Flipping through my mental rolodex to the afternoon of February 24th 2012 standing on a scale in my doctors office watching in horror while the nurse continue to slide the weight on the scale higher and higher. The weight kept climbing like the thermometer on a summer afternoon. Two hundred pounds, two hundred and fifty, finally the mercury stopped at three hundred and eight pounds. I was mortified!
Later that afternoon sitting on our couch depressed I made a life altering decision, I was not only going to lose weight but I would get myself into shape at age forty. The very next day I made a drastic change to my diet. I began to walk six miles a day five days a week and slowly things began to change for me. My body started feeling better. The digestive issues I had been having were suddenly gone. I began to have more energy and my walking began to speed up.
Fast forward to an afternoon in late April as I returned from the local store where I had bought some fertilizer for our lawn. After lifting these extremely heavy bags from the car I happened to notice each bag weighed forty five pounds. Stepping back for a moment and standing there in amazement realizing I had lost forty five pounds at this point and lifting those bags of fertilizer really put what had happened to me in perspective.
A week later several friends had begun to push me to run a 5K race. Now I had not run since playing high school lacrosse twenty two years prior. I was resisting all I could but my curiosity would eventually get to me. However we signed up as a family and had planned to walk it. Race day finally arrived and as we got there the half marathoners had begun to come in. The atmosphere was electrifying. I was so excited to be a part of what was going on but really having no clue what was going on. All I knew is that it felt good. As we stood waiting for the gun my wife looks at me and says “You know you want to run”. I politely replied no I’m going to walk, BANG, the gun goes off and the tightly packed crowd of runners begin to take off. My wife looks at me and says again “You know you want to run” and I looked back with a huge smile and I was off. About a mile into it I am feeling great as a gentle pat on my back gets my attention and woooosh, my thirteen year old son goes flying on by. With the finish line in sight and my adrenaline pumping I noticed all those half marathoners clapping and cheering as we crossed the finish line. Wow, what a sense of community I thought. Runners of all skill levels cheering and supporting one another. I was hooked! My first ever 5K race was now complete, finishing in 35:19.
Immediately the next month I signed up for another 5K road race in my former hometown of Kings Park, New York. I finished in 26:38, I was stoked! I shaved over eight minutes off my time from the previous month.
My son and I before the Kings Park Sunset 5K image © Julie Geronimo
The trend would continue over the next several months. Along the way my healthy diet and continued exercise would lead me to lose a total of one hundred and fifteen pounds by Christmas and launch me into the maintaining phase. I have run several races this year so far but my favorite was this past Sunday. I took part in the Seneca 7. The Seneca 7 is a 77.7 mile relay race around Seneca Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes Region. Consisting of seven person teams with each member running three legs each totaling eleven miles. My first leg (3.2 miles) I happened to PR with a 21:16 time at hand off. I have to tell you I was shocked because the last five tenths of this leg had an elevation gain of one hundred and twenty feet. I was ecstatic to say the least.
As I add more pages to my rolodex I do have to admit I have become a RunJunkEe.