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WLS Fitness – Why do I run? I run to fulfill OUR dreams

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So let’s define running. I am a runner. For me that means when I am running, I am moving far faster than I normally do when I am walking. On average I walk a 15 minute mile. When I “run” I can usually get somewhere between a 12-13 minute mile.

I run slow, I won’t ever qualify for the Boston Half Marathon and I will probably never try, because running to me isn’t about being fast, it’s about being free.

I run because I can. When I get tired I remember a time that I weighed 420 lbs and I couldn’t run if my life depended on it. I think of those that still struggle with obesity and I run for them. When I think I have reached my limit, I think of my Father, the promise I made to him to live a happy and healthy life, and how proud of me he would be today, and I run harder, and farther.

TheSlender05I run because I am free from the bondage of my weight. Because I am blessed with good health rather than struggling with co-morbid conditions that obesity brings with it; diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, edema; I had them all, and today I have none of those conditions or contraindications.

I run because I am no longer that sad little girl battling depression; with thoughts of suicide and self-harm. I run because it is a natural antidepressant, and because it gives my mind which is normally chaotic and clustered with all the things on my “to-do list”; a chance to relax, focus and enjoy a few moments of silent.

I run because it is a huge Non-Scale victory for me that my body is capable of it and most the time when people ask me why I run, I smile and ask them back, “Why don’t you run?” – Because more often than not, that is the question they are really looking for the answer too.

And THAT is why I hold these contests on my website. That is why I stopped focusing on small little monthly reader appreciation giveaways and started focusing on a contest that would help answer that question for someone who was looking for the answer.

These contests allow me to do all the things that I am most passionate about; Motivate the post weight loss community into finding the fun in fitness and exercise, giving to a community I care greatly for without taking from them, and I get to run, and encourage others to run with me.

“It’s a big commitment to training, Pandora.” Someone said that to me the other day when they heard about the launch of this second contest. They are absolutely right; it is a big commitment to training. It’s also a big giveaway, and a big financial commitment from our sponsors. When was the last time you saw one of your favorite bloggers do a giveaway that had over a $1,400.00 value? It’s a 33-week training commitment, but if it’s something you’ve ever even remotely had a dream or desire to do, it’s like the massive-weight-loss-make-a-wish-come-true giveaway.

“Why did you pick another RunDisney Half Marathon Pandora?” I know, I asked myself the same thing. RunDisney forces me to do everything last-minute and short notice as far as getting the sponsorship and funding together because of their late announcements about when registrations open. In fact, just like last July when we did the first contest, at the time of the contest launch I have really only secured half of the budget. What that means for my readers is that ONE person can go, and just like last year, I’ve decided that one person needs to be my contest winner and if I absolutely have to, I will figure out how to pay my own way myself. But giving this opportunity to someone else is my first priority. But I choose RunDisney for a few reasons.

1546018_10151839935267447_249017529_nFirst and foremost the races are fun, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon was an amazing experience for me and the first “How do YOU Celebrate Success” contest winner.

Second, choosing these races provides me the opportunity to not just give you a Half Marathon Experience but also provides the additional experience of going to an amusement park and riding rides that you probably couldn’t have ridden before as well as the experience of going to a huge Fitness Expo; which not all Half Marathons have to offer.

Finally, participating in RunDisney event’s gives me an opportunity to send a message that I believe in. It allows me to remind you that our weight loss journey is a never-ending one. That it doesn’t end after surgery, after the weight loss, when we hit “Onderland”, or when we reach our 3rd year Surgiversary. It is a journey we embark on for the rest of our lives. Where we go with that journey is dependent on what our dreams are. If it is your dream to run a half marathon; whether it’s your first half marathon or your fifth, whether it will be the first of many or something you do just one time to prove to yourself that you can do it; choosing RunDisney Half Marathons allows me to remind you that just like Walt Disney himself said…

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

I invite you to have the courage to pursue your dreams with me, to allow me the opportunity to help feed your desire by adding guidance, training and motivation to your journey.

You see my friends, it’s my dream to help motivate, inspire and assist others in their weight loss journeys. To be a part of helping people achieve their goals both big and small. It’s my dream to be a part of bringing the importance of fitness in your post weight loss lifestyle into the forefront and to help others find that fitness doesn’t have to be daunting; it can be freeing and fun.

In fulfilling your dreams, I fulfill my own.

That is why I run. That is why I do these contests. That is why I invite you to run with me.

Now then, who wants to do a Half Marathon with me?

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

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Bariatric Fitness Contest Winners Half Marathon Experience

Guest Blog
By Dawn Brell 

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As I am recovering from my big weekend I wanted to write this blog now so that I can put down all of the things I am thinking before I forget anything.  First I want to say a million big thanks you to all of our wonderful, amazing and generous sponsors. The fine folks at Pace Setter Athletic, Celebrate Vitamins, Kay’s Naturals, and Ameriwell Bariatrics did one of the most amazing and selfless things imaginable.  They gave me a wonderful gift and honestly a once in a lifetime opportunity to go and attempt to do the one of the biggest and hardest things I could have ever imagined.  This ranks right up there with being brave, strong, and fighting the odds to have my surgery.

