By Allison Samuelson, Quad Cities Area Moms RUN This Town/She RUNS This Town (MRTT/SRTT)
Do you ever feel like your fitness story isn’t worth telling? Well, NEWS FLASH, every story is worth telling. Here is where I am in my story.
Standing on the sidelines has always kind of been my thing. I was a cheerleader in high school; I have coached junior high, high school, and Special Olympics cheerleading.
I am there to cheer on friends at races and dek hockey games, I cheer on my students at show choir competitions, orchestra concerts, talent shows, and sporting events.
I just like to cheer people on at life in general. It’s my thing.
However, even with all this cheering, I struggled myself to “get in the game” or to be a cheerleader for myself.
Once I finally did step off the sidelines and on to the court, I tore my ACL during a teacher rec league volleyball game. Ridiculous, right?!
That summer consisted of a knee surgery and countless hours of physical therapy. That summer also consisted of finding an exceptional love. A love for two things, a love for my now-husband and a love of running.
I, of course, did not get to run because of my recent surgery, but I did get to be part of the running community by supporting my partner at his races.
It is such an awesome feeling, being a spectator at a finish line of a race. I had never felt so inspired to get out there and accomplish something like I did that summer.
Little did I know at the time, being the one to cross the finish line is an even more incredible feeling.
When I finally recovered from my knee surgery and got the “all clear,” I was ready to start running. I did not even know where to begin. I picked people’s brains, read lots of articles online, and downloaded apps. You name it, I did it.
Over the next year, I worked hard to get my 5k time to something I thought was “decent,” and to lose weight because I knew that would make running feel better.
That year was great, but I became fixated on weight and time. I got burnt out.
Then life happened. We bought a house and got married. I started a different teaching job. I started and finished my masters. I began teaching in a new district. I kind of just lost my focus. I stopped being my own cheerleader.
Then, on a whim, I became a member of the Quad Cities Area Moms RUN This Town/She RUNS This Town group.
I sat back until I got brave enough to start participating in some events.
I met some incredible women who didn’t care about their race times; they just loved the sport of running and the community feel.
I was invited to join a training program at Fleet Feet Sports in Davenport, and from that moment on, I was “re-hooked.”
There were group runs where everyone was encouraging each other. People had all different body types, paces, and goals. It was incredible to be a part of something so amazing. I was motivated and inspired in all types of new ways.
I began following people’s running journeys on Instagram. Instead of feeling bad that I wasn’t as good as they were, I became inspired by them to keep pushing myself to be my best.
I was inspired to do a half marathon, and I did a streak (run at least 1 mile everyday) for an entire year.
I even started my own Instagram (@fitatthirtytwo) to track my journey, hold myself accountable, be my own cheerleader, and hopefully inspire others.
I was nervous that because I don’t fit “the mold” of what most people would define as a runner, people wouldn’t be interested in my journey.
You know what? I don’t care anymore; I am doing this for myself. I am my own cheerleader.
I don’t need to fit into their box, I need to be me, I need to do this for me.
This is my journey and my story and I want to live my best life. If I can encourage someone, motivate someone, support someone, then my heart is full!