July 27 2017
Mirna Valerio, future author of her own book, shares that there's no secret to getting brave. You just do it.
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.