Born to Run…I just didn’t know it for 40 years.

Back in 2010 it occurred to me that the 40-year birthday was barreling down life’s highway…despite many wonderful things that fill my life like faith, a supportive husband and family, a job I love, wonderful friendships…I was tired, and I was tired of being heavy.

Back then I didn’t have a regular exercise routine… at all. And, if you’d have asked me about running, I’d have told you, “mark my words: EVEN if I was skinny, I would *never* be a runner.” But I realized something. If you look at longterm runners…you don’t find a single one that is 100+ pounds overweight.

So, looking one year into the future to that 40th birthday that was looming, in the spring of 2010, I decided to give it a shot.  I started using the Couch-to-5K (C25K) app on my phone and planning to run a 5K that was part of the Kansas City Marathon in October of that same year.

I felt like I’d signed up for a 100 mile run. There were days I didn’t think I could do it. There were definitely days I didn’t want to do it, but I ran anyway. Some days I ran by myself and many days my good friends Cindy and Kari ran with me, encouraging me… Actually, if you know my friend Kari – she’s not the real touchy-feely-syrupy-sweet type of encourager. Some days it was MOVE YOUR LEGS ALREADY. Kari is so subtle. I love that about her.

I ran up and down my street, the treadmill at the YMCA, around the block, across town… and when I say “running”, just know there was a lot more walking in those early months…a LOT, but I kept pushing because I had told so many people that I was going to run this 5K race in October. I had no choice but to try.

You’d have thought this was a full blown marathon with the crazy support that showed up to run me through the first 5K…Tisha, a college friend who’s stood by me thru thick-and-thin came in from Wichita, and Tracy, another dear friend who owns the gym where I work out and who had initially supported me by SCREAMING with the encouraging “YOU CAN SO DO THIS!” came in from Minneapolis. Sarah had flown in from Georgia and my sister-in-law, who I love so much, showed up! They didn’t care that it was only 5K – just about the shortest distance run you can do…They all had faith in me even when I still wasn’t so sure myself.

This is April. She drove 4 hours to be there for my first 5K. High school co-hort, partner in crime, maid-of-honor… She believes in me. And together, we all did it… different finishing times, different training methods, different motivators…but we did it! I loved it, and I kept running.

Here’s Tracy and I at the Jingle Bell Run a few months after that…notice our little papercrafty mitten badges that I made to go with our stocking caps and tinsel trim?

Here’s a shot of my daughter and I in the first 5K we ran together the spring of 2011. It was called the Hot Dog 5K. I don’t think running with mom was the motivator for her. My girls love hot dogs…just sayin’…but she did it at 10 years old! I am so proud of her!

And then in May, 2011…two weeks before than dreaded 40th birthday… a longtime running girls group in my town invited me to run with them one day. I was scared and embarrassed. They’d been running for years, and I was so slow.  They were patient and encouraging. And, I remember the morning of my 40th birthday we ran 4 miles. I *RAN* 4 miles.

I’d still get tired and frustrated, and I’d call my friend Jen in Fresno, California who does personal training. She’d give me some tips and talk me off of a wall.

And, in July, the running girls told me that we were *ALL* doing this:

And because they believed in me, when I was too naive to know what I was agreeing to, I said ok. I never looked at the training plan. I just showed up each morning that they told me to, and I ran.

4 miles. 5 miles. 6 miles. 7 miles. 8 miles. 9 miles. 10 miles. 11 miles. 12 miles.

And four months later, in October 2011, here we are at the finish line. I ran a half marathon. I ran 13.1 miles without stopping.

Last weekend, I ran The Color Run Kansas City with my sister-in-law, Toni (oh, how I thank God that she agreed to marry my brother so many years ago!) and my running girls.

This is the Happiest 5K on Earth! LOL… I think I still have dye in strange places…

So maybe you are reading this and you want to make changes, but you know running isn’t your thing…ok, so find something that is and stick with it long enough to decide if it really isn’t your thing or if you just need to push past the wall. Every challenge has a wall, and for decades I gave up too soon.  I talked myself into thinking ____ will never work for me because _____.

Mark my words, until I was 39 years old and wondering how I would ever set a healthy example for two of the most beautiful pre-teen girls you’ve ever seen, I was NEVER going to be a runner.

I am still slow. I do not have perfect form. I do not wear cute, trendy running clothes. I am not at goal weight.

