Last week we featured the inspiring story of a reader who went from couch potato to marathoner. And today we’re sharing another success story with you! And this reader, Jessica Narez, is a rockstar for two reasons. First, she won the October 2010 Fit Bottomed Girls Weight-Loss Challenge in Tampa with a whopping 22 pounds lost in just eight weeks! Second, she also ran in the Disney Marathon earlier this month, completing her first half marathon in the company of her fellow Weight-Loss Challenge teammates. If you could use some motivation, read on to be inspired as Jessica describes her transformation to Fit Bottomed Girl in her own words!
Why did you decide to run this race? My sister, Monica Salas, and great friend, Dr. Monique Holmes, had told me that they signed up for the 2011 Disney Half Marathon. The first thing I thought was, “They’ve got to be out of their minds.” As the weeks passed and they told me to go ahead and sign up also, I did. I’ve wanted to do a half marathon, and this one was the right one. I still had plenty of time to train since I signed up back in June 2010.
Would you consider yourself “a runner” before training? What about now? I didn’t consider myself to be a runner before and, to be honest, I still don’t. Mainly because I still have a long way to go before considering myself as a runner. To me runners are those who have numbers 1, 2, 5 or 7 on their bib numbers on race day and are working on their personal records and beating or reaching those numbers. My goals when I’m out there running in races are to make it to the finish line (and possibly not make it in last).
What was your training like and what did it include? My friend Monique recommended Hal Higdon’s training for the half marathon. It really is a great training schedule. It starts out with doing a few miles the first week of training and gradually increases the miles as the weeks progress. He also incorporates cross-training and rest for the body to recover.
What was the hardest part of training? The best part? The hardest, I would say was making the time to train. With work, kids and everything that life throws at you, I really found making the time to go out and run my training miles to be the hardest. But the best part would be when I did get to do my training runs and the feeling of accomplishment. The feeling that I’m moving one step closer to that goal.
What was your goal for the race? Since this was my first half marathon, I didn’t have a time to beat so my main goal was to FINISH. To cross the finish line!
How was the race? Did you reach your goal? It was definitely an experience! All the people who were out there racing and those that were cheering everybody on made it such a great experience that was unforgettable. I reached my goal of crossing the finish line. My goal was to finish the 13.1 miles—and I did!
What is your best memory from the race? Does one mile stand out? My BEST memory would have to be that I ran my first half marathon alongside my sister. We got separated at the beginning with all the people starting out, but we met up at mile 4 and ran the rest of the way together. This was the first half marathon for the both of us and to have ran it next to my best friend is unforgettable.
Any tips for other beginning runners? Train, train, train! Your body has to adjust. Don’t jump into doing 6 or 7 miles on your first day. You will burn yourself out and get discouraged. If you’ve never run before, start small. Sign up for a 5K and train your body to eventually complete a 5K.
Will you run another race? I will admit that during this race, around mile marker 9, I thought to myself that I will never run another race again. Mainly because I wore the wrong shoes for the race, and I was paying for it toward the end. But once I did complete the race, I was ready to sign up for another. This time to be better prepared. We learn from our mistakes and that’s just part of the learning process. AND I will run another half marathon to beat my time from this race.
Anything else you’d like to add? The whole race event experience is something that will be with me for years to come and has given me a desire to keep running. A friend of mine told me before the race to soak it all up and that this whole race weekend will really touch my heart. And that, it has done. Whether you’re planning your first 5K or full marathon, remember to stay safe but most importantly, have fun!
We couldn’t be more proud of Jessica for all of her accomplishments—most of all her positive attitude to go forth and go after those dreams! Congrats! —Jenn