Becoming a runner, one block at a time

Amy started running her sophomore year in college, inspired by her father, who was a life-long marathoner. Even though the compulsion to run may have been in her DNA, the ability wasn’t. Her body type wasn’t what you’d expect of long-distance runners and she didn’t have supernatural stamina.

For Amy, running is less about the speed and more about the distance, the discipline and the goal. That is why she chose the Long Beach Marathon for her first marathon, because it was a nice flat path down the beach.

“I just wanted to get it done and cross the finish line—that was my main goal,” she said. “I didn’t care at all about my time. I didn’t care if I walked the whole thing. I just wanted to get it done.”

After experiencing her first marathon, she learned that the only way to prepare yourself, is to put in the mileage. There are no shortcuts when it comes to being a marathoner.

Since bringing running into her life, Amy said she’s seen dramatic improvements in her health, both her physical health and her emotional well being.

“When I first started, I probably lost 20 pounds within the first couple of months,” she said. “I haven’t had a cold or gotten sick in what feels like years. Running is one way you can take care of your body. Physically it has kept me strong and my cardiovascular system is strong, but emotionally it also has all kinds of benefits.”

If you’re curious about what it’s like to run a marathon, here’s one woman’s mile by mile breakdown of her first marathon experience:

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Understanding My Food Issues

Micaela could remember going to a dietitian as early as 5-years-old. “My eating really got out of control, because it was when my mom was diagnosed with Lupus. And so it was a really fearful time for me, and I found a way to sort of numb out with food.”

“I can remember my mom bringing in like, Tab and skim milk and diet anything, and things being really restrictive. I was the only child and my mom was trying to teach me how to live healthily.”

After high school Micaela found her weight beginning to become more of an issue. “When I went to college, my diet got a lot worse because I could eat whatever I wanted—I wasn’t living with my mom anymore.”

By the time she graduated from college, Micaela was 40 lbs overweight, partying heavily, smoking and eating unhealthily. At the age of 23, she couldn’t run two city blocks with her boyfriend. “I was unhealthy and was using unhealthy behaviors to avoid dealing with my feelings. At that point, I realized I was very depressed.”

Micaela used partying and unhealthy behaviors to stuff down her feelings instead of dealing with them. It wasn’t until she was able to address the depression that she was able to then deal with the eating.

“And a lot of my story is binging and not throwing up. It hasn’t been really diagnosed yet, binge eating disorder, but it’s not considered a medical condition yet, but it’s definitely an eating disorder, where you binge. Things are fine for a while and then you do crazy things where you eat everything in sight and can’t really stop.”

She was at the point where she’d made changes and started working out, but her eating was still completely out of control.

Sometimes Micaela is afraid that she’ll wake up and be the same person she was 50 pounds ago. “Because it’s so challenging, there’s this fear that I’m going to get sick of doing it and quit. But then I realize that the reason I stick to it is that I feel better. I sleep better. I have more energy than ever. And I feel good about myself. That’s my motivation to keep making healthy choices for the rest of my life.”

If you are interested in learning more about the world’s healthiest foods, their benefits, and the best ways to prepare them, check out this nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people on the best foods for your body and the best ways to prepare them.

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