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My Most Important Mile: Leah Gonzalez

This Thanksgiving week, we are going to run a series of Most Important Miles to celebrate the fact that we are so grateful for your stories, our collective miles that send strength and love into the world, the community that brings us together, and the simple ability to run. Thank you, thank you.
It was a cold wintry day in December of 2009 and I went to the gym for my exercise.  To this day I still don’t know what I was thinking, but as I completed my walk, I thought, “I wonder if I can run a mile?”
I’ve never been a runner, never was an active child. I’d begun a weight loss journey and usually only walked or did the elliptical for exercise. But that day I pushed the accelerator button on the treadmill and picked up the pace until I started jogging. It was hard and I thought I was going to die, but I remember thinking, "If those 400-pound people on The Biggest Loser can run a mile so can I !"
And I did.
My 210'ish pound self slogged it out and finished running one full mile finishing in 16 minutes.

I was thrilled. No, I was elated! I had recently begun losing weight and now I had run a mile. It was the slowest mile I'd ever heard of, but I did it all without walking.
I left the gym with a smile plastered on my face and my fingers quickly dialing my best healthiness friend to share the good news.
She was equally excited for me, gushing over and over how awesome it was.  She knew my history of preferring reading over physical exercise any day, my struggles leading up to and on my weight loss journey and how hard those sixteen minutes must've been for me.
What neither of us knew was this was going to be the spark that lit my interest in running aflame. After completing that one mile I thought if I could run one mile maybe I could try for three miles and run a 5K race.  The next month I decided to start following the Couch-to-5K running plan.
I finished the plan, completed my first 5K (in 43:44, running every step) and have since ran five 5K's, six 10K's and a half marathon.  I've also lost more weight along the way and feel so much better physically and even emotionally than I ever dreamed I would.
And it all started with that first 16:00 mile I ran on a whim.

What was (or will be) the most important mile? Share it with us! Best way to submit is to email us your story with a picture: runmother {at} gmail {dot} com with “Most Important Mile” in the subject line. Please try to keep your mile stories under 300 words. Thank you!

6 responses to “My Most Important Mile: Leah Gonzalez

  1. LOVE! I was goaded into running my first race by someone else, how awesome that you set your own goal and smashed it all within an hour!

  2. Very inspiring and encouraging story! I have never liked running but was sparked earlier this year by a local 5K raising money in our local community for two ladies who worked in our school system who were battling cancer. I’d been in my latest weight loss journey about a year with a very encouraging friend who runs. She helped me get ready for the 5K in about 2 weeks. I’ve done one more since, but run 3 mes very regularly now. Still can’t imagine running a 10K let alone a half marathon, but your story encourages me that perhaps I can! 🙂

  3. I wouldn’t think of it as a whim but more of a challenge to yourself which is what all of my races and training have become. That’s how I completed my first triathlon this summer; just a challenge I set forth to myself. Keep up the challenges. 🙂

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