I can set and accomplish goals for myself. I can improve. I can demonstrate healthy habits for my daughters. I can shop for clothes in a normal clothing store. I can exercise anywhere … NYC, Boston, Chicago, Melbourne, Australia, Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Kansas City, little ole town on the prairie in Midwest America. No special equipment, gym or weather required.

I believe in myself. I was born to run.

47 responses to “Born to Run…I just didn’t know it for 40 years.

  1. That was so awesome to read, Lori! You are so inspiring! Congratulations to you, and what a blessing to have such wonderful, supportive friends and family 😀

    • I did my first c24k run this morning with my neighbor!!! I’m a Lori wannabe! Great story, great person! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Christie Klein

      I am so proud of you Lori! You are so inspiring! I wish I could do it or even have the strength to try. I so hate excersizing, but I do want to be a better role model for my kids. But they are slowly leaving the nest. One off to college this year and the twins are Sophmores.

  2. You are SO inspiring Lori!!! When i first saw your original posts about running I was like “good for her”…but to tell you the truth, after my knee injury last August, it was your posts thereafter that made me realize we only live ONE life and we have been given the miracle TO RUN. I spent the fall and spring getting my knee rehabilitated so that I could do my very first 5k this year. And you were the one that showed me it could be done. I am so proud of your accomplishments and when I run my 1/2 marathon this Dec you are going to be with me every step of the way. Love you miss Lori!! and miss you even more.

  3. Great story! And, I so appreciate the encouragement you send me when I post status updates regarding my running. As you know, it is tremendously uplifting. Happy trails, Kari Good

    and so worth it. I think you were born to run not just with your legs…but in your spirit too. I hear the freedom in your words.

    Bless you lady!

  5. I love you Lori! You are such an inspiration. You make my heart happy.

  6. YOU ROCK, LORI!! You should be so proud of yourself!! From one couch sitter turned runner to another… it is amazing what can be done when a person sets their mind to it… keep up the running and the great work!!! :)

  7. Such an inspiring story Lori!! You go girl! It’s never easy pitting yourself out there for either someone to read about or even show what you may be trying to accomplish. But no matter what, no matter whether you failed or not, you did it and the inspiration you will leave for others is priceless! Your family must be so proud! Keep it going and drive on!

  8. What an inspiring and awesome post Lori. I started running in February of this year and am probably about where you were after 6 months in. I am pretty committed to the sport, but not very fast and not very good. I hope to run my first 5k this fall and my sister and I are {thinking} of doing a princess 1/2 marathon in Disney in 2014. You are inspiring me that I might be able to make that happen. Thanks for posting about your persistence.

  9. You are such an inspiration——1/2 marathon is a BIG deal. So proud of you—you look fantastic and I bet you feel so good too! Congrats and LOVE the card! Keep on runnin! xo

  10. This is so inspiring, Lori. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Way to go, Lori!! You SO inspire me, girl!! ♥

  12. Such an inspirational read….from a very inspiring woman! You GO Lori! Sweet card too :)

  13. I am sitting here crying reading this. You are SO inspiring!! I love you to pieces my friend and I can’t wait to see you in just a few days. I thought of you the MINUTE I saw that stamp set. xoxox

  14. You are very inspiring Lori!!! Way to go on all your successes, past, present, and those that you are still running toward!!!

  15. Wow, Lori! You are a ROCK STAR! I’m am truly inspired by you and I love that you have shared this incredible journey with all of us. I think I need to dust off those running shoes in the back of my closet! <3 Much love to you, my friend!

  16. Lori, that was an incredibly sweet post. I loved reading your story. Congrats to you!

  17. I am teary eyed reading your post! You are so inspiring and I love that you shared your story. I knew you were a special person from the first time I met your at CHA. And I love the card!

  18. Lori,
    I just love your determination, honesty and transparency!

  19. wow! You brought me to tears a little. So inspiring. Your words are going to be ringing in my ears as I keep running. I too, am NOT a runner, but I have a goal to run my first 5k sometime soon. Beautiful card, beautiful woman, and I am proud to have had a chance to meet you IRL. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. Congrats!!!

  20. Words do not describe Lori! You are an inspiration and an amazing woman you fought the fight and have won and even still appreciate that it is a battle that never ends. So proud to know you!

