Dani Holmes-Kirk, from the incredible blog Weight Off My Shoulders, has been an inspiration to me from the moment I was introduced by a mutual friend. You can sense her passion and dedication just by following her blog, posts on FB/Twitter and certainly by speaking with her. So, when she said she would write something for Fit Journey, I was so incredibly excited. And, when she said she would write about how she got her start in this crazy and amazing world of running, I was elated. So, without further adieu, here is Dani – in all of her greatness – and how it all started:
How I Got My Start:
by Dani Holmes-Kirk
I NEVER liked running growing up. I always played the sports that had the least amount of running: catcher in softball, volleyball, etc.
But then things changed.
In January 2005, I was probably at my heaviest weight. I would tell you a number, but I rarely got on the scale. If I had to take a guess, I would say I weighed around 235-240 easy.
I was ready to make a change and lose weight. I was already in the groove of attending the gym: elliptical, Stairmaster and other cardio equipment … except the treadmill.
So that first week in January I inched towards starting to run. I got on the treadmill, ran ½ a mile and survived. I thought to myself “Okay, we can do that again.” And I did about three times that week.
The following week, I went from ½ a mile to ¾ of a mile. You can guess the natural progression from there. I just added ¼ of a mile each week until I was taking part in my first-ever 5k in March 2005. I finished in 38:21 with my dad by my side.
The running bug had gotten me. My dad and I were signing up for races all over Boston during the summer of 2005.
But at no point did I have a training plan to follow … I was winging it. I didn’t have a Couch To 5k app or professionals on Social Media to turn to for help. I had my dad, who took up running in the 90s, and a couple close friends to turn to, but that was it.
So how did I know what to do? I didn’t. I just gradually upped the mileage as long as my body felt comfortable.
Embarking on the journey of running now seems like a totally different ballgame than when I began.
Now, I know where to turn. Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs … the social media outlets are filled with training programs, gear suggestions and pointers.
We can have all the information, programs and support in the world, but we have to have the inner strength to start.
I was worried when I first started running that all the skinny/fit/”real” runners were going to judge the fat girl in basketball shorts for trying to be a runner. They would just look at me and know I didn’t belong there. I didn’t have the right shoes or shirts or even knew what “compression clothing” was.
But, that was the farthest thing from what actually happened. The running community I found is one of the most open, judgment-free, welcoming groups you can be a part of.
No one glared at me for the way I looked or asked me to leave because I clearly didn’t look like I knew what I was doing at my first 5k. Instead people applauded me for starting to run and congratulated me for completing my first 5k.
If other’s thoughts are holding you back, don’t let it. It took me awhile to realize that no one was really looking at me while I was running – people are focused on their own training.
So if you are throwing around the idea of starting to run, DO IT! I will be the first to applaud, congratulate or encourage you!
And if there is one piece of advice I can give to any new runner: get sized for sneakers at a running store. I did in 2005 and have been wearing the same brand and style since then.