My 1st 5K

February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


I did it !

I participated in my first 5K

And I survived!

What surprised me the most were the lessons learned along the way


You see we want to grow as individuals.

We want to stretch out of our comfort zones

We want to be brave and courageous and push beyond our limits

But then there is that other part of us that does NOT want any of that

That part of us does not want to grow.

It does not want to stretch out of the comfort zone

It could care less about bravery and courage

No–it wants the bubble

The familiar bubble where everything is what you know


I’ve learned over the past 7 years to control my anxiety

By living within safe boundaries

A 5 mile radius from my house

Known streets and stores

Nothing unfamiliar or untested


I’ve learned to handle the logistics of obesity

By going to places I know

Where the aisles are wide enough

The chairs are big enough

There is an elevator instead of stairs

And no crowds



You can’t fit in a crowd when you are obese

You can’t fit in a porta potty

You can’t walk up and down curbs

Over uneven and rocky paths

You can’t stand in a long line

On knees that hurt

And feet that swell


You don’t do things in unfamiliar surroundings

Because you could get stuck LITERALLY

In a tight space

In a narrow walkway

You could break furniture

I’ve done both

And these are experiences you don’t want to repeat

So you control your surroundings to protect yourself



There are no spontaneous adventures

No unknown variables

You stick to the script

Hold to the plan

You stay in the bubble


Doing this 5K was about so much more than running

It was about so much more than training my body to go at a certain pace

It was about doing new things

Going out of my comfort zone

Showing up at a location that hasn’t been fully scoped out first

Maneuver unfamiilar surroundings

Navigate through crowds of people

All things I taught myself NOT to do

If I wanted to protect myself from the embarrassment

Of getting trapped in a tight space

Or a crowd

Or a narrow hallway

Or halfway into an event or activity

That I couldn’t physically handle

All of those things are variables

That posed a threat to my carefully balanced bubble


When we feel threatened, nervous and anxious

That can sometimes turn to anger

And I’ll admit I was angry for a whole week before the 5K

It was my brother’s idea for us to do this

He has done 5K’s and half marathons and Triathlons

But me?? NO!  That’s not my thing


Remember, I’m the little girl that threw up EVERY SINGLE YEAR

At the physical fitness test

Every year we had to run the 600 Yard Dash

And every year I threw up

I was so predictable that the kids in my class placed bets on it

They were not betting on whether  I would throw up

Because it was a given that I would

It was a fact

The betting was on “at what point” or “when”

Because there was no question that I was going to


My brother asked me to write down 3 goals for this 5K

I’m pretty sure he expected a lot more than I what I gave him

This was our text conversation





I didn’t have such a great attitude going in

And right before hand, more stresses came to the surface

Which I talked about here

All these things threatened my carefully balanced sanity

And made me want to quit before I started

If Lee and Beth had not already bought plane tickets

And spent so much time training me for this 5K

I might have bowed out


Because that’s what I do when I feel anxious

I hide


Close the blinds

Turn off the phone

Grab my blanket, my food, and the remote control

And sail away to some faraway place

Riding my recliner

On the wings of Netflix

THAT is how I like to handle uncomfortable things

But not this time….


This time I did the uncomfortable thing

I chose the unfamiliar path

I did not feel ready to do the 5K

And I dreaded it

I was anxious and nervous

I felt inadequate and upset and angry

Because I wanted to stay in the bed

And press “Play” on some movie Netflix recommended


Instead we got in the car and drove to McCallister Park

We pinned on our numbers

That had chips on the back to track our pace

I kissed my children goodbye at the starting line

And I stood between my brother and his wife

Until the time came



My brother had a plan

A pre arranged pace

We started out jogging

And a few minutes later

We walked

This continued

Walking and running

Throughout the course


I had it in my mind I had to run the whole thing

The entire 3 miles

And I wanted to quit before I started

Because I felt overwhelmed

But when I told him this the day before

He said “Why would you think that?”

Had I forgotten the “30 Seconds” mentality?

That you go at YOUR pace

Not someone else’s

And if you need to walk

Then you walk

If you need to crawl

Then you crawl!