  21. Wow Lori- a half marathon!!! Last October I started the C25K – with no expectations that I would be able to run a mile, let alone 3.1. I just wanted to improve my walking. Well, that 9 week program stretched into 5 months for me – I repeated so many weeks I was a remedial C25k-er. Finally I was able to run, um – slow jog – a full 30 minutes but it was still not the full 3.1 miles. I kept plugging along and a few weeks later I ran the full thing. I was almost in tears (of joy) at the end. It was not fast or pretty, but by god it was a run. I am now just working on improving my time (so far I am a 37:40). I can’t imagine 13 miles, but then again I could not imagine 3 either. I’ve gained confidence and lost a bunch of pounds. I love reading your journey- well done!

  22. Read this with tears in my eyes. What a BEAUTIFUL story – and it’s your story. Wow! You should be so proud. I feel very blessed to have met you one year ago at CHA. What an inspiration you are. Very well done.

  23. You are SO amazing! Thank you for sharing all about your journey! What a great example you are to your girls!

  24. YOU are AWESOME. Beautiful. Strong. Determined. Brave. Fearless. Inspiring. And LOVED. Muchly. By me.

  25. Lori, you are amazing! What a truly beautiful testimony! There are not even words to tell you how encouraging this was to me! I find myself very much in the position you were when you started! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  26. Lori, you are inspiring. Keep running and keep inspiring us.

  27. Your perseverance is amazing. The road is long and seems to never end but the rewards are huge. I am long past being able to run but I do walk every day and do strengthening exercises. On any day that I am unable to walk, I miss it. It took a long time for that to happen. I am so happy for you and I hope you know that you are setting the absolute BEST example for your girls. I can’t wait to see you next week. Safe travels.

  28. Lori, this is such an inspiring story! I can feel the love for your friends as I read your words. Good for you! You GO girl!!!

  29. Lori, you go girl. You look amazing and you are an inspiration. Half marathan! WOW! Running is addictive, isn’t it. Again, GO girl :-)

  30. Lori, you have SUCH a beautiful soul. What an inspiration!! Hugs!!!!!

  31. You are such an inspiration! Congrats on your first marathon–you did great! Hope to see you again next week at CHA!

  32. I am so proud of you! Love you! And miss you like CRAZY!

  33. beautiful. You have so many gifts – writing is certainly one of them, Lori! I’m so proud of you and thankful you shared your story & photos with us today! Love your card too! Big hugs!

  34. Thank you for sharing your story Lori…I loved reading this post & seeing your great pics. Congratulations on all your achievements and milestones.

    Happy running!!!

  35. You are FABULOUS, Sweet Lori! I’m dedicating one of my 26.2 in this fall’s NYC Marathon to YOU for being an inspiration to me! :)

  36. Lori
    Congratulations to you. I’m sure you have received so many other benefits from setting your goal and working towards it. Having that wonderful support says a lot about you and how much they admire you. You have to be proud of yourself too. I love your post and your inspiration – it is really what I need right now. I’m sitting at my desk to study for an exam in 2 weeks and the last exam I did was 23 years ago! You have given me the push I need to get it done. Thanks.

  37. A half-marathon is a dream to me – Lori this is so inspiring and such a wonderful post – way to go and what incredible photos!! Hoping to see you next week – xoxoxo

  38. You are such an inspiration, my friend!

  39. I love you, Lori! And I’m so proud of you! Thanks for being such an inspiration and for sharing a part of yourself and your journey with us. Can’t wait to see you soon!

  40. Awesome!!! You ROCK!!! And are so inspiring!! My husband is an avid runner and I have been toying with the idea of starting to run so we can share some sort of hobby together because you know he isn’t going to start stamping!!! Maybe you just pushed me a little :) Thanks!! Fantastic card, too – I love it!

  41. My story is similar, which may be why my cousin’s wife sent me the link to your blog…but good for you!! I loved reading this, and all the great pictures. Isn’t it great finding something that you love to do, even at this point in our lives? And it’s wonderful to feel like you’re doing something healthy for yourself that’s also setting a good example for your kids. Rock on, Lori – you runner, you!

  42. Karla Claycamp

    Lori, Lori, Lori, I hope you don’t mind, but I have shared this with many people. When I read it, I always get choked up. I am proud of you for so many reasons. You are one of the most faithful people I know. You are faithful in your relationship with God, your family & friends, your job, hobbies, etc. & now in your lifestyle & exercise program. You my friend certainly not only “talk-the-talk” but also “walk-the-walk” (or “run-the-run”) in this situation. You are truly beautiful inside & out!! Love You!

  43. People should wear what they want,rather than blindly follow others.

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