When I read this email from Mary Jo, I was smiling the entire time! No surprise that she blogs over at Run and Smile (isn’t her smile contagious?). She’s adorable and funny and has a great running story. I’m loving what you all have been sharing through your experiences. They motivate me like you have no idea; thank you!


Hi Mel,

I am so excited that you are training for your first half. In the beginning I certainly didn’t start running for the love of running. I started for the same reason most of us start moving–to lose weight! So for me, it all started with a pair of jeans….

I have been pretty lax with making good food choices. OK, let me just admit it–my eating sucked. And it wasn’t because I didn’t know what to eat–it was because I was too busy to make good choices. I know that is a cop-out but it’s true. I was busy being the soccer mom, the football mom, the track mom (I loved watching my son run!), the band mom (my daughter rocked in our school’s color guard), the dog mom and the wife! Most of my meals were eaten at concession stands. My family and home came first and I was waaaaaaay behind everything else. Kind of like every other mom in the USA.

Well getting back to those jeans! I went to put on my size 14 jeans and realized I couldn’t fit into them anymore. It seemed like it happened so fast. How did all this weight sneak up on me? I remember almost wanting to cry. I was going to have to go into the next size jeans..

Because of my height (5′ 1″) this was going to be a problem. I was almost more inches around than tall! I had to make a choice–purchase bigger clothes or finally take care of myself. Running seemed to be the best choice for me so I gave it a try. I was too embarrassed to run outside so I did the next best thing. I headed to my basement and started up my Wii! Yes, my running didn’t start on a beautiful trail, or down the street. It started right here.


After a couple of months of jogging in place, oh I mean running miles on a lush green field, I thought I would give the road a try. I felt great, I dropped a couple of pounds already and I had some confidence built up in me. My goal was to run to my park and back. Well, I had to turn around at the end of my street.
Talk about a shocker! It’s hard to propel yourself in a forward motion! Plus there are cars, weather and dogs to deal with…

So then I thought I would try the indoor track. With a t-shirt, shorts and water, I figured I would start with 4 miles and move my way up to marathon level in a couple of months. This will be easy with no wind, cars and a nice soft floor. Well, Boy was I wrong. I was huffing and puffing and I swear my heart was going to pop! I couldn’t even make it once around a track…

All I kept thinking was, “How the heck do people do this????” I would watch other runners fly by me. They would be listening to music or talking without even breathing heavy. So I walked 3 more times around and sadly headed home.

The next time I went to the track I ran 1 time around and walked 4 circles. And I kept adding one walk-around each week with short spurts of slow running. In 6 months, I was walk-running for 60 minutes. I dropped another 10 pounds and I was feeling strong.

That’s when I decided I wanted this good feeling to never stop. I wanted muscles and I wanted to run. I ran my first 5K and fell in love with the sport!

Running has me doing things I would have never thought I would be doing.

It helped me drop 30 pounds. Here are my before and after pictures.


It got my husband to run (who said we were all crazy to run)

We ran a marathon!


Now I blog about running at Run and Smile!

I hopefully can be an example that if I can do it, anyone can do it. Just find the right shoes, find a run club and sign up for a race. Then run for the joy of running. Hopefully you’ll find the peace and clarity I find during my runs. And the occasional treat…