I didn’t grow up aspiring to be an “athlete” although I was considered a “tom boy” and would play high intensity games like football and dodge ball with vigor. My story actually started around the time I turned 40. Like many, 40 is a turning point where it started to hit me that maybe I needed to think about the things I wanted to do before I was too old to do them. I put together a bucket list and at the top was run a half marathon. The furthest I had ever run in my life was about 6 miles, so more than doubling that would be a huge accomplishment. Around that same time (turning 40), I noticed something changing inside of me. Despite going to the gym 3-4 days a week and walking my dogs, I still felt sluggish and my head was always foggy. I couldn’t think straight and found it tough to get out of bed some days. I had a feeling it had to do with how I ate, but couldn’t figure out what or why. A friend told me about a “cleanse” where I could detox my body and feel great. Being desperate to try anything, I did it. For five days (I was supposed to last 10 days), I drank a concoction of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. No solid food. I was sick for the first four days and by day 5, I felt light, clear-headed and hungry. On day 6, I started transitioning back to solid food and about two weeks later, I felt as bad as I did before I started the cleanse.
Something Big had to Change
I noticed how much better I felt when I consumed more fruits and vegetables with my meals and thought if I went vegetarian, I could get my life back. In January 2012, I decided I would gradually transition to a vegetarian diet and since my “addiction” was cheese not meat, I figured it was doable. I started out with a goal of eating vegetarian 2 days a week, and then increase to 3 days, 4 days until I hit my goal. By June 2012, I became vegetarian.
In addition to transitioning to vegetarian, I started training for my first half marathon. I teamed up with a couple of friends and we put a plan together and started running. After running my first 10 miles ever, I came to accept that I was officially hooked on running. On March 4, 2012, I completed my first half marathon in New Orleans in 2:41:47 at 12:21 pace. It was a great day. Flat course, beautiful weather, fun crowd, and I could check that off my bucket list.