About a year ago, I began seeing my Facebook feed fill up with posts from my running friends about this program called Running Start, asking people to apply to be Beginners and Motivators. After about the fifth one, I finally clicked on it. I read about the program it’s goal of helping women with barriers to exercise get started, or to restart after a long break. The immediate goal was a 5K, which all the women would run and walk together.
I had always enjoyed being active, but it had also never come easily to me. I was an overweight kid, and an obese teen. Even at a young age, their were warning signs of the coming health problems, and doing the things I loved was becoming more and more difficult. In college, I managed to lose ⅓ of my body weight and become a much happier and healthier version of myself. Physical activity, especially outdoors, and running in particular, have been at the center of this journey for me. So, I knew the mountain these women had to climb, and I knew the gifts that taking this journey could bring. I was all in!
I met my beginner Elizabeth a few days after our kick-off meeting. She is an inspiration, one of the strongest, kindest, most giving people that I know. Elizabeth immigrated from Mexico with her family as a teenager, and has raised her two sons here. Family comes first, and she works hard to provide her sons with the American dream and to take care of her mother. She had a lot of fear about beginning to run. She worried a lot about what others might think and compared herself to experienced runners flying along the bike paths of Fort Collins. I could really relate to this. I secretly still had a bit of a fear of group runs.
Seeing Elizabeth work past her fears and take on not just running, but swimming too, and to learn that she can have so much more to give her family if she can also take care of herself has really inspired me. I was coming back from a serious bike accident and feeling a bit burnt out on running, overwhelmed, and unmotivated. Being a part of Running Start was the perfect way to re-light that fire and remind myself that I could overcome my own barriers. Since the program, I’ve even been joining in on some group runs with my running club! Elizabeth, along with many of the class of 2019, have committed to the Bolder Boulder as their first 10K. I can’t wait to see this amazing group tackle their next challenge, and to help the Running Start 2020 hit that first milestone!