Get out the door & stick with it.


The Day I Realized I Was a Runner

If you had met me a couple weeks after having my fourth child… you would have thought of me as overweight, undisciplined, and unmotivated. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I had spend years  yo-yo dieting, and my frustration was starting to peak. Throughout my life I had met many runners…and just wrote them off as crazy and exercise obsessed. I didn’t believe I could fit into that world, so I had never tried. My college roommates asked me to run with them and I just laughed!

At that point I still wasn’t “ready” for running, so I changed my eating habits first. A friend told me once that your body impacts the ground at three times your body weight when you run. Believe me…. my poor body would not have handled all that weight well! Over a period of about six months I lost half of the weight purely by changing my thoughts and habits when it came to eating. (If you are interested I wrote a book about my changes called the THINKING WOMAN diet and it can be found at

During that time I had bought running clothes—you know, just in case—but still had not gotten the courage to actually get out there! Last January I went to visit a friend, and on the way home almost missed the plane. It was quite a sight to see the passengers running through the airport! Of course it was the furthest distance it could be, and with gargantuan stairs—multiple flights of them! I was able to keep up for awhile… but about midway I started dragging. I told myself it was just like Survivor—I couldn’t be last! (Thankfully there was an older lady so I wasn’t. Sorry older lady!) It was a short flight to my destination… less than 25 minutes, but my heart rate did not go back down until we landed. It was at that moment that I decided it was time to start running. I decided to do it for me, to improve my cardiovascular health, so that I could be around to enjoy my children. I was honestly worried I would have a heart attack since sadly they run in my family.

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That next day, January 12 of 2013 I started the Couch to 5k program. Like I said, I am crazy motivated, and a goal setter, and also slightly impractical. I say all of that before I tell you that in the beginning I ran EVERY day.  I didn’t tell anyone but my husband. I was scared they would judge me, or worse, hold me accountable! I just went out there.. every day. Even when I didn’t feel like it.

I ran my first 5k in March of that year. I kept telling myself I just needed to finish. And I was proud to have run it in 28:36. A respectable time for someone pretending to be a “runner.” People around me were starting to notice the transformation in my body that accompanied running. I have even had people say I look like a “runner.” I would just nod and smile, but I didn’t believe it in my core. I had spend too much of my life on the other side and still felt like I was “pretending.”  I wore the racing clothes but didn’t have the confidence.  Throughout the year I kept up with it, except when sick or injured. My original shoes were too tight and I ran hills so I lost my big toenail! It was my goal to run over 500 miles in that first year. Mostly so that I could sing… “If I could RUN 500 miles than I could RUN 500 more…..” 🙂

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Over the summer I earned my first medal! It was for a 5 mile race, and I came in second in my age group! I have never been more proud… but still didn’t think of myself as a “runner.”  I hit my 500 miles in October of last year. Less than nine months from when I started…and I still have the email that Runkeeper sent to me that day! I have done a couple more races, and beat the time goals that I have set for myself. There is nothing better than setting a goal and reaching it! My year just ended, and my total miles for the year was 678. I will never forget that number… it reminds me that ANYTHING is possible. This girl that could barely run through the airport can run pretty fast now!  Somewhere in that year a switch turned in me. I used to groan when walking out the door—the hardest step! Now if I don’t run, I groan.

The day I realized I was a runner…

….I went to Starbucks in my race clothes. 🙂

As I was leaving it occurred to me that I was FINALLY comfortable with accepting that image. Running has become part of who I am, and although I might not have the perfect body, it is one that has trained to run [tweet this]. For the last year I have endured, and it has changed me for the better.

I have become…a runner.

Jillian Williams

About the author:
Jillian Williams

Jillian Williams is a Pennsylvania photographer that specializes in newborns and is never without Starbucks. She runs so that she can be healthy and keep up with her four young children. Jillian also became an author when she wrote the THINKING WOMAN diet to help others reach their ideal weight.