I have struggled with weight issues ever since the birth of my son in 1984. I had tried many things to lose pounds. Each worked for a short time, but the weight always came right back.
In 2009, I began exercising and going to Zumba® classes regularly, and I experienced the beneficial effects from those workouts. But unfortunately, that was to be short-lived as well.
I lost my mother suddenly in the December of 2009. This threw me into depression and I lost my desire to exercise. I quit going to the Y for Zumba. I quit working out, period. Then in May 2011, we were hit by the Joplin tornado. This caused me to spiral down even deeper into the pit of depression.
Scroll forward to July 2013: I started having heartburn issues and extreme pain under my left rib. After a week in the hospital, being placed on medication and having testing done over the course of the next two months, I was referred to a surgeon.
On November 5, 2013, I had eighteen inches of my colon removed. During the surgery, the doctor also removed a three centimeter mass in my gut under my left rib. At this time, I was told that I had Crohn’s Disease.
The diagnosis changed my life, drastically altering my diet and negatively affecting my attitude. Since I now had an eight inch scar on my stomach, my mind told me that I couldn’t do exercising at all anymore… forever.
Sure, after the surgery I lost twenty pounds, but after a few months, that weight came back. Now the excessive weight was pulling on my scar. I knew that I needed to do something.
I tried to sign up for a weight loss competition, but because of the radical diet it would have entailed, I was not able to participate. This is when I talked to Karen King, a running coach at the Joplin Y and also a member of my church.
She told me about the Anyone Can Run class starting up in March of 2015. I was excited about the possibilities but also scared at the same time.
When I started this class, I couldn’t even run a minute on my treadmill. You can imagine what my mind was telling me – that there is no way I can do this class.
But I faithfully went each Saturday and diligently did my “homework” throughout the week which involved running and walking in the required intervals.
When I doubted I could do this – when my lungs were on fire and when my body hurt – I had Karen King and class coach Bobby Ballard there to encourage me along the way.
I was especially inspired by Bobby because he had had a heart attack and subsequent open heart surgery and he was still running!
I asked him one day at class, “How many people run like this after having major surgery?” His response back to me: “Not many.” The accomplishments of this man were proof to me that I can overcome my liabilities and my circumstances.
Since I started the Anyone Can Run class, I have run seven 5Ks. These include the Joplin Memorial (my first 5K) and the Armed Forces 5K, which my ACR class ran together.
I plan to keep running and participating in races. Although I have not started losing much weight, I am gaining more muscle definition and have increased my strength and stamina as a result.
Along with the 5K runs and races, I am also participating in Karen’s RunFit class at the Y. I do have limitations due to my surgery, but my body is getting stronger.
I appreciate the Joplin Y and especially Karen King and Bobby Ballard who have really been there for me throughout this journey!