February 21 2018
Karen Lyons started running to escape hardship–and couldn’t stop.
In March, my best friend signed up for a half marathon at Disney and I decided to go with her, thinking I could do the 5K (even if I just walked the whole time)—no big deal. I didn’t realize when I had signed up that I would have to finish by a certain time limit until my friend pointed it out a month before the race. I crapped myself (not literally, of course) and decided I had spent too much money to not come home with a shiny medal.
I picked my 335-pound self up by my big girl granny panties and started “wogging” (walk/jogging). I could barely make it to the stop sign at the end of my block, and by the time I made it back to my house after the first trip around the block, I saw my average pace was about 24 minutes per mile. I had a long way to go if I was going to reach the pace limit of 16 minutes per mile.
The next day I could barely walk, but I forced myself to lace up my shoes and get back outside. Then the next day, and the next, and finally I was jogging the whole length of a street.
I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and signed up for a StepBet to push myself even farther, because I was not going to lose money on myself. With the encouragement of my husband and a miracle from God in heaven, I was able to finish the race right at the time limit (16:02 minutes per mile, but my app says I went 3.6 miles and I turned it off after I finished), but more importantly, I felt the high that I’m sure every runner does when they cross the finish line.
In the two-and-a-half months I trained, I lost weight and found a new obsession. I inadvertently completed three different 5Ks the first three weekends of November (Disney, Run for Kids—to raise money for a camp for foster kids—and a virtual Santa Hustle). My dad sent me a text when I was in the starting corral at Disney and told me I’m a runner. I replied that I was going to vomit, to which he said to make sure I moved off the course first so no one slipped in it. Ha!
Running is a community. Encouragement from other people has taken me to where I am today. I now seek out people at the gym who are pushing themselves, whether walking or lifting or whatever, and just let them know they are awesome.
I am now training for a half marathon in October 2017 (holy crap!) and aim to reach those out there who don’t think they have it in them. If I started at over 300 pounds, anyone can start right where they are. I am documenting my journey on a Facebook page because I KNOW there is someone out there waiting to start their journey, but they think they can’t.
It doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you go.