Metro Bariatrics - Amir Moazzez MD, FACS

I Am A Runner – Kristin’s Story

Untitled1I am a runner. Wow, that sounds weird. I never (in a million years) thought I would be saying those words. On July 3, 2012, I had gastric bypass surgery. My highest weight was 305. I was wearing a size 22. I am 37 years old. I would take this journey all over again because now I am a runner, and that is where this story begins.

After surgery, I couldn’t quite get on the exercise train. John would look at me at my appointments and ask the questions we all get… “So, how often do you exercise? What kind of exercise are you doing? Any strength training? Cardio?” Ugh. How frustrating. I had no answer. Should I make something up? I was just getting used to how to eat and now I am supposed to work out too?

At the six month mark, something snapped in me. I looked at my naked body and decided that I DID NOT want to have hanging skin. The weight was falling off and hanging skin would be inevitable if I did not start doing something. The young girls at work were all talking about running a 5k and I decided that I wanted to do that, too. I wanted to participate. I didn’t want to be left out.

I have always been a walker. Walking has never been a problem for me, even when I was heavy. So, I made a plan to run. I was going to walk, but this time I was going to run to the curb. No big deal. No commitment. Baby steps. Next time, I ran to the curb again. Easy. Then I ran past the curb and on to the stop sign. The next time, I ran to the end of the block. The time after that, I ran to the next block. It felt good. It felt really good.

After a few weeks I could run a mile. My weight hit a plateau, but people were still noticing that my body was changing. What a feeling! What was the difference? No weight loss, but changing body? It had to be the running.

After a few more weeks, I could run 2 miles. What a high! Me….running 2 miles? Never, ever could I do that. Seriously, I’m the person that couldn’t run unless someone was chasing me with a gun. And, even then I would have probably just surrender my purse. Not even at my thinnest in high school could I run 2 miles. I was still a long way from a 5k, but I was getting there.

The funniest thing happened on the day of the 5k. I had a talk with myself. I made a deal in my head. I knew I could run 2 miles because I had done it in practice. Two miles is a long way from 3.1 miles. I told myself that I would run until I saw the 2 mile flag, and then (and only then) I could walk. The gun went off and I started running. I came to the 1 mile mark and I was feeling good. As I continued to run, I was searching for that 2 mile flag. I got into pace with the man in the red shirt in front of me and I kept running. SERIOUSLY, where was the 2 mile flag? I never saw it. I’m not even sure that there was one. The next set of flags I saw was the finish line. THE FINISH LINE! I did it. I have no idea how, but I did it. There were a lot of tears at that finish line. A lot of tears.

Today (six months later), I run 3.4 miles every-other day. Religiously. And, I look forward to it. Bonkers, I know. I run up hills and through valleys. I run in my neighborhood. I run fast and I run slow. I run for stress relief and to sort out my feelings. In the past, I viewed exercise as a punishment for eating badly. Now I view running as a reward to make my body strong and healthy. A reward for a job well done. Good job, body! You carried me through another day!

I am busy. We all are. I am a teacher. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a tutor. I am busy. I cannot spend 2 hours in a gym. I have 30 minutes every day for exercise. That’s it. Running is fast and easy. Anyone who has shoes (and a decent sports bra)…….can run 🙂

And, if you are wondering, I am one year post-op as of this writing. I weigh 175 pounds and I wear a size 10. I am the happiest I have ever been and I would take this journey again and again, without hesitation.