by Amanda Gonzales
Two years ago, I had a reality check. I was 100 pounds overweight. I was classified as morbidly obese. I am a mother of four young children and this was not acceptable. I had sacrificed myself to care for everyone but myself. Noble? Maybe, but more importantly, self-destructive? Yes. My doctor told me that if I want to see my children graduate from college, that I would have to make dramatic changes. I would have to let go and learn to trust others and myself. It was time to make myself a priority and to in a sense give myself a chance by believing I was worth it.
There is this sad thing that happens when you gain a lot of weight. You start feeling like you are not worth it anymore. Like your turn has passed you by. Like you let it happen so you deserve the consequences. The lethargy, the stares, the feeling of being miserable all the time. That sums up how I felt about myself two years ago. Don't get me wrong, I had and still have a wonderful and loving husband who told me I was the most beautiful woman in the world. I had four beautiful children but something was missing. It was my confidence and my sense of self-worth. I knew I was cheating myself. I knew I was not setting a good example for my children. I worried that one day my kids might get teased at school for having the overweight mom.
I had always been an avid fan of www.allearsnet.com. One night, I was soul-searching and I was thinking about when I used to feel happy and athletic and healthy and full of life and I remembered that I was a high school and college athlete and loved to run. Nothing felt better than the freedom and peace of hitting the road and letting it all go. That was what I was missing and I needed to find it. I admired who I used to be when I was running. I was fit, healthy, people respected me, I wanted that back. It was that same night that I read the announcement about Team AllEars in the weekly newsletter.
The Disney 1/2 marathon, I had heard of it, but never thought in a million years that I could ever run 13.1 miles. Never, not me, I mean if I could get back to running two miles twice a week, that would be an accomplishment. For some reason, I registered that night for the Disney 1/2 marathon I sent an email requesting to join Team AllEars. I don't think I knew what I was doing that day, but it turns out that was the day that saved me and brought my family closer together and forever created a bond that will never be broken. That was the day we became a family who runs together!
I started walking and running after that day. It was hard and progress was slow, but I kept going. Very soon after I started, my kids started to become interested in what I was doing. They were asking to go running with me. We started going for walks and running together and before I knew it, in two months, we went from being a sedentary family to an active one.
It is true, your children learn from what you live. They saw me making an change in my life to become healthy and active and they wanted to join me. Our weekends now are filled with activity. We walk together, run together, and bike together. We do races together. Most road races have children's "fun runs" attached to them. When I do a race now, they do, too. They are proud of their fitness and wear their t-shirts with pride and share their accomplishments with friends and teachers.
This year, a year after I completed my first 1/2 marathon in Disney in 2010 and my first full marathon in Boston in 2010, at The 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, every person in my family completed a race. I completed the 1/2 marathon, my husband completed the 5k, my oldest two children ages 7 and 8 completed the Mickey mile, and my youngest two completed the 100 and 200 meter dash.
We have transformed from a sedentary family to a running family. However, what makes it more meaningful is that we are a family running with purpose. My children understand that we run for our health, but also to raise money for those battling breast cancer. Throughout the year we had lemonade stands and tried to raise awareness and commit to community service with an awareness that we were running for our health, but also running with purpose to help others.
My children never knew their grandfather, who passed away from cancer in 1987. We have decided to make a change in our lives as a family and become a family running with purpose. We challenge you to do the same! The rewards are endless. Good luck from my family to yours.
If you're planning on running a Walt Disney World race in January 2012 and you'd like to join Team AllEars® in the fight against breast cancer, please email Michelle at Michelle@teamallears.com.
The previous post in this blog was To Preview or Not To Preview a Race Course.
The next post in this blog is Team AllEars 2012 Live Show - April 18, 2011.