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On Losing Weight and Gaining Life

I’m a wife to a wonderful man I met in college (Washington State University – Go Cougs!) and a mom of one son, who is 4 going on 14. We live in the suburbs of Seattle with two champion boxers (dog-showing is our family hobby).

Young Athlete

Growing up, I played lots of sports, including softball, soccer, basketball, swimming, track and field. Swimming and soccer were my main sports through high school. In high school, the track coach noticed I was not a sprinter (was it that obvious?) and suggested I try out for cross country. I did okay my junior year on the cross country team, but in hindsight, I wasn’t that dedicated. Before my senior year, I contracted mono, which damaged my immune system. Suddenly, I had allergies and asthma, and I didn’t know how to deal with these things. I quit the cross country team my senior year before the season really even began.

I continued to swim and play soccer, though. After high school, it never occurred to me to try out for college sports, but I did continue to play soccer in the intramural league and I took advanced soccer for credits one year at WSU – haha!

Post-College Weight-Gain and Weight-Loss

After college, I was an editor at a newspaper. I worked long hours and I had no idea how to exercise on my own – without a team around me. I rarely exercised, and I ate poorly. I struggled with my weight. I picked up running again before I got married, though, and that plus Weight Watchers helped me get my body slimmed down some for my wedding in 2002.

After our Maui honeymoon, I returned to my old, bad habits and regained the weight. I tried (not very hard) to lose, but I was not motivated to exercise. At 5’7” and over 200 pounds, I’d finally had enough of the up and down. That, and I decided the reason I could not get pregnant was because of my weight. I went back to Weight Watchers and I stuck with it. By eating better and walking occasionally on my lunch hour (at that time as a communications editor at a Fortune 150 company), I dropped about 40-45 pounds.

Being a New Mom

And then I got pregnant. I did well for the first five months, but I gained 12 pounds in the sixth month and I gave up. I ate whatever I wanted (except banana splits because my doctor had scolded me about those at my sixth-month appointment).

I don’t know exactly how much weight I gained during my pregnancy, but I think I got up to 218, maybe more. Obviously, some of those pounds went away after the baby was born, and nursing helped a little. During my pregnancy, I bent over while decorating the Christmas tree and was not able to stand back up…or walk, sit or do much of anything for two days. Slowly, after a few months of shooting pain down my left leg, I was able to get back to normal, if a slight limp is normal.

Sciatica and Making a Change

But a couple of months before my son’s first birthday, I was picking him up and the shooting pain returned. Again, I couldn’t walk – at least, not without a now-severe limp, and just carrying my son around was excruciatingly painful.

I tried to deal, but being in pain 24-7 does things to you mentally. I was very depressed. I was overweight. I was worried I wasn’t enjoying motherhood enough. One day, I couldn’t help it, I had to write about it. I had a mom blog, and I wrote about it on there and people were basically yelling at me to go to a chiropractor. So, I did.

That helped a little, but after more and more appointments, he was worried he wouldn’t be able to cure my pain. He sent me to get an MRI (as suspected a big ol’ herniated disc causing the muscles to swell and push on the sciatic nerve), and gave the name of a good neurosurgeon. But he also said something to me that, I think, was the spark that ignited my life-changing journey.

“You just need to lose weight.”

Nobody had ever been so blunt before. I’d already started Weight Watcher Online, but the pounds weren’t coming off very fast. I needed to exercise. Sometimes, I would see runners and dream of running – feeling the wind in my ponytail. I’d often ran on my own in my neighborhood when I was growing up (which now, I think, was a way to get out of our loud, hectic house!).

The neurosurgeon ordered me a cortisone shot in my back and, wow, that helped! The pain became manageable. I iced and Ibuprofined…and I began going on short walks with my son. It was the summer of 2009 and I felt I was ready to remake myself into a more happy, healthy mom.

About Mom vs. Marathon

After about a month of walking, I decided to try to run. I remember this moment exactly. I was wearing black Teva flip-flops and pushing my son in his red plastic car. I ran a few steps and my back didn’t hurt. I mean, I knew the herniated disc and nerve were there, but it wasn’t painful. I could run!

The next day (I believe it was July 18, 2009), I dug an old, dirty pair of running shoes out of the coat closet, put T Junior in my hand-me-down jogger and I ran/walked for about 20 minutes. It was pretty great!

I decided that I would work my way up to a marathon, and inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, decided to write a blog about the journey. So there you have it, the story of Mom vs. Marathon!

My Writing Career

I am a communications professional — I write, edit and manage publications. Read more about my writing experience by clicking on my Hire Me link.