Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Let's Share: Alicia's Story

Let me just start off by saying that this next runner, Alicia, is flippin' amazing!   She is in my ward and a new friend.  She is one of the most upbeat people I know and it's not because life has been all that kind to her all the time.  She seems to find the blessing in every aspect of life and I find that inspiring.  She has 6 kids (right, Alicia?) and she is busy at work getting her nursing degree.  I'm so glad I've made friends with her.  She'll be running with me in the Nite Lites race in August and I simply can't wait.  Here is her story in interview format. 

How did you first get into running? I started running when I was 17 and gettin gready to go into the US Navy. I was about 30lbs overweight (though I was still small) and my recruiter told me to change my diet and start running. I actually started running on hills! Everything else felt so easy after that. I ended up losing 30lbs in 1 month. Granted this was when I was 17 and I ran 3 times a day: 7am, 1pm, and 6pm. I ran 3 miles each time. I know it sounds crazy but that is what I did.
Why did you choose running over another form of exercise? After I was enlisted in the US Navy I was forced to run everywhere in bootcamp. When I got out of bootcamp I kept running because of how good it made me feel. I loved the release it gave me and the Runner's High, yes it does exsist. Other exercise woul dbore me quickly. Running I could go anywhere I wanted and have a different view each time if I wanted.
Running has been the only way for me to lose any weight, aside from good diet. Running is just an amazing full body workout.

What keeps you motivated? Motivation is such a deceiving word. Motivation leaves you in the dust when you need it most. Running sucks, it is hard, and you can always think of a million reasons why not to do it. Motivation can come in many forms: Being more fit, losing weight, wearing a smaller size, having killer legs, beign one of those cool runner's you see going down the road. Whatever it is that gets you of your butt and out the door, hold on to it and work it for all it is worth!
What do you like about running? I love the freedom. I love to run outside, though I use my treadmill when I have too. I love the feeling of being able to go outside and just go. With lots of kids at home it gives me the time to put my music on, crank it up to a ridiculous volume, and just be me for a little while.
I love the feeling I get when I feel unstoppable. I love feeling my body work like a fine oiled machine. I love feeling strong.

Do you have a specific personal fitness goal in mind when you go out and run? How is it going so far? I don't really think of anything specific, though I enjoy the benefits of running. I would like to lose weight and get to my goal weight by next year. Running will totally help me. I have a goal to be able to run a Half-Marathon, that won't happen sitting around.
I am doing ok with these goals. I am starting to lose weight, though probabl ynot noticeable to others. Though I am slow right now I know I will get stronger and gain more endurance to reach the finish line at a Half-Marathon.

What are your thoughts on racing? I love racing. I was not really a fan of racing for a while because my father owns a racing business. I have worked the races, and from behind the scenes it is not a "fun" thing. People's bad attitudes got to me and I avoid races all together. However, this year I made a goal to do 1 5K a month and improve each month, or just finish! Not having to work at the race makes it far more fun. I do not race against others, and I don't care if I am last. I race against myself and for myself.
Just a word from behind the scenes: Be nice to the people working the race and especially the Race Director. It takes far more time and effort than one would think to make a race come together and the workers can only make everything so perfect. Giving suggestion sis fine, but don't be a jerk about it.

What bits of advice do you have for other runners, especially those that are just starting out? Just do it! Do I have to pay to say that? Just get out there a few times a week. Give your self a small time limit and go until you are done. Even if you have to start out walking, get out there! You can not get any better unless you push yourself. I have been running on and off for 15 years and it has been a love/hate relationship.I have started running at my lowest weight and also at over 250lbs. Don't make excuses, you can do it! If you want to run, then do it. If someone tells you that you can't do it, turn around and tell them, "Watch Me!"

 What have you learned about fitness, your body, motivation, committment, life, etc, since becoming a runner? I have learned that all the limits I have set for myself are not real. I have accomplished things I had never thought possible. I finished my first Triathlon weighing 261lbs. I was slow, but I did it!! You do not have to be in perfect shape or a size 6 to be a runner/athlete. You let go of all the things you tell yourself and what others tell you and every day you reach for more. Don't set limits, it will only hold you back. Our bodies want to be healthy, they want to work well for us.
I learned if you wait for motivation to get you going, you will never get past a week or two. Don't wait for motivation, it is not a lasting thing. Make a commitment and stick to it. Commitments are things I keep even when everything is working against me. They are not negotiable and my commitment is what gets me out and going.
Make goals and dream big. Little known secert about me....I have a goal to compete in a fitness competion some day. If you know me you'll figure that day is not today. However, I will get there. I don't care if I win, I want to prove to myself I can do it. I can't run a Half-Marathon today, but I know I will be able to.
Don't let anyone stop you.

You simply cannot beat this girl's attitude!  I know when I don't feel like running for the day, I get on Alicia's facebook page and find one of the inspirational quotes she posts on there and I'm all set.  Thanks for sharing, Alicia.  It was a great story.

If you know someone I should be interviewing, let me know!  Contact me via facebook or email

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