I asked and you answered – and so here is my new column (for at least the next 29 weeks)!
Why Chubby Girls Run? Well, I first started my running journey when I was 39 and chubby. 🙂 I'd been thinking that I wanted to do something a little wild and crazy before I turned 40, but I couldn't think of something that I might actually enjoy. Then, the week before my birthday, my friend Dwight said he wanted to run a marathon once just to say he did it. That definitely sounded wild and crazy!
But when I did a little research, it seemed like most “bucket list” marathoners found the experience so brutal, most only did it once. I didn't want to do anything that would hurt that bad! So I convinced John to do the Couch-to-5K podcast series with me and…one thing led to another. We did a 5K race in Brentwood, CA, and a 10K race in Santa Barbara, CA, and they were kind of fun! John and I both decided a half marathon would likely be a distance we could handle without too much discomfort. So all three of us signed up for the 2008 Pasadena Marathon and Half Marathon.
We were all so stoked for it! The race was scheduled to be exactly eight months from the date Dwight and John and I all had lunch and decided to do this crazy thing together. John and I were so excited, we rented a motel room a couple blocks away, got special shirts with “Run for CHUM” printed on them (because we were raising money for my sister's charity), and we both woke up before the alarm went off that morning. But when we walked out the motel room door – smoke! Oh no! A few minutes later, we were told the race was cancelled due to fire in the hills above!
Crap! All that training and energy for nothing. But no! We regrouped and found another race as quickly as we could. Finally, Dwight and John and I ran our first marathon and half marathon in Huntington Beach, CA, about 7 weeks before my 41st birthday! Woo-hooo!! I made my goal!
And so begins the funny part of the story. I liked it! I liked long-distance running! I never liked to run in gym class, and was relegated to the shot put and discus arena when I tried to join the track team in high school. To this day, the first mile about kills me. I've gotten better at slowing down in the first mile, but all I can think about is how I can't breathe and how slow I am and why am I doing this?! Haha!
But mile #2 – every time – brings in some of that endorphin rush. I find my rhythm, feel the grace of movement, and relax into the beat of good music punctuated by my running shoes on the sidewalk. It's basically awesome.
I kept a runner's journal from the first day (pictures of it here) but didn't record my weight at first. At the time I started, I was probably around 168 or so. A year later (April 2009), I recorded our weight in the journal because we both wanted to lose weight. I weighed 178 pounds (just shy of 81 kg).
Definitely chubby. 😉
But the fact is, I kept running because I liked it. I came in at the end of races – at least once I was last. In the 2010 Blackmores' Sydney Running Festival's Half Marathon, I limped/ran the whole 13.1 miles due to a hurt muscle a few days before. I didn't think I'd finish, but there were two women from New Zealand there and the three of us ended up kind of running together. I came in third to last in a field of thousands of runners, but I finished! And all those people in the picture – they cheered for us! (I high-fived the other two after we crossed the finish line!)
I would guess I was about 165-168 (75-76 kg) at the time. However, you want to look at it, still chubby. 🙂
Even when life went to hell in a handbasket, I'd find myself running again. I never found a way to lose any weight and stayed in the 165-178 range from March 2008 on. After John got in a motorcycle accident in March 2014, I stopped trying to exercise and spent a lot of time stress eating. By January of this year, I was up to 198 pounds (90 kg)! I actually ran a little bit even at that weight!
I don't know what happened – why now? – but at the beginning of January 2016, I decided to lose 50 pounds (nearly 23 kg) in 50 weeks…and it's working! I think a big part of my success came from deciding to blog about it (see the first post here) and from posting a picture of chubby me after losing 2 pounds the first week. There was no way I was going to let that be the last picture of me! Hahaha!
Even though I plan and expect to be down to 148 (67kg) before Christmas, the fact is that I've always been on the chubby side. And I've been chubby every single day I've ever run. And saying I'm a chubby slow runner always makes me laugh for some reason!
And if I can encourage you to do something a little wild and crazy that you don't know for sure you can do – lose weight, run a race, sky dive (that one's for you, not me!) – then I want to do that, to encourage you!
So for the next 29 Sundays – that's when I run the 2017 Carlsbad Half Marathon – I'll be writing about my running progress, what's working and what's not. If I can get some other chubby runners, girl runners, writer runners, or other runners to come guest blog and encourage us both, I'll do it!
I promise to try to keep future posts shorter. But I wanted to give us both a solid foundation to build on. Now go and build something yourself! I know from experience – you can do it!