"I'm not a runner."
"I'd rather sit on my couch."
"Ha! The gym? Me? Riiiight..."
This used to be how I talked about exercise.
I used to joke about the fact that if people saw me running, they might want to run too because I was likely being chased by something scary.
And then one day, with the encouragement of my sisters-in-law, I decided I might try it.
I used the app "Couch to 5K" and I got to where I was able to jog a whole mile. It wasn't a fast mile, but it was more than I had ever been able to jog without stopping in my entire life.
This was a huge accomplishment for me.
Shortly after I built up this endurance, we found out we were expecting our third daughter.
I was pretty sick for a little while and ended up giving up the running dream until after she was born.
I was shocked at how much I missed running in those last few months of pregnancy.
After I was fully-recovered from my caesarean section and able to leave her for a little while, I started jogging again.
Between 2015 and 2018, I would run for a little while, then fall off the wagon.
My running commitment wasn't really a commitment, but more like a hobby that I would pick up every so often.
Finally, in the summer of 2019, I really got serious about it and started doing a 5K each month.
During the "Run for the Tree Kangaroos" race at the Kansas City Zoo in September, I injured my hip and had to take a pretty significant break.
In March of 2020, just as COVID-19 was starting to make its rounds, I started taking daily walks to clear my mind after school. Being in school administration during a global pandemic is something that takes up a lot of headspace.
These walks were mentally and emotionally healthy, but also started to bring back the positive feelings that I had associated with running in the past.
I love looking at the homemade medal hanger almost as much as I enjoy sifting through all of the medals for the races I did in 2020.
I've set a goal for myself of 20 5Ks in 2021, along with four 10Ks.
Maybe I'll work up to that half-marathon I've been dreaming about for the last few years.
We'll see about the half-marathon, but either way -- today I can say with confidence, "I am a runner."
Taking life one jog at a time here at the farmhouse,
Let's be real.
I know what I need to do.
When I want to make healthy choices, I can.
I am completely capable of making the right call when various food choices are in front of me.
I've studied and implemented the Whole30 program.
I've eaten using a Keto lifestyle for weeks (sometimes months) at a time.
I did Weight Watchers for over a year and lost between 15-20 pounds.
And then, one day, I'll feel so good in my own skin that I'll make the choice to eat something that isn't a healthy choice.
Something like a donut from Koehn's Bakery...
A pumpkin pie blizzard from Dairy Queen...
Or a blueberry scone from Starbucks.
And you know what?
If I had consciously made a choice to have a scone and a caramel macchiato and get right back on track, that would be great!
And slowly, my weight creeps up and my pants feel a little tighter and that Stephens double-chin becomes a triple-chin.
And before I know it, I'm throwing a kid on my lap or in moving them in front of me every time we take a picture.
I'm wearing flowy layers because I don't feel comfortable in my more fitted clothing.
And I'm digging out my jeans that are a size bigger because I feel better in them.
But the thing is...it's never about how I look.
It's about how I feel.
When I'm making good food choices, my joints are less achy.
My face is clearer.
I'm less irritable.
I have more energy.
So that's why when I got the email announcing the "Biggest Loser" competition at school starting this Monday...I knew this was a great opportunity to start again.
Through the Farmhouse654 12-Week Challenge that several of us are going through this year, I'm working towards making my dream life a reality...with goals related to our home, relationships, finances, personal growth, and of course, health.