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Jennifer shared her story with Favorite Run Community Group: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/484242464984296)
“Hello everyone. I’m new here. I’m also new to the running world. I was asked by one of my running friends to come here and share my story, so here it is:
A year ago, I weighed 450 pounds when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was doing so many things wrong with regards to my health, things I knew but just never really thought about because everything felt so overwhelmingly impossible. At the time, I literally could not even walk 20 feet to my mail box without crying because everything hurt so bad. After the diagnosis, I had to change the way I ate and how I lived my life. Before I found out I was diabetic, my sister tried for over a year to get me to go to her running group with her, but I wouldn’t go because I was afraid. I was afraid people would make fun of me because of my weight and because I had managed to thoroughly convince myself that I “couldn’t” do it. My sister tried so many times to tell me that no one would care and they would all welcome me, and I just couldn’t hear her.
After the diagnosis, and after I started eating better and making other small changes, I have lost a little over 100 pounds. One of those changes is that I started walking about a month and a half to two months ago. I’m not sure exactly when it was because I never marked it on a calendar or anything like that. I just started doing it. It took me a very long time to be able to own my weight, to fully accept it for what and why it is what it is. I still weigh around 340. I still have some work to do, but now I’m doing it. I’m actively doing it.
My running group is amazing. I wasted so much time in not going to this group, in being afraid. Noone here ever puts anyone down in any way for how fast or how slow they can go. They are just a group of phenomenal people that only want to share their world. I am always at the back of the group. I’m always the slowest person out there. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, when I had to learn it, but once I did…wow. When I learned to think of it as a pace instead of speed, it was so amazing the freedom it brought. I’m still learning that. It’s still a battle for me sometimes. My active journey is still very new. I can’t yet run. I walk the entire way, and I stay at the back. No matter how much it hurts (and it hurts all the time every time) to be out there doing this, I go out every time regardless. There is no group I’d rather be with through my journey. It’s okay if you walk the whole way. I do. And they are just as glad to see me as they are the next person.
This past Saturday, I just completed my first 5K. I did it in 1 hour and 19 minutes, 40 minutes faster than my training time. The folks at the race were wonderfully supportive. I had about run out of energy coming around the final turn, but a few folks were there to walk with me the last few feet. Everyone from the race was still there as well. They stayed until the last person was done (my friend and I). Everyone was cheering and clapping. When I managed to sprint across the finish line, they got even louder. It was AWESOME! I’m doing my second 5K this coming Saturday. I am going to try and beat my time from my first race.”