Six months after the birth of my second child I found myself in a rut. I was still carrying around 20 pounds of baby weight, I was exercising very infrequently, and my diet consisted of eating anything I could cram in my mouth quickly while my daughter was napping. I needed to make a change, I wanted to make a change, but my attempts to improve my nutrition and fitness routine were always short-lived.
Frustrated at my inability to stick to any diet or exercise goal I set for myself, I decided to make a public declaration of my intention to change my lifestyle. I took to Facebook to write a status update for all to see. Surely all those watchful eyes would keep me honest?
“I want to run a half marathon. Training starts tomorrow,” I wrote. Even as I pressed post I doubted how serious I really was. The status message wasn’t up 10 minutes before I had a reply from a friend that lived a few hours away.
“Me too! Let’s do it together.”
Then, moments later another friend commented. “I’m in too! This going to be awesome.”
And just like that, I was committed. A couple of weeks later a third friend of ours joined the challenge and that’s how we came to be four women living hundreds of miles apart bound together by a common goal.
We all began at different fitness levels. I couldn’t run 100 feet without becoming winded while another of my friends was already running in local 5K races. Through email, social media, and even notes in the mail we encouraged one another.
The thought of letting down the group was all the motivation necessary to keep us going. How could I skip out on a run when I knew somewhere across the country my friends were pushing through theirs? For six months we trained. We shared in each others successes and comforted each other during set backs. Finally, we all met up in a central location to run our first half marathon. I have no words to describe the feeling of crossing that finish line together.
That was two years ago and to this day completing that race with my friends is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. From it I learned a lot about motivation, about friendship, and about being accountable. I also developed a love of running that has stuck with me over the years.
I also learned to never put anything on Facebook I’m not prepared to back up.