I have a very special story to share with you today. It is the journey of one very inspirational and motivated young lady, Laura. Laura has been with boot camp now for about 8 months, and has been incredibly consistent and determined, and has seen AMAZING results. We are SO very proud of her and excited that she decided to share her story with us. Please read below and leave her a note of congratulations and encouragement!
Here is Laura’s story, as SHE tells it:
I came to visit Seth for our birthdays. We went to Epcot to have some fun. Shortly after the trip, Seth asked if I wanted to run a Disney race. Desperate for some life change, I eagerly said YES! We signed up for the 2011 Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon. I had never run in my entire life. Sure, we were supposed to “run laps” in high school during PE class. Who was I kidding? That was time to chat with my friends while we slowly walked around and around. (Oh yeah, I did the same thing in middle school! I’m seeing a trend.) Luckily, there were free training programs for the race from Olympian Jeff Galloway. I loved his approach of run/walk intervals and a 3 day training week. It seemed daunting, but I was ready for the challenge.
The first scheduled run was on my 29th birthday. It was a 30 minute run and we were supposed to choose a run/walk interval we felt we could do for the entire 30 minutes. I chose the lowest interval of 10 seconds running and 50 seconds of walking. I thought I was going … to … DIE! 10 seconds of running was impossible. I was out of breath, I was sweaty and I just felt awful. I was barely running; I’m fairly certain what I was doing was called “shuffling” or “walking.” I finished that first 30 minute ‘run’ much more aware of how out of shape I really was. I was completely determined to do every single training run and to finish the half-marathon. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, I knew I was going to walk a lot, I didn’t care, I just wanted to do it. One of the things I did to prepare for all of the running was I told EVERYONE. The more people that I told I was running and training, the more I knew I couldn’t quit. I learned the importance if properly fitted running shoes. I read articles and blogs and tips and tricks and motivation tactics. I just absorbed as much as I could. I started running at the public outdoor track. It was a bit boring as I started doing longer runs, but the consistency is what I needed most. Plus, I got enough amusement out of my fellow track users. The choice running outfits, the need to run the wrong way around the track, the very slow pace while reading facebook on phones and not to mention the kids on bikes were all I needed for mental breaks.
Slowly, I started to gain confidence in knowing that I could actually finish the half-marathon. My pace improved, as did my run/walk ratio. The day of the race was nerve-wracking. The race began at 10 pm, so we had all day to think about it. I am a devout over-thinker and a dedicated mental-preparer. I read the race information over and over again, I went through my mental checklist and prepped my things many times. By the time we were actually in our corrals waiting for our start time, I was a bundle of energy and nerves. It was so exciting to be among so many other enthusiastic runners. Fireworks finally announced the start of our wave and I could barely believe it was my own foot that passed over the start line. A Disney race was definitely the best choice for my first ever race. The on course entertainment was high energy with bands and costumed characters; running through the parks at night was awesome. (My favorite on course moment was hearing the Green Soldier dudes from Toy Story yelling like a drill sergeant on the side of the road). It was hard at times. I had to walk more than planned during the last 3 miles or so. I kept telling myself how much fun I was having and using other mental tricks I learned during training. We crossed the finish line with a time of around 3:20, which is slow in the running world, but I knew I had to start somewhere. I was happy and proud and tired. My feet hurt and I was cold and shaky. I felt joy in my heart and I was excited that I was able to reach a goal with Seth by my side. Mostly, however, I just wanted a banana.
During our training, on the Fourth of July, Seth proposed! Shortly after the race, we attended a bridal show in St Petersburg. It was near the end of our day at the expo and a quick walk down one last aisle led me to the person who would change everything.
I saw a booth with a banner that said “Bay View Boot Camp” and there was a bubbly girl who said her name was also Laura. It was kismet. She quickly explained she was starting a 21 day challenge with unlimited classes and a meal plan. She was so kind and sweet that I knew I had to join the challenge. I didn’t find one vendor for our wedding at that bridal show, but I found Laura.
Boot camp seemed to be just what I needed to keep my momentum going. I was nervous for my first class, as I had never really worked out before. I didn’t overthink what was about to come, I just dove right in and tried as hard as I could. I couldn’t do all the reps and it was HARD! I got home and was already feeling the workout. I could barely move the next day. Everything in my body was awakened and it said “OW!” Not being easily discouraged, (Laura is a great motivator!), I came to my second class, which happened to be Thursday and was described to me as “recovery.” I never knew there were so many different ways to work your core! I think this was the first day I ever tried to hold plank and I’m pretty sure I dropped after 10 seconds. Needless to say, I couldn’t even roll over in bed that night! It was awesome; I was hooked.
I finished the 21 day challenge as a top finisher. I followed the meal plan and made it to class 4 times a week. I slowly felt myself getting stronger and just feeling great. I was finally figuring out how to eat properly. Little things just kept clicking into place and, before I knew it, I was able to eat thoughtfully during the day. My cravings disappeared and I ordered smart choices in restaurants. At the start of the 21 day challenge, I stopped drinking Diet Coke. I had been an avid Diet Coke drinker for years. I tried to have one during our first cheat meal of the week and it was gross. I had an instant headache. I haven’t had one sip of soda since October of 2011.
I have been a boot camp regular for almost 8 months. I have lost a total of 60 pounds, 40 pounds just from bootcamp. I have lost 6.4% body fat and a total of 33 inches from my body. Even when I can’t make it to class due to travel, I pull up one of our at home workouts and give it my all. There is no slacking just because Laura isn’t around! I have completed a few more races and each time I am so impressed with what my body can accomplish now. Running for 10 seconds is no longer torture; I can complete a few miles without hesitation. During the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in Washington DC this past spring, I started to get really emotional around mile 7. I just couldn’t believe I was keeping up with the 12 minute mile pace group and I simply felt amazing. I was so thankful for finding Laura. I know I am responsible for myself and my changes, but it has been with Laura’s guidance, motivation, and fun loving spirit that has made this all possible.
Laura held her second Boot Camp Spartan 1000 event on June 1, which just happened to be my 30th birthday. (The Spartan 1000 is 100 jump squats, 200 push-ups, 300 sit-ups and 400 burpees). I completed the first event, but only the 500. I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready to tackle the full 1000. Laura didn’t try to sway me; she just looked at me and said “You can do the 1000.” With a little more convincing from some awesome boot camp team mates, I went for 1000. I finished in 1:45. I was so proud of how far I had come in just a year’s time. I was so happy I made the decision to run the half-marathon. If I had said no, I wouldn’t have been standing there dripping in sweat, grinning ear to ear.
For me, this journey has been about a lot of small moments and changes. It hasn’t been about a number, but the numbers are a great reward. It has mostly been about “what can I do today.” It’s about taking a few seconds to plan out your meals. It’s about finding the motivation within and learning how to ask for help when you falter. It’s about being mindful of each and every step, every bite, every bicep curl.
P.S – Read Laura’s COMPLETE story at her blog at this link: http://shnyrdthng.blogspot.com/