In May 2015, the life I had been living for 15 years changed. For the better.
I can now be proud to tell you I was a competitive runner from 7th grade through college. I can tell you my career was in corporate fitness and I helped open the Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center.
Before, I would definitely shy away from discussing my athletic accomplishments and educational background. Growing up in PA, friends in Winchester weren't fully aware of my athletic background, and for that I was glad. I would be slightly embarrassed to tell them I once ran a 5:04 mile; that I still hold a couple district records and a state record. When the discussion would arise, I would say, "I know it's hard to tell by the way I look now". I was ashamed to tell people that I also had a degree in exercise science. I could just imagine them thinking, "she obviously doesn't practice what she preaches".
How did I go from a Division I athlete to a sedentary lifestyle? Life. A year after college graduation, I met my husband along with his two children (who lived with us) and soon after, we added a third child. My husband traveled a lot with work. My priorities shifted. I would say I didn't have the time to exercise. With two active children and a toddler, we were always on the go and didn't always eat the best food. The weight packed on.
During perhaps the busiest time of my life - being a wife, a mother, working full-time starting up a local business and running my own business - I am unsure of the catalyst - but I decided it was time to make a change.
I had started to eat healthier and I attempted running again. In the beginning, it was painful and disappointing. I could barely make a half mile, let alone a mile. I would struggle, but kept putting one foot in front of another, alternating walking and running. Each day, I promised myself at least 30 minutes of time to exercise. I also started joining Zara at HIIT class to add a little variety to my routine.
Here I am, one year later. I am 60 lbs. lighter. I just finished my first half marathon. I am teaching High Intensity Interval Training for HIIT Like A Girl and leading a kids running club. I am not ashamed to talk about my past. I tell you this not because I want to boast. I want you to hear about someone that may be just like you. I want you to know you can do this. Make yourself a priority. Invest in your health. Know the journey may be frustrating. The numbers on the scale will go up and down; you may not be able to run a mile or finish an exercise class. Stick with it.
After the half marathon, I told my husband this race was maybe the one I was most proud of finishing. When I was young, it was easy to run; easy to find the time and I didn't have "adult" stress. Sunday, I didn't win the race or even my age group. BUT - this medal represented a year long journey of finding me again. This journey has reignited my passion for health and fitness - I am so excited to see what this next chapter of life holds for me!
Join me on Wednesday and Friday mornings for Sunrise HIIT, a 6 AM High Intensity Interval Training class at Handley High School in Winchester, VA. See our website for class schedule and to register for membership.
Six months ago I would have called you crazy if you had asked me to get out of bed for a 6AM class. But now I love it! Having my workout done before the day has started allows me to continue my day knowing the most important job is over. With summer weather, a 6 AM workout has the coolest temperatures for exercise. If you plan ahead - set out your clothes the night before, prepare to succeed - an early morning class can become your favorite. Without the distractions of children, your workout will be fast and effective. You can focus on your form and your fitness. The best thing about HIITLAG is that your friends will hold you accountable. If you don't show up for class, you will hear about it later! Sunrise HIIT is a great way to start your day!