As it turns out, I am pretty darn good at losing weight. Before I knew it I had lost 60lb without ever once exercising. I made small changes in my diet such as cutting out soda (I used to drink a 2L bottle of Caffeine Free Pepsi a DAY) and fast food. I was pretty proud of myself and slowly started adding in walking around the lake near where I worked. After a few months that walking turned into trying to run for 30 seconds at a time and then one minute. I would run/walk a mile every day and it became a great way for me to clear my head and focus. Eventually, after 4 months or so, I tried running an entire mile and I did it! I was beyond proud.
Around the time I started running I met a guy that I fell head over heels for. In hind sight it was a completely one sided situation but at the time I didn't know any better. I was thrilled that a guy who I thought would never give me a second look 60lb before was actually giving me the time of day so I accepted a lot more in our "relationship" than I should have. My weight loss slowed down during this time (because I was in love) but I kept my running/walking schedule every day at the lake. At the end of the summer I got the dreaded phone call to tell me that he had met someone else. I was beyond crushed in a way I had never been before and in an act of desperation and grasping at straws to put some sort of sense back into my life I signed up for a 5k. I had only ever run that one mile straight through once but I decided I could do it. I was determined.
And do it I did. I started training every day at the lake and by the time the 5k rolled around I was able to run the whole thing almost completely through. I crossed the finish line crying and to the song "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera. It was a pretty defining moment in my life and one of my proudest to date.
After my 5k I felt on top of the world and started entering every race I could. It was October so there weren't many but I ran every one I could find within an hour's drive. My third 5k I was finally run straight through and I never looked back. I gradually increased my mileage until I started training for the Mountain Goat Run that is in May. It's a brutal 10 miler known for being almost completely uphill (and we have some serious hills here in Syracuse). By this point I had reached the weight I would stay at for the next year or so (138lb) meaning that I had lost 119lb total and had gone from a size 22 to a size 4-6. That thought still amazes me. After the Mountain Goat I ran my first half marathon in Lake Placid and it was an amazing day in my life that I will never forget (especially since I got a stress fracture in the middle of it and still finished the race. I didn't find out until a week later why I couldn't even walk when I crossed the finish line and slowed down. Adrenaline is a powerful thing, my friends.)
I spent the next few months running many races except for 5k's which started to annoy me (more on that later, I'm sure). Then at the end of 2010 I started having some heart problems. My heart rate would get so fast even during easy runs that I couldn't breathe. I would have to start walking just to get it to calm down. My dr wasn't concerned but I pressed him so I wore a device called a Holter Monitor for 24hrs. That showed that even during my easy runs my heart rate would get up to 190bpm even though it should be nowhere near that high unless I was really pushing myself (my normal resting heartrate since becoming a runner is 40bpm. Normal adults have a resting HR of 60bpm). My dr was still not very concerned but I pressed him again and he sent me to a cardiologist for an ECG and sonogram. That showed that my heart structures were normal and the issue could be "electrical" per my cardiologist and that was all he said before leaving.
I was scared because of how my issues were getting worse and I was having a fast heart rate even at home so I decided to take the winter off from running. I did ok with maintaining my weight despite no exercise but then I met Alex in April and went from zero to in ridiculous love in about a week (I am sure you can see where this is going...girl in love, depressed because she can't run, cake...yeah). Before I knew it I had gained 50lb and was absolutely miserable about it. I had worked so hard to lose weight and in addition to that I had lost all of my running conditioning so I couldn't just get back to it in a way that I was used to. Running had become something of a religion to me, there is absolutely nothing I love more than a crisp fall day, sneakers in the middle of their lifetime (I only wear them for 500 miles) and a good trail. Those are the days I live for, to spend 10 miles with nothing but me and nature.
I am absolutely positive that my weight gain and inability to run played a big part in the disintegration of my relationship with Alex. But as much as I am aware of that I can't turn back time so the most I can do is focus on myself now and do what I do best: bounce back into a better version of myself post breakup. This will be my third time around and I know the potential I have for greatness. And to be honest, as heartbroken and crushed as I am right now I can't wait to meet myself in 6 months. I've already lost 10lb and I start back at the gym tomorrow. And after this breakup I am going to emerge a rockstar...just wait.