Everyday Heroes

Lizette’s Story (Part 1)

RUN. Part 1

If someone would have told me five years ago that I would be training to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I would have laughed in their face! Don’t get me wrong, I have been a runner for a long time and love the sport, but the idea of running for more than 2 -5 miles without pain was out of the question. Almost every time I laced my shoes and hit the streets, the experience was physically and emotionally unbearable. I never understood why. Why did my knees start hurting after running for only 1-2 miles? Why did my hips feel unstable? More importantly, why did my heart feel heavy?

Here’s why: At 5 feet 2 inches, I weighed almost 170 pounds and felt a sense of desperation and anguish. So, I immediately jumped on the treadmill and started running. I ran 5-7 miles per day, 6 days per week. In addition, I drank at least one gallon of water everyday, ate fish or chicken with vegetables religiously and often replaced meals with shakes in hopes it would speed up the weight loss process. Yes I was hungry all the time, yes I had crazy mood swings and yes I could sleep like a log for most of the day, but hey! I was 40 pounds down. That’s what mattered right!?

No. Because that lifestyle was unsustainable. That lifestyle left me feeling hungry, tired and unhappy.

What I have learned about health and fitness is that I needed to approach it with (self) love, (self) care and patience. This past year, I have learned that fitness shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment for gaining weight or eating and drinking a little too much. Instead, I now see fitness as a celebration of my body’s ability to move and function! I run because I have legs that move and healthy lungs that allow me to breathe. I strength train because it will make me a stronger runner and allow me to reach my goal to one day run a full marathon. And listen, if I do start to feel pain or discomfort … I REST. I allow my body to recover and then I go at it again!

The bottom line is, I now run because I love my body and am so amazed by the things it can do; not because I hate it.