Shawn’s Story: An Incredible Journey

Fall at the Falls

If you are reading this blog I am guessing you are a runner or a walker or maybe you are just ready to walk out the door and begin your fitness journey. That is exactly what I was doing this time last year. I had opened my door to a new way of life, a new path, and I was committed to taking my first baby steps and to moving in a forward direction. I was almost 60 years old, and I was overweight and out of shape. I was unhappy with myself, but I didn’t really believe that I could do anything that would make a difference. Let me take you back in time so you will understand where I was coming from.

Up until age 39, I had been at a healthy weight. I was in good shape and physically active. Then life took an unexpected turn. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication. Over the next year I put on 51 lbs. Over the years there were more medication changes which led to more weight gain. Last September I joined Weight Watchers and my starting weight was 241 lbs. Very discouraging for someone who had weighed 125 lbs. on her wedding day in 1983. However, this time I was determined. I learned that a goal without a plan is just a wish and I was tired of wishing.

On September 4, 2014 I embarked on my journey and stepped onto my path to fitness. I refer to it as my new birthdate. I started for a variety of reasons. I wanted to have more energy, to eat healthier, to make lifestyle changes, to improve my self-image, and to be able to do the things I once loved to do.

Joining Weight Watchers was my first step, but it wasn’t the only step I took. On January 1, 2015 I saw a virtual challenge to run/walk 2015 miles in the year 2015(www.runtheedge.com/2015-in-2015-headquarters/). My first thought was, “Are they crazy? After all, who sets that kind of goal for themselves?” My second thought was, “I love to walk so maybe it isn’t that crazy.” Right then and there I decided to jump in feet first(no pun intended)!

I did the math and figured out that it would mean committing to an average of 5.5 miles a day. I am retired and have plenty of time to walk. I usually take 2-3 walks a day. It sounds manageable if you are doing 3 walks of 2 miles rather than one walk of 6 miles. On January 2, 2015, I tied up my walking shoes and headed out. As of today I have walked almost 1,600 miles and I have walked in one 5K and in one half marathon. I never dreamed that was possible. What keeps me going is the anticipation of what is around the next corner, the next bend in the road, and the next curve in my path.

I am sharing this with you because I want you to know that the road to fitness is possible. It is full of large obstacles and roadblocks. It is littered with sore muscles and tired out days. There are days I wake up and think I can’t make myself go out the door. There are times I want to curl up in bed and go back to sleep. What gets me over those hurdles? It is knowing that my path is sprinkled with the beauty of a morning sunrise and the smiles of people I pass by. Even though I fall off the path once in a while, I know I WILL claw my way back and keep going.

What would my words be to you who are reading this? I hope they will always be encouraging, inspiring, uplifting, full of compassion and understanding. Open the door to YOUR path to fitness, take those first steps or continue on your way, and don’t ever look back. It truly is an incredible journey!