In the picture on the left, I had just completed my very first Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans. At nearly 260 pounds in 2010, walking the 6.2 mile route through my hometown was painful. The pressure on my back from the weight felt like it was crushing me at every turn.
You wouldn’t know that by looking at my smile in that picture. I was just grateful that on that particular day, I stuck to a commitment to finish what I started. Still, more than two years would pass before the wakeup call that started my current journey.
Fast forward to the picture on the right from this year’s Crescent City Classic, and the smile is just the same as it was in 2010! The joy in my smile didn’t just come from the 90 pounds I have shed since that first race. It comes from a sense of pride that I am keeping my promise to myself and God to make healthier choices.
As I prepared to go home for this year’s race, I wanted to glance at the images from my first venture in 2010. I had not looked at them since then, but I was curious to see what the comparison would show. The great folks at MarathonFoto dug up the photos from all those years ago and sent them to me.
I was floored.
It took me right back to that day, and the motivation I had to keep going. Somehow, I managed to smile for pictures through all the physical (and emotional) pain. I did not run at all that day. I did not care how much time it took. I was just focused on finishing.
This year, I did not run the 10K in an effort to beat my old time or prove something to myself or anyone else. I chose to walk it, and really take in the moment it represented along this journey. Weight loss is not a sprint. It is not a race that you run, get a medal, and you’ve conquered it forever. It is a slow, steady, hilly, messy, rough, smooth, beautiful terrain that lasts an entire lifetime. There truly is no finish line, only mile markers along the way.
Will you stumble? Yep. Will you set personal records? Yep. Will you run through the rain and the hills and the valleys? Yep. I am learning to embrace all of it, one step at a time. You can too! So lace up those shoes, and take the first step. Before you know it, five years will pass, and who knows where the journey can take you!
(Originally published April 2015)