I Pushed Through My Own Barriers To Become An Excellent Runner

Presented with obstacles that could have deterred her from reaching her highest potential, Shelley ran right through them and became badass.

Photo: CapCity Sports Media
Photo: CapCity Sports Media

I’ve been on a running comeback for the last 3 years. What it has taught me is that I am capable of achieving things I never thought I could, like finding my true identity that has been tucked away since I was a child and becoming the runner I always dreamed of. You have to be loving and kind to yourself in the process, knowing your worth and what you deserve. If it’s important—and you want it—you gotta work hard, have a plan in place and stick to it, with the determination that you can do almost anything you want to do in this world.

I have lost 65 pounds and maintained it by eating differently and educating myself about which foods work. It was with this lifestyle change that I dug deep and put my heart and soul into my transformation; because the changes were so gradual and slow, it is important for me not to gain the weight back. I run four days a week and I attend Orangetheory classes once per week where I am a member. I have entered several 5K, 10K, quarter marathons, trail, spartan sprint and battle frog obstacles races to stay motivated. I have consistently set goals to climb higher on leaderboards in my local running community. This hard work and effort has provided me with daily self satisfaction and purpose that I am working toward becoming the best version I can be. It is through that drive that I found where my true passion lies, from taking better care of myself to nourishing my body with healthy foods. I still eat the foods I enjoy and crave with balance and moderation; I am aware of my nutrition choices and eat to fuel to my goals.

My best friend, personal trainer and sports psychologist, Christine Hiler, provided the support and education I needed to start my journey; her help shaped my life and has been such a wonderful gift. Her support continues to inspire me to this day.

I look back now not to focus on missed opportunities and what ifs, because if I ran at an earlier age in high school, there was no telling where I could have gone. I look back now and appreciate the struggles and the hardships I faced to live with joy and gratitude each day. Running moves my mind and spirit, and it puts me in a better mood. I have made new friends, connected with runners and talked with elites, all of whom inspires me to keep working and strive to be the best I can be. I admire the hard work all runners put worth on their own paths.

In May 2016 my employer had organized a Tough Mudder team, and I thought to myself, I cannot take the risk of injury; maybe I should put this off until next year. I was signed up for a half marathon later this year, as well as had a full marathon planned for 2017. I thought about it for awhile, and after dealing with some personal and family situations, I realized that your life can change in a blink of an eye—don’t assume you will get a tomorrow. I knew I was in shape to do this race. The goal was to complete as many obstacles as I could; I am satisfied with the ones I did accomplish, both on my own and with team effort. It was a great time connecting with colleagues I never met before, and the teamwork, combined with a fun-filled tough challenging day, made me glad to be a part of it. To those who have not entered obstacle events: it is great training to mix things up from running and stepping outside of your comfort zone to push your limits, face fears and overcome that fear once you complete that obstacle.

These goals are important because they give me a long-term vision and motivation. They ensure that I am channeling my time and energy into something that matters. They make life more meaningful. They provide focus, accountability and help me achieve my highest potential. I want to uncover potential I never knew existed before. For the rest of you, stick with it despite becoming tired and discouraged by all the work required. Don’t give up—work past a plateau and become stronger and more successful.