I have had to fight hard on the way to this half marathon.  When I first won this contest I had several people tell me I was crazy and that no way could I do this.  I was determined to prove them wrong.  I will be honest I did expect that this was going to be hard but I never expected it to be as hard as it was.  I’m not one to shy away from hard things because my entire life has been hard so sometime I’m blind to how really hard it will be a bit of a blessing (cause I will try almost anything) and a curse (when reality kicks me in the face). It was a bit of shock. Add to that shock that after my first 4 mile run my back went out and I was side lined from running for 6 weeks.  I could walk during that time but no running. I was sad to lose that time and I think it may have played a role in the issues with training and time issues that I had.  But I fought on and did the best I could.  I was always a little under the pace that was needed to pull this off.

race morningWe did think that Pandora was going to be able to “drag” the time we needed out of me. But as we stood at the start of the race at 4am I was cold.  I think that I also let a few things get in my head and rattle me. I was so cold I was in pain. Even as I was jumping around like a frog with ants in my pants I couldn’t get warm. I dropped and broke my brand new phone. Then as we were talking to some other racers we were talking about the pressure that I was probably feeling (which I had tried to block out) because so many people, sponsors and loved ones were watching and expecting performance.  It was then that I started to panic because I knew that was true and I was overwhelmed with letting all of these people down.  We finally got to where we were about to start and I was nervous.  We got the official start and no matter what I tried I could not find a rhythm.  I still was not in full on panic mode just yet. I thought that it would come but I still struggled at a little over 3 miles we got a warning that we were going to be swept.  I told Pandora to leave me. She has been running for 3 years and I knew that she could finish this easily I did not want to take that away from her. As she started to go a few tears fell, she tried to stay with me but I wanted her to make her dream come true and I urged her to go and she did. I felt so upset and disappointed in myself. I had done so much better at home and here I was about to be swept in the very beginning and that was a sickening feeling. So I just decided that I was going to go until the sweeper got me.  I picked up and just ran.

At the 4.5 mile mark I was about to get swept again.  I suddenly had that moment where I knew I was not ready to be done and that no matter what I had to do and no matter if I dropped dead I would get half way come hell or high water. Suddenly that rhythm was there.  I was able to run and go and make progress.  I got to the 6 mile mark and was feeling good at what I had accomplished. I got some motivation at this mark as I watched people who were “over it” just sit down and wait for the bus.  I was unwilling to do that and sad to see others do that. I was also shocked by people doing that. What a huge commitment to an event and then decide “I just don’t feel like it”.  So again I was going to go until the sweeper legitimately got me.  So again I stuck to the rhythm.  I also got a lot of energy from the people cheering along the route.  They had some great and funny signs that made me laugh and gave you a little wind.  I got through miles 7 and 8 alright. OK that’s a little white lie. I had a friend texting me and I was telling him that I was hating it and that I was NEVER gonna do it again. I had also told Pandora at one point in the beginning that this was hell and no fun. That little convo is in her blog. At mile 8.5 I almost got pulled by the medical team. I had hurt my foot a few days earlier. I was so happy to be in the warm weather I wanted to wear flip-flops. I love flip-flops however they are not a good choice if you are going to be walking 9-12 miles a day.  We went nearly non stop in Anaheim even with the bad foot.  The medical team could tell I was in pain and having issues but I was able to convince them that I was ok and that I was going to keep going. We knew the sweepers were coming. We thought they were behind us and we were doing alright but what we thought were the sweepers were actually the clean up crew.  At mile 10 the sweeper popped out from a side street and got us.

finishI was sad at first and nearly shed a tear or two but there was an amazing woman on our bus who told me and the others we had nothing to be disappointed about.  We got out and did it.  We should also not be upset and beat ourselves up as we have been surrounded by plenty of people who do that to us against our will so we should not inflict that ourselves. We did a great job. I got farther than a lot of people. I did not quit as a lot of people did.  I kept going no matter how it hurt and I was honest and did not take any of the cheats that I did see others take.  If I had taken one of those cheats I would have finished. But then the whole thing would not have meant as much and where is the pride of finishing if you took shortcuts. I did it and I made it a long way.  I am a little disappointed that I did not finish but the pride and sense of accomplishment I have for what I did and how far I got (without cheating) outweighs that 10 fold.  I will forever cherish that medal.  I will always remember the trials of race day and knowing that I over came nearly being swept twice in 4 or so miles to make it 10 miles is a huge accomplishment and one that can never be taken away.  I again owe that to Miss Pandora and all of our amazing sponsors.  This truly was one of the best times of my life.

hulkMy advice to the next person who wants to do this is try, try, try.  This is possible and it can be done. You have to not be afraid to try to go for it. But realize that it is also a lot of very hard work. You have to be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  I did maybe take it a bit easy after I hurt my back as I was scared to get hurt and miss out totally.  You have to believe that you can do it.  I think you have to research what needs to be done. I never ate or took water on my training runs. I know now that was a bad idea  and that I needed to do that. So I have learned a lot. I also learned that even though I hated it ( at first) and had some doubts about it, my making it 10 miles has made me want to try this again.  So a huge thank you to Pandora for that.  I do hope that I did our sponsors and Miss Pandora proud as I am incredibly proud of myself and what I accomplished during my trip.

This trip also provided a lot of firsts and some healing for me as well. I do not travel alone do to some drama in the past. I almost fainted at the airport on the morning of my flight but I did it. I went all through the airports alone surrounded by strangers and survived that.  I was able to walk in Anaheim some alone and be ok.  Most importantly I was able to do something I was not sure that I could do. I ran in a huge event. Hell I was able to run period.  I do not handle crowds or strangers well and yet I ran with 15,000 people.  So again I owe a huge thank you to Pandora and our amazing sponsors.  Thank you also to Heather, Tammy, Sandy, Kelly, Logan and the godfather  for cheering us on. It was great to meet all of you.

Yes you did read correctly. I am going to do this again. I am going to run another half the end of April. I am also going to start to train for a mini triathlon. I wanted to do it this year but it was only about 6 weeks away when I found out about it and I haven’t ridden a bike in 25 years so I think that was just to close for me to try it this go round. I am also going to go back to the Tinker Bell Half Marathon next year. I will finish. It is my mission to do that.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Slender Seekers Gold Team Sponsors:

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About (Pandora) The Author

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender
Jaime "Pandora" Williams

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