugged and had a few tears and celebrated a great run. 53 minutes! Sue said "next year we do the half" and now I think it is possible! My life has changed so much in so many ways. It feels great to challenge my body and see it getting stronger. I always thought those "runners" were crazy.....Now I get it! Next year the 21K Half Marathon!


  1. Oh Barb, so proud of you! I loved your post. It brought back my own memories of buying my first pair of running shoes- very different than plain old 'sneaks!


  2. Hey- I linked to your blog, hope you don't mind?

  3. Love this post! You look AMAZING! You're such an inspiration.

    I was banded in February and have lost 92 lbs. (41.7 kg.). I'd like to lose about 25 lbs. (11.3 kg.) more. Stop by and visit me at

  4. Hi Barb,

    I found you by way of Brooke. I was banded earlier this year and am working my way towards goal. I started running a few months ago - something that I always wanted to but didn't think I could. I'm working towards 10K but it's tough. You've inspired me to keep working at it. Congrats on all that you've accomplished. I'm looking forward to reading more.

  5. Hi Barb,

    I'd love to follow you but I am not sure how. Great to see your blog though. Very inspirational to a newbie like me. I just turned 46 so I have had those concerns that losing the weight would be harder if not impossible for me. So glad to see that the band is successful even at our age.

    Libby -

  6. Hi Barb,
    This was such an amazing day! I am now looking forward to running the 1/2 marathon with you next fall. Woo-hoo!

  7. Thanks for your comment :) You have done an amazing job!