It’s not my story to tell, certainly not the whole story any way. But I can share my experience… watching my first friend from childhood (we’ve been friends for nearly 40 years) set off on the journey to a fitter, healthier lifestyle. She thanks me frequently… but it has been her hard work, focus, refocus, dedication and sweat that got her across the finish line of her first 5K. All I did was cheer.
Sandra would say that she was never an athletic person and probably confirm that physical activity was miserable. It wasn’t something she enjoyed or gravitated toward. In fact I believe that exercise was quite painful for Sandra – especially in the years that followed high school into our working life.
Somewhere in her late 30’s, Sandra began a journey of fitness and healthy living that has been truly motivation beyond belief. You can read about her story here on her blog: Slim Down with Sandee.
She shared her struggles of losing weight on her blog – and inspired so many folks to begin their own journey. I remember the days when her motivation was so high and the successes were coming often. It was so inspiring to watch. Sandra went through the start and stop cycle that we all go through and over the long haul has made permanent changes that have lasted years. When she reached out to me last year and said that she wanted to do a 5K – she asked, “would I join her?. There was no place else I would have been that day. I was so excited for her.
I share Sandee’s journey – not from her perspective, but from mine. Seeing my dearest sister begin the journey of running (Couch to 5K plan) was so inspiring. Having started running myself nearly 8 years prior, I understood what she was up against. Starting the journey from inactivity to becoming active is a challenging experience. The body begins it’s process of adaptation – and frankly, it can be quite uncomfortable. I recall my own loathing of running initially – the frustration, the complete sense that I was horrible at it and that it would never get easier, it would never get better. It was with this memory that my thoughts went out to Sandra.
She would post her workouts on Facebook – and I recall watching the intervals where she ran longer grow and walked become shorter… I watched her pace increase, slowly but surely. She was getting stronger – the numbers were showing it. The day that she posted that she just finished her run on a 40F rainy day – she attained BEAST MODE in my book!
Each week she posted… her training sessions on the track. Minute after minute, lap after lap, running around that track. All I could think about was how mentally tough she was – out there running around a track over and over and over again…. and she just kept going. She will probably never know how seeing her workouts made me feel accountable to my own training. How knowing she was out there busting her butt was so inspirational to me.
When the day for her race finally arrived – she was surrounded by her wonderful collection of loving souls to run with her. As we warmed up for the race – she asked me which one of my races was my favorite. I remember trying to think about which of all of the events that I had done was my favorite. They were each unique in their own way – offering new and different challenges. None stood out as a favorite… each just different.
When Sandra and I crossed the line of her first 5K – a very hilly and hot 5K color run…. the pride and joy at watching her accomplishment washed over me… my favorite race… was running with Sandra in her first 5K.
Way to go, Sandra!!! You are a runner. Now, and forever, running the race set before you… running the race with strength, determination, faith and love. You are a winner! You are my sister!