This Is a Day to Celebrate

My last post was about National Donut Day and the many anxieties that can crop up for people seeking better health. Today is a day that I can freely celebrate! It’s National Running Day!

My first foray into running started in 2007, when I quit smoking after 18 years of a multiple pack a day habit. I was well over 300lbs and did a 5K with one of my friends after seeing a poster at work. That first race gave me a sense of accomplishment that I never felt before. 

My running continued until I completed the Hyannis Half Marathon in early 2008. I stopped running to recover after that race and didn’t gain momentum again for years. I also gained a lot of weight in the interim especially since my go to coping mechanism of smoking was gone. 

After RNY Gastric Bypass in December 2014, I started walking then running and then set my sights on finishing the marathon. I completed the NYC Marathon in November 2016, realizing a 20 year dream. 

On National Running Day I want to celebrate what Running has done for me. For the first time in my life I felt as though I was running toward something instead of running away. Living a life that was so fear-based I learned to run from discomfort, run from confrontation, and run from disappointment. In running from those things I ran into the waiting arms of Ben & Jerry’s, Dominos, and McDonalds. 

Running provided a place that allowed me to clear my brain of the life chatter that gets trapped, swirls around and makes you feel stuck. Long runs provided a time to work out these thoughts in a positive and healthy way. Trust me, 18 miles gives you plenty of time to think!

Running also introduced me to a community of people who were so kind and accepting. I never thought I’d fit in with runners – especially at my heaviest – but runners have proved themselves to be the most gracious and kind athletes. They cheered me on and applauded my efforts and treated me as a runner because I was a runner. The only person who ever doubted my  athleticism on the road was me!

Running is a mental game. Your body will continue to show up and perform long after your mind thinks it should stop. You learn to trust the strength of your body and allow the Holy Spirit to quiet your mind. 

Most importantly, running is for everyone. The largest, slowest person on earth can complete a marathon if they put their mind to it. At the NYC Marathon I watched as countless people crossed the finish line that if you saw them on the street you may not think “athlete” or “runner” or “marathoner” but I assure you they are all of those things!

  • The 80 year old man completing his 40th marathon
  • The 400lb man who had something to prove to himself
  • The woman with one leg who finished the marathon in 12 hours on crutches! 
  • The young girl who heard over and over again that she would never finish
  • The hand cycle marathoner who shows incredible strength and endurance 
  • The husband and wife cancer survivors who wanted to cross the tape together marking that they would not allow cancer to defeat their spirit even after it ravaged their bodies
  • And me, the formerly 425lb woman who had a dream that I could toe the line and finish.

There are so many stories, so many reasons. If you feel as though running is not for you or think you could never do it I encourage you to think again. Take the first step, let it become miles, and eventually you will feel a sense of accomplishment you never knew existed. Then relive that moment every time you polish that finisher’s medal! 

Happy National Running Day! Celebrate! 

Author: Regina Bartlett

Regina Bartlett is a blogger and speaker from the gorgeous Rhode Island coastline where she spends her days with her amazing husband Jeff and their combined family of six adult children and two very tiny adorable chihuahuas. She’s active in her church, sings on the praise team, and is amazed every single day at how God has totally changed her life. Formerly 425 lbs she’s battled her weight for 30 years until RNY Gastric Bypass surgery in December 2014 where she lost 250 lbs and gained a new lease on life. She wants to share with anyone who thinks that they MIGHT be interested in surgery and knowing the real truth behind the surgery since there are a lot of misconceptions and fears. Deciding that she needed a challenge to continue with her weight maintenance she decided to embark on running the NYC Marathon in 2016 on Fred’s Team for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Like so many people, her life has been touched by people affected by cancer. Discovering that her friend of over 25 years was diagnosed with breast cancer she had even more inspiration to run. On November 6, 2016, she completed the grueling 26.2 miles through all five boroughs of New York City and realized her 20 year dream of completing the largest marathon in the world. This blog will travel with Regina as she laces up her shoes and continues to challenge herself while sharing stories of her life and the people who have been an influence on her over the years. You’ll find stories, recipes, crafts, photographs of the wonder that is Little Rhody and countless photos of her tiny pups Sid Vicious and Taxi Fitzgerald. TL;DR: Wife, mother, writer, avid crafter, lover of Jesus and tiny dogs everywhere with a story to tell. FOR BOOKING INFORMATION please use the contact form below or email navigatingweightloss@gmail.com. Thank you!

5 thoughts on “This Is a Day to Celebrate”

    1. Tha absolute icing on the cake of an incredible weekend was having you there at the finish line and being allowed to medal me. I will never forget that day, those feelings, and having you my very best friend as well as husband share those moments with me! ❤️

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