By Chrissy Vasquez
Ring in the 40th Anniversary with a new you!
2016 is your year to reinvent yourself as a 500 Festival OneAmerica Mini Marathon finisher! I believe in you and if you want it you can achieve it! How do I know? Because I was once sitting in your spot, wondering if I could do this.
Do this? Change my life. In late 2009 I was overweight, unhappy and needing a change. I started working out, but I had nearly 100 pounds to lose, and that was completely overwhelming! Luckily for me, a friend dared me to run a half marathon in Miami Beach in spring 2010. I took a running training class and my first night I couldn’t even make it half a mile, WALKING, without having to stop. For some reason unknown to me, I kept going with the training program and made it to the finish line of that half marathon. It was incredible; I struggled, I fought hard and I made it 13.1 miles using a run-walk method! During the process I lost 40 pounds and started to pave the way toward a new lifestyle. Some days were better than others during that process, but I never quit!
Two months later I ran my first Mini-Marathon. There were a lot of people, but it made it so fun! I loved that there were thousands of people on the streets, just like me, working to change their life. We were sharing the road with elite runners, casual runners, run/walkers and walkers. It didn’t matter our pace, it mattered that we kept going until the finish line!
Because of my lifestyle change I found an organization called Back on My Feet, that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change their lives through running as they work toward housing and employment. As executive director of Back on My Feet, I had the honor in 2015 to train with five members of the Back on My Feet program training for their first half marathon, the Mini Marathon. Through the Mini with a Meaning program we were able to participate in the Miler Series, presented by OrthoIndy and it was so fun to train with my teammates. We met each Saturday and it was rewarding to cheer each other on and see the progress we had each made.
After several months of training race day was here! We all hugged before we took off to the start line. It was a beautiful day and we were all grateful for the opportunity to run 13.1 together. I’m proud to say that everyone from our group finished! The day was filled with laughs, good memories and even some tears – one that will live in our hearts forever.
I’m looking forward to starting the training program in 2016 with more members from Back on My Feet as we set our eyes on the prize of the finish line! I’m going to be running side-by-side with fellow teammates as I work to lose the last 50 pounds I want to lose to get to my goal. I hope you’ll join us, you can do this!
Here’s a few tips to get you there:
-Tomorrow never comes – get started today. Even if you’re just walking to the end of your street and back, it’s further than you’ll get waiting for tomorrow.
-Find people to train with – you’ll be able to push yourself farther and harder with the support of other people. Join a training group at your local running store, come join Back on My Feet or find a friend to join you!
-Get the right shoes and training plan – training for a half takes dedication and some know-how. You don’t have to guess; you can go to your local running store to get shoes that fit YOUR feet well. Also get a training plan, you can find one in a training group or even one online. Having the right equipment and knowing what you need to do will get you to the finish line with less chance of injury and a bigger smile on your face!
-Consider racing for someone else – you can FundRace for Back on My Feet or your favorite local charity through Mini with Meaning. You’ll raise money through your network while you train. Knowing that your training matters in order to help someone else will encourage you to get out on your training days even when you don’t want to.
-Be good to yourself – Get plenty of rest, hydrate and eat well. Also go easy on yourself, you’ll have some great training runs and others will leave you frustrated. Take the good with the bad and be proud of your progress!
Good luck and see you at the 40th running of the #IndyMini! You’ve got this!