Strength and Endurance-My Journey Towards Excellence

The most important lesson I have learned thus far in my life is to always focus on my personal growth; keep myself happy first and foremost. When I take care of myself and my well-being, I am just an overall better person. I deal with potential stress-ors with more positivity, I am more patient, more open-minded, I am a better friend, a better listener and see the world full of endless opportunities.

Last year this girl began a journey. I began a new hobby and it has completely changed who I am; for the better. I first decided to pick up running due to the fact that it terrified me. In hopes of conquering another fear, I jumped in not knowing at all what to expect.

I have spoken many times of my running adventures; this is something of much importance to me. Last fall I set a goal of running a half-marathon on this very day. I have trained hard but have also faced minor set-backs in the last 7 months or so. I gained so much heart throughout this time. I learned what it felt like to push myself harder everyday and to keep pushing even when it felt like I had nothing left. I really discovered just exactly who I am. I have an iron soul and I never give up; ever.

Sometime in March I began talking with one of my managers who had just taken up running as well and was planning to complete the 5k portion of the race I had been training for. She said we should sign up together. I decided that a 5k was a more suitable and most-likely more attainable goal to shoot for as my first public exposure to running. And so began the countdown.

Today was a day I will never forget. The amount of pure adrenaline coursing through my body alone was unexplainable and just felt thrilling. Being around so many others with the same drive and passion was beyond rewarding. Not knowing what exactly to expect kept me anticipating every second. I started off strong and kept steady. My pace definitely slowed between the second mile and the finish line but I kept going. Guided by an army of runners just as dedicated as myself, pushing themselves to the limit, I made my way towards the finish line. I collected my metal and met up with my friends. Words cannot possibly begin to describe what this accomplish means to me or what I felt in that very moment. I have never been so proud of myself. Next stop, half-marathon.

So here’s to dedication, persistence, believing in yourself, dreams, goals, strength, happiness and striving to become a better person. These are the things that truly enrich our lives.

Never give up.

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How Running Saved My Life.

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At my very first remote understanding of what becoming “healthy” was, I was more than willing to jump on the bandwagon. I had explored diets religiously for years prior but what really kick-started the process was my decision to become Vegan. The way I felt on a daily basis changed for the better almost immediately. Although I still had many bad eating habits to overcome, this new way of eating and treating my body felt magnificent. I kid you not when I say that I even had people tell me I was glowing unlike ever before. Along the way I have tried many other adventures such as fasting, raw foods and even juicing. But overall I am just much more aware of what I eat and how it makes me feel. I’m not saying that I don’t eat crap sometimes because believe me I do. I have an undying love for sweets unfortunately. But when I choose to eat a lot of things that aren’t exactly healthy I do know that I don’t feel well and I don’t like feeling that way. I’ve learned that I would rather eat to feel energetic, nourished and happy. So I had already broken through the initial barrier between the very unhealthy way I used to live and this newly adopted, energized, smart and worthwhile lifestyle.

I never thought I could stand to run longer than maybe a minute at a time. I didn’t think my body could handle it. Thankfully, there were success stories of my friends everywhere I looked and I had heard of the Couch to 5k program. Slowly I built my pain tolerance because believe me, it was and still is at times, excruciating.

While I’m running, nothing else matters. The stretch marks, the little belly I’ll probably never fully get rid of, the patches of cellulite here and there, the countless times I was picked on and called “fat” as a child and beyond… It all disappears. I have nothing to prove to anyone surrounding me. I exist only inside my own mind. The thoughts I produce while running are nothing short of powerful. I feel undeniably amazing. I can conquer anything. It is a high matched by nothing else I have ever felt.

Most of my initial runs have been at the gym, confined to the treadmill, due to the fact that I am not yet inclined to do so outside in the cold. I made a discovery while having interactions with many of the same people on a daily basis at the gym. Sometimes when I’m running so hard and pushing myself further than I ever have, I glance to my right, then to my left. I imagine that we are all an army of soldiers running together, supporting each other. We are the walls that hold each other up. We are a team. I am inspired to be among others who are doing what they love. I feel this is extremely symbolic of our lives. Without our own personal armies of soldiers, we can feel so frail at times. It helps to have those people by your side. Friends, family and strangers alike.

Who knows how far this new hobby will lead but I sure am learning new things about myself along the way. It has already been the most rewarding process of my life. Much respect to all my fellow runners out there.

Steps of Success

Tomorrow I start marathon training for the first time in my life. I’ve researched this a lot and most training programs I’ve found start about 18 weeks out from the actual marathon. The soonest marathon happening in this town is next May. Running in a marathon has been a dream of mine ever since my first successful run. I will run a half marathon(13.1 m) first in May and then run a full marathon(26.2 m) next November in NYC. I will admit feeling a little intimidated due to the strenuous nature of it all. The most I’ve ran straight up until this point is 4 miles, thanks to my Couch to 5k training. But I can only imagine how rewarding all if this will feel in the end. I need to stay focused and re-vamp my diet. This will be tricky with the Vegan factor but definitely possible. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made thus far I can’t wait to reach my full potential. It sure feels great to have such an important goal to focus on again. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

Triumph.

Back in January I began the Couch to 5k Program.
This is actually a 10 week program but I have strayed a little bit from month to month due to life distractions. I still ran here and there, just didn’t stick to the full plan. Well I am more than proud to say that today I finished my last run and by far the biggest accomplishment. I ran 3 miles(5k)/thirty minutes without rest. The very first run, back in January, was a mere minute. I remember the running process being very brutal on my body at first. I was pushing myself extremely hard and it was unlike anything I had ever put myself through. My legs were swollen and very sore for the first several weeks. But I soon caught on and although there are still days that I am less motivated than others, I think it’s safe to say that I am a runner 🙂 I plan to keep this up as it is my wish to participate in a 1/2 marathon at some point. I am not always filled with the necessary motivation to push myself towards certain goals but when I do give my all, I am unstoppable. As long as I remember this, I can have the whole wide world. Surely, I will.

July 17

Today marks seven months since I started my ultimate quest towards healthiness. I’ve had some inconsistencies along the way but I always end up back on track. Thanks to my newfound love of running and a renewed passion for the gym, I have managed to slowly get back in shape. Today I am down 35 pounds. I’m not there yet but proud of what I’ve accomplished. I have been really pushing myself and it has been literally exhausting. Thankfully hard work does pay off.

Success Stories

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In an effort to switch things up I have a new plan. I will post a new success story every week. These may range in topic from personal, career, lifestyle, love, travel or simply random. I need some sunshine and I plan to make it happen. So here goes the first edition of Jamie’s Success Story.

Back in the beginning of January I decided it was time to make some important health decisions. I knew I needed to change my eating and exercise habits. I joined a gym for the first time in close to a year, started counting calories with the loseit! app and eating healthier. I also began the Couch to 5k running program. I was always one of those people who was terrified of treadmills. Now I cannot get enough. Thankfully Spring has sprung and I’m looking forward to being able to start running outside. I still have a long way to go but am proud to say that as of today I am down 20 pounds since January. Not to mention the lowest weight I’ve been at in close to ten years. I have another 40 or so to lose until I finally reach my target weight and am really looking forward to the challenge. I finally understand how to conquer this weight loss battle and I’m going to take it a day at a time.