Tag Archives: active

Guest Post: Running, My Life Saver

Today’s guest post is from Myla Miller, one of my readers, who wanted to let us know how life-transforming running has become for her. It’s the kind of story I’m hearing and reading about more and more. Could anyone do what she did? Myla thinks so! Here’s her story.

Running is not only a great form of exercise, an excellent weight loss solution, and an activity extremely beneficial to overall health, but to me is also a life saver.

Throughout childhood I was always very active, playing sports and participating in almost every extra curricula that a young girl could, playing outside on every single one of those warm summer days. (Yes, us folks used to go outside and play when we were young – hard to believe these days, thanks to Playstation, Xbox, and Facebook).

Fast forward to my late teens through twenties, and I became less and less active for various reasons such as school, boyfriends, and a few other reasons that, to be honest, were just poor excuses.  The food I ate on a consistent basis was of poor nutrition, my quality of sleep was horrible, and the care I really gave about myself as a whole declined day after day.  During this time, I gained quite a bit of weight and became very unhappy, to put it mildly, with myself and my body.

So a once very active and happy young girl turned depressed, unhappy, and I guess you could say lazy. Lack of self confidence, and shame, were everyday problems.  To this day when I think back to those darker times, I get an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and a sense of, ‘what the hell was I doing to myself?’

At the end of my rope, I sought out help to get my out-of-control self back on the paved road.  It took months to woman up and take this step, but it was the best decision I have ever made.  After a short period of time, I began to bounce back and get those oh-so-great feelings I once had as a little kid.  My depression began to lift, my self-confidence began to grow, and I was starting to feel much, much better.

This enabled me to start putting my life back together and in that plan was exercising and healthy eating.  Healthy body and healthy mind means healthy overall being, and that is what my number one focus was.

Then I sat down and put an exercise plan together.  It was wintertime, so I would start out by simply walking and going to the gym.  My plan consisted of walking a mile on the treadmill for the first month and going to the gym for weight training 3 days a week (those leg days were killer in the beginning).

After the first month I extended my time on the treadmill to 2 miles and then 3, and after that I got the urge to pick the pace up.  After about 2 months it was starting to get nice outside and the flowers were popping up, so it was time to take my activities outside.

Being a long distance runner in my early years of high school, once I got back into the swing of things, walking just was not cutting it anymore.  The urge to step up the pace grew more and more as did the feeling that I could get much more out of my body.

And I discovered my true love, running.

I started with one mile the first week and then 2 miles a day for the next 3 weeks.  After that I stopped keeping track; I would just throw the ear buds in, hit play on the iPod, and run as far as my little heart desired. This, coupled with a great diet, allowed me to shed 25 pounds in the first 4 months of my new life, and my confidence began to soar like an eagle high in the sky.

(Jeff here) My mom once said runners never smile. I just had to prove her wrong!

(Jeff here) My mom once said runners never smile. I just had to prove her wrong!

And during those summer months I was able to get a few of my friends out of the house and turn them into runners like I was becoming.  This was actually a pretty big goal of mine, which was to not only look out for their health, but to get us all like-minded so we could motivate and be there for each other.

It worked out perfectly, to the point where we all grocery shopped together and shared some great healthy recipes with each other.  We all were feeling amazing and our bond really grew a lot that summer.  It really is true that if you surround yourself with great people, you will become great, and that summer we all found this out firsthand.

To this day we still go on our daily runs, share recipes, take turns cooking dinner for each other’s families, and grow each and every day.

I got back to my old self 100% and then some.  I was and still am the happiest I have been in my entire life and I have running to thank for that.  It not only has helped me lose weight, but it has made me feel great overall, grown many friendships, mentally repaired me, and allowed me to get back to that young girl.

Very few things can match the thrill of finishing a goal race!

Very few things can match the thrill of finishing a goal race!

I wrote this to show you how powerful exercising and a healthy lifestyle truly can be.  A diet change and running has brought me out of the depths of depression and has put me on top of the world.  I know that this same exact thing can happen for anyone who is willing and committed.  And it does not have to be running – it can be walking, weightlifting, inter-mural sports, swimming, anything that you personally can do and enjoy doing.  It will be hard to get started, but once that ball gets rolling, you will find yourself disappointed if you miss a day, or are too busy to do your daily activity.  It becomes an obsession. It is funny how it goes from dreadful to desirable!

Don’t be afraid, stop putting it off, there is no better day than today to get started with your routine.  So sit down, come up with a plan, start slow and build up, and before you know it you will be a machine.

Good luck and I’m rootin’ for ya!

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About the author:

Myla is an avid runner who enjoys all things healthy.  Her true love for running started at the age of 23 and has not slowed down since.  Myla runs a website where she reviews running shoes, and shares her favorite pairs.  As you can probably imagine, she has been through a lot of running shoes.  To check out her site go to womensrunningshoereview.com.

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2015: Back From the Moon – Now What?

“Once you’ve gone to the moon, staying home just isn’t good enough.”
– Astronaut Eugene Cernan

THERE I WAS after the Holiday Hustle last month, innocently enjoying the completion of over 30 races in 2014 and becoming the first person to run every Running Fit event in a year. Then I got asked the question.

“So, Jeff – what do you have planned for next year? Are you going to do the entire race calendar again?”

Well, that was a definite “NO.”

Here's the 2015 events, if you'd like to take the title from me! (Click to enlarge.)

Here’s the 2015 calendar, if you’d like to take the “Most Valuable Runner” title from me! (Click to enlarge.)

Now I had a really good time last year – even better than I thought I would when I set up the schedule last January. But do it again? Not a chance. Some races I will do again, starting with the Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K in Traverse City next week, and maybe one or more of the Dances with Dirt ultras. Other than that, I’m taking a more relaxed approach to scheduling stuff for 2015. But there will be stuff.

Apparently it’s fairly common for people to suffer a letdown after finishing their first marathon. They spend all that time in training, invest their emotional energy in preparation, anticipation, and running the thing, and now it’s over. It didn’t happen to me after my first (Chicago, 2011), and it hasn’t happened now that 2014 is in the books. In fact, I’m fired up about 2015 and its possibilities.

Sure, I'm ready for another 26.2! Just let me finish this beer and take a nap - for a month or so.

Sure, I’m ready for another 26.2! Just let me finish this beer and take a nap – for a month or so.

Like what? Well, there’s that 100K I didn’t finish, so another attempt is definitely on the agenda. I’m looking forward to resuming long bike rides, maybe even some multi-day, multi-hundred mile trips like in 2012. And there’s that black belt in Aikido I’d still like to get to – someday.

In addition, 2014 was a mixed year overall. One of my wife’s favorite cousins died from cancer, my wife got very sick (fortunately, she’s fully recovered), and my mom passed just after Thanksgiving. So as a family, we’re all grateful to have that behind us. A “new year” may be an arbitrary convention, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make use of it.

Above all, I will be sure to stay active. I think that whether or not you have a specific race or other goal, being active can’t help but keep you “plugged in” to life and forward-looking. To pull Newton out of context, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. In the best case, exercise stops being a chore and becomes a part of your life.

Take this morning, for example. It was 13 degrees at 8:00 a.m. in Ann Arbor, and over 30 people turned up at the PR Fitness studio to go for a run of up to 14 miles. Some of them are training for the Boston Marathon or other spring races, but others just came out to get some miles in. Why? It’s something we do to stay healthy and fit. And that’s one of the best goals of all.

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Are you a non-runner who’s interested in starting, but you’re not sure you have what it takes? Here’s a great post by running coach Sarah that says. yes, you can be a runner!