I Wasn't, But Now I Am

I still remember the conversation from so long ago. Like the mid-1990s. We were standing in the foyer in our church building, listening to a young lady describe what she was planning to do. She was training to run a marathon. I remember being awestruck and eerily jealous. I was jealous because she had a typical runner's build--petite, trim, athletic--you know the type. I was the opposite, older, bigger, not-athletic--you know the type. As I listened to her talk about her training, and then later after the marathon when she described the event, I envied her excitement and her accomplishment. I knew I was not a runner and most likely would never complete a 5-k, much less a marathon.

Over the next few years my weight and my level of activity see-sawed. I went through phases of aerobic classes at the gym, became addicted to cardio kickboxing, even worked out with a personal trainer for several months. She is the person I credit for even getting me to try jogging on the treadmill. She pushed me, just a little, but I needed that push. Soon I increased from 30 second intervals to a minute and then to a whole song and then to two songs. You get the idea.

When we started fertility treatments I gained a lot of weight. I "worked out" at the gym, but didn't push myself to jog again. Eventually, after several cycles of treatments and the emotional roller coaster, I quit "working out" at all.

In 2004, when we were completing our home study autobiography for our international adoption, I wrote something crazy to one of the questions. The question asked me to list some of my life goals. I guess it had been in the recesses of my brain, but I actually put it on paper. I wrote that I would like to train for and complete a half marathon.

Now it was on paper in a social worker's file.

In July 2005 I reached my limit. I was ready to make some changes. I started going to Boot Camp classes. Yes, that was a big leap, but I was determined.

I was the largest lady in the class. They made me run on the treadmill. It was the hardest workout ever. Yes, I went back the next day. Over the next several months I started getting stronger and able to run for longer intervals on the treadmill. It didn't happen overnight. It happened in small, small intervals. It was hard. But I liked it. I liked how I felt when I was done. I liked that I was losing weight. I liked the fact I was accomplishing something. I started to like me again.

In January 2006, I completed my first half marathon. I was hooked. I wanted to keep challenging myself to see what my body would do. Over the last 2 years I have completed 8 half marathons. I am different. I'm not afraid to set Oh My Goodness Goals anymore. I have learned about myself and of what my body is capable.

15 years ago I was not a runner. 5 years ago I was not a runner. Now I am.


  1. Hey Hollie,
    I loved this post! You are my inspiration! i have always wanted to run but never thought I could do as i have told you before I remember running the mile in highschool and wanting to throw up after...And it took me 10 minutes to run,haha! My husband just got us a gym membership so i think I am going to follow in your footsteps and start out slow and see where I go from there! Thanks girl! You're the best!
    P.S- so your adopting a child? That's great! You'll have to tell us more about that!

  2. I also wanted to mention that my pastor back home was addicted to running, he always ran when he got home from work every evening. I always loved how he had a great spiritual application after one of his races! Every year on Thanksgiving, thanks to him our church with his leadership host's "The Race For Grace" his name is Pastor George Grace by the way! I guess it's a pretty big deal! For me, he's a person like the girl you metioned at the beginning of your post, he made me envy running! I don't know if my old church's race would count for your goal of running a marathon in every state but that would be so funny if you ran in that race! It's a big race in Rochester NY.
    OK, I'm done talking now!

  3. Wow- that's inspiring. I would love to be able to write that post...and just encouraged me to try something new and work towards something that seems so out of reach.
    You go girl!

  4. Wow, 8 half marathons!! This is such a great post, it's so interesting to read about your experience with running. It's hard for me to imagine being a runner at this point in my life (I'm too jiggly), but I was a runner in high school so I know the joy and freedom of it and would love to have that again.

  5. this is a great post and i can totally relate how announcing your goals even though they seem high can motivate you to do things you didn't think possible.

  6. You really inspire me! This was a wonderful post. I might have to bookmark it to read often!

  7. Hi Holly! Just wanted to let you know that I loved this post. Being a runner and running a marathon is one of my goals too. But I haven't done anything about it, HA! Maybe in 5-15 years... ;)

  8. All right - will you stop already? You're making me feel so guilty for quitting...

    Just kidding. Seriously, this was awesome. What a heart-on-your-sleeve post. I loved it. So inspiring. Even for lazies like me.

  9. hey holly-
    i read this post awhile ago, but had no time to comment. i LOVE this post! i wasn't, but now i am. yep- so many things in my life like that!
    this is such a great story- you rock. way to go after something. don't you love how we all evolve into something greater than we imagined we could be? :)

  10. Holly--

    You are a great example of someone who takes a goal and 'runs' with it! You inspire me to keep taking on bigger and better things and not feel like I can't do certain things. Looking forward to running the big '26.2' with you in 2008!

  11. What a powerful post. It is empowering when you take control of your life. Great job and very inspiring.

  12. Wow, Holly, thanks so much for sharing this. It's so great to hear your evolution in running story. 8 1/2 marathons - amazing. I just started infertility drugs and am not liking the side effects, moodiness. Good to know, it sounds normal. Again, great post - thanks for sharing.

  13. I agree with everyone else...what an excellent & inspiring post.

    You're blogging geek is really talented! ;) (seriously, tho, you're a great writer.)

  14. Love, love, love this post. I, too, am in the same situation you were a few years ago. I've run a few 5Ks, but nothing more, and never really fancied myself a runner. I'm so impressed with those that can do longer distances. I'd like to run longer distances, but it seems so overwhelming. Your post was very inspirational to me. Keep it up!

  15. Thank you all for your kind words! My intention with this post was basically share a transformation over the last few years. Running may not be for everyone, and that's okay. I just encourage you to be active in whatever way you like and work toward your goals. Set your mind and your body will follow.

    Suzi: Thanks you for asking about our adoption. God's hand was totally in that! We brought home a precious 14 month old girl from Moscow, Russia in Nov. 2004. Now she is about to turn 4 years old in a few weeks--time flies!!

  16. Thanks for the blog, I've always been a runner-NO MARATHONS- but you have inspired me, I'm training for my first half in October.
    I'm so happy for you.
    I'll go back and read some of your blogs for pointers.

  17. hi, I'm doing a little blog surfing from "when I, in awesome wonder," and I saw your marathon bird title. I hated running until about six months ago and now I am training for a half marathon in august. I'm glad to hear someone else went through a similar evolvement. keep it up.

  18. I just linked from SPT to this post and love it! I have been working hard on the treadmill- but can barely run. I like what you wrote about running for 30 seconds, and then whole songs. I will have this in my mind now as I try to push myself.
    love the post!


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