The conversation started simply enough - just like so many others. "How are you?" "Gosh it's cold outside!"
I was dropping Noah off at preschool and making small-talk with one of the ladies that works at the school. I was in a rush. Noah only stays at preschool for a short time and I had a list of errands I had to accomplish before getting back to pick him up.
She commented on my Facebook post about my awesome 20-miler last week, and said something along the lines of how crazy I was and how she couldn't imagine running. I hear these things all the time and usually just laugh them off (yes, I am the crazy lady with 12 kids who runs a lot...thanks for noticing!) but something in her voice, and in her eyes, caught my attention.
She asked a couple of questions about how I train, my goals, etc. and then said something along the lines of me being lucky because I was "tiny" and athletic. I told her that I had only been running for four and a half years and that I had lost 80lbs after being overweight for over 10 years. She was taken aback, and once I told her that, her demeanor changed and she started asking me questions. How did I get started? Why?
Her eyes brimmed with tears as she shared challenges she had been through in the past year, how stress had led to weight gain, how frustrated she was, how she knew she needed to do something but didn't know how to start, and how she was afraid to try and fail.
And in her eyes, I saw myself. I saw the "me" that I was five years ago. I remembered the stress, the insecurity, the frustration I felt at having let myself get so out of shape and unhealthy, the hopeless feeling, the self-doubt, the fear. I remember feeling like exercise was something other people did, but that I didn't have the time or the energy or the strength.
I vividly remember years ago when a neighbor invited me to a 5:30am step class that she taught. I was polite and thanked her, but I remember laughing on the inside and thinking there was NO way I could or would get up that early on purpose. I remember having a long list of reasons and excuses in my head as to why I couldn't exercise.
I shared that with the woman at the preschool. I told her that I had been where she was and that she could do it. I told her that as crazy as it seemed, that on the days I got up early and ran I had more energy. I offered encouragement, help, guidance, and support. I hope she takes me up on it.
I was so glad that I took the time to stop on a busy morning and talk with someone who needed some encouragement. I hope that maybe our conversation gave her some hope and motivation, and I am grateful for the reminders that it gave to me.
Do you ever look back and realize how much you have changed?
Have you always be active or do you remember getting started?
What advice would you to someone just trying to get started?