August 23 2017
Jennifer Stahl shares how she gave herself permission to embrace running for speed instead of compliments.
Three years ago, I suffered from depression. I would get through the day on caffeine and junk food and switch to wine at nights. I was too caught up in my unhappiness to notice, but I was piling on an unhealthy amount of weight.
One day, I needed to buy a new outfit for a work function. When I tried on a beautiful, red cocktail dress in a 360-degree mirror, I finally saw what I had done to my body. I went home to weigh myself to find that I was almost the same size as I’d been while pregnant with twins 12 years ago. It was just the shock I needed to wake up from the daze I had been living in.
I decided immediately that I needed to change my lifestyle. I started running a tiny bit each day. It took me two weeks to finish one mile without stopping, but when I did, the feeling of accomplishment was amazing.
From that point forward I was hooked. I bought running shoes, invested in real workout clothes and signed up for my first 5k. My body started to shift back to a healthy size, but more importantly, I began to gain perspective. Running became my way of shedding stressful thought patterns. Because I now spend time on the roads getting clarity, I have a better self-image—plus, I feel better physically at 48 than I did at 24!
I love the challenges associated with running. Last spring, I ran a 10k for the first time. I thought 6.2 miles would be far too long for me. It was tough, but an hour after I finished, I wanted to run it again! I hope to complete a half marathon within the next year.
My family has begun catching the craze of hitting the pavement as well. My husband, Andrew, and I now run together. After 19 years of marriage, it’s something different that we can enjoy together. We go on long runs, heading away from the house, away from everything. We talk and have that feeling of being in unison. It’s really beautiful.