The following is a guest post from Courtney Rozen, a former co-worker and dear friend. She has transformed her life over the last few years thanks to a strong commitment to her health and wellness.
Courntey inspires others daily as a Weight Watchers leader and as a cardio and strength instructor in Binghamton, New York.
Picture it – May 2011, the spring wind blowing, a morning rain hitting my face, feet pounding the pavement and the beat of a song making me move one step closer, one step faster to finish my first half marathon.
That was a day I would never forget. I made it; I completed a goal I set out to do.
I cried and cheered along with my friends that “Wow! We just ran 13.1 miles”. I felt invincible!
If I could do a half, these other “little” races were cake. I went to run a 5K with my friends about a month or so after the half and I started out strong, feeling good, music moving me,” I got this” I said to myself.
The first mile came and went, “Okay, that’s nothing. Only 2 to go.” And suddenly it hit me: the panic, anxiety, the words “you cannot do this, you will never make it to the end.”
I walked about a half mile, then ran for a bit and then walked to the end. What had happened to me?
What had happened that I couldn’t complete a 5K especially after running a half marathon? I chalked it up to a bad day and said to myself, “There will be other races”.
The next 5K came and I volunteered to walk it with a friend who was not going to run the race but wanted to be a part of it.
The truth was I was too scared to run. There was no rhyme or reason for this, but my head saying “No”.
May 2012 came, the annual bridge run was upon us, and I didn’t do it. I never signed up. I never went because I had stopped running cold turkey – I just couldn’t.
My workouts were getting less, I was losing strength and endurance, my eating was spiraling and I was binge eating at night sometimes to the point where I would make myself sick. I was living a secret.
I was in a very dark place, yet to the world I was their shining star, motivating them to lose weight as a Weight Watchers leader and fitness instructor.
My clothes were getting smaller, and we know nothing feels right when your pants are too tight! I didn’t know what to do, until a road trip with my mom and a very long car ride home I admitted I needed help.
I told her I was too scared to run anymore and my fears had led to other bad habits, like secretly binging.
I said I don’t want to live this life like this anymore. I had lost 55 pounds and it was slowly coming back. I needed the strength to believe in myself again.
It was my turn to reach out and ask for the guidance that I gave to others. I called my friend and said “Please meet me at the park now and run with me.”
She was surprised by my call but she did. It was the hardest mile I had ever run. I wanted to literally puke after doing it, but it was a step in the right direction.
That night I went home and started a countdown chart I called “Taking back control.” I assigned myself minutes at the gym, and eventually added miles to my workouts.
I would cross them off as I accomplished each day.
It is now 455 days. While I still fight binge eating, I have not made myself sick. I just work out harder the next day or occupy my mind with writing in a journal or simply writing on my fitness page on Facebook.
In that time, I ran that May half marathon and beat my time by 1-minute! I did the Warrior Dash, a couple 5k’s, a 5-miler or two, and a 10-miler.
I have not let fear take over me, I have taken over fear by conquering it with “I can’s, I will, I have!” I am proud to say in 2014 I will run my first full marathon.
I did not ask anyone’s permission or conference with anyone about the decision. I just did it. I run for me and only me.
I love running with my friends in races and to just run and catch up. But this decision was something I needed to do alone to believe in myself, to challenge my abilities and to prove to myself you have come a long way baby!