Hi!  My name is Crystal Weiss. One morning two months ago I got up and said “I am going to run.  I am going to run 5 miles.” I got up and I ran 5 miles.  The next day I did it again because I knew that if I wanted to change my life I needed to change the way I was living my life. I’ve always looked at running a marathon as an achievement I aspired to, but not until I started successfully and consistently running did I start believing I could actually do it.  I decided that the next goal for me would be completing a half marathon this coming Spring-so that is my goal with running.

I grew up the oldest of 6, and because I was adopted I looked different, and I knew I did.  Although my parents and siblings have always loved me, I felt that because I wasn’t just like them I wasn’t good enough.  That feeling has followed me around my whole life.  Another challenge for me has been body image issues.  Once again, as far back as I can remember I have not liked my body.  I remember being 6 years old and my parents telling me we were going to a pool party and being terrified at the thought that anyone might see me in my swimsuit-at 6 years old.  I wish I could go back now and say “you are beautiful, your body is growing and is strong and is perfect!! Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed.”  It really held me back.

In high school I developed eating disorders–starting with restrictive dieting and binge exercising.  When I went to college I became bulimic.  I felt isolated and broken and ugly.  Oh it hurt so bad!  Here I was, a beautiful young lady with a healthy strong body and an active mind, quirky whit and so much love and I was suffocating myself and letting life slip through my fingers.  When I was 22, I had just returned from an 18 month mission for my church and my father passed away.  I was heart broken and felt more lost than ever.

I soon thereafter got married to a wonderful man who is strong enough to handle my brand of crazy, and we started our family.  My poor self esteem and physical self destruction were still going, unbeknownst to him.  And so it continued with sporadic attempts on my part to fix myself.  I finally told my husband and my mother what was going on.  Over the last several years they have tried to help and understand.

My mother, my biggest cheerleader and counselor, decided that she knew what would help.  So last summer she sent me to a seminar by Kirk Duncan.  He is a motivational speaker and the seminar was called “Present Yourself.” My mother knew I needed a healthy dose of confidence.  At the end of the seminar, what I took home was “I am important.  I have something to say that is valid and important, and no other person can do what I can in quite the same way I can.  There is someone out there who needs to hear from me so that they can be better off.  And whatever good thing I can dream up-I can do it!!”

After getting that pep talk from Kirk, I am ready to take on my demons and make my debut into the world!  I have decided I am going to become who I want to be.  I want to be a strong, beautiful, intelligent source of strength for my family; I want to be a woman who cares for her body and can do the important things, even if they are challenging;  I want to be faithful to my God and live up to His expectations for me; and I wanted to make ripples in my community.

So that’s where I was when I decided to do my first five mile run. My running is a daily reminder that I can be triumphant.  It fills me with energy.  I feel powerful and confident.  Each step I take feels like one step farther from my old life and one step closer to my goals.  When I feel weak, I remember where it is I am headed, and I get up and run toward that destination.  It is my way of saying “I am doing this, and nothing is going to every push me down again!!”  It is a daily outward expression of an inner commitment to self improvement and progress.