The course was full of twists and turns

The path was uneven

And there were some hills

At one point we came upon cactus

And it reminded me of the wilderness

I began to think of how much the path

Was just like the weight loss journey

Because losing weight is just like this

Twists and turns

Good days and bad days

It’s uneven too

Plateaus and stalls

Successes and failures

And then you come upon the wilderness

Where for awhile all you see is cactus

You see no progress

But then when you least expect it

It turns towards the light


Every time my brother told me to walk

I walked

Every time he told me to run

I ran

And here’s the crazy part


I had followed his training plan for this 5K

For about 2 months

And while I was not able to run the whole way

I would say we ran about half the time

At no point did I quit

At no point did I fall

I never threw up

I didn’t pass out

Or have a heart attack



I had imagined that I would be the last person to finish

That the people would be breaking down the tables

And everyone would have gone home

Before I even reached the finish line

Because I’m always last


If I even finish at all


When we got near the finish line

I could hear people cheering

I could see them lined up along the sides

We ran past them

And my brother said “This is it!  Put your hands up!


I saw my kids right where I had left them

Waiting for me

They were there at the finish line

And the smiles on their faces brought tears to my eyes

Because I am the same mother who 19 months ago

Slept in a recliner because she couldn’t sleep in a bed

Whose feet would not fit in shoes

Who needed help getting out of a chair


But now I was running

And I wasn’t even last

In fact I was in the middle of the pack!

I was keeping up!!

And I was crossing the finish line

Into my children’s arms!


I did not want to do this 5K

Because I did not believe I could

I believed I could not handle it

I believed I could not keep up

I believed I would throw up or pass out

Or have a heart attack

Even though I had trained for it

And yet still I held onto that belief

Because of my history

Because of my past experiences

Memories and old tapes that played in my head and said

This is just who you are

My past wanted to determine my future

And it almost did


I’m 40 years old

And for the first time in my life

I ran and did not throw up

For the first time in my life

I was not last

But even if I had been

It would not have mattered

Because it’s not where you finish

It’s THAT you finish

It’s not where you start

It’s THAT you start


This is what I wrote the day before the 5K

6:33 AM

This is how I feel right now.  Annoyed and a little bit angry.  I don’t want to do this and I think signing up for this has just put more pressure on me than is necessary.  I really feel only irritation. I already know what happens when I do things like this.  I throw up.  I have a panic attack.  I hold up everyone because they have to wait for me. I’m always last.  People like me shouldn’t even sign up for things like this.  It’s totally embarrassing and ridiculous.  I do not want to do this and i am very unhappy that i have had to waste the last several weeks in worry and anxiety over this.  I have spent so much of my energy worrying about it.  I will be so happy when this is over with and I will never ever do this again. I absolutely refuse to ever do something like this again.  I have no clue why anyone would voluntarily do this to themselves!!!!

This is what I wrote after the 5K

2:12 pm

That was awesome!  I cannot even believe how awesome it was.  I never understood why anyone would  voluntarily sign up for something like this.  I always hated to run so I could never understand why people would pay money to get up on purpose and run?  And if you were going to do it why do a race with other people? I just couldn’t understand it.  But today was just really cool!  It wasn’t until about one mile  in that I started to really get what it was all about.  For one thing it is a great charity and in all my self-focus I didn’t even stop to think that I was doing something for a great cause.  Secondly, the people there were all going at different paces.  The truth is I could have done this a year ago.  Not running it but walking it.  And no one judges anyone.  They are just all on the path moving forward.  The atmosphere is so encouraging too.  People are cheering for you all along the way. Holding up signs and saying “way to go!” You don’t get that on the treadmill by yourself!  But most of all the feeling of crossing the finish line and knowing that you really did it.  That is a feeling all people should experience in their life.  Yesterday I thought this was probably one of the worst things I would ever have to do in my life.  Today I want to reach back and tell the ‘me’ of yesterday to get a grip!  All the drama and the anxiety was ridiculous.  This was fun! In fact, the kids want to do one with me next and I found one next month we will do.  In May, we are probably going to head back to Florida to do a 5K with Lee and Beth on the beach.  Yesterday I hated the very idea of a 5K and today I’ve already planned out two more to do!  It never fails to amaze me how entire mindsets can be changed when we just take a chance on ourselves!


One event

One decision

One action

To go through with the 5K

Completely altered my perception


There is only one other time in my life

That some form of exercise has impacted my life

In such a significant way

And it was the day I got out of the hospital bed

And walked

For 30 Seconds

Because I didn’t think I could do it

I thought I would die or throw up or pass out

But I did it

And 30 seconds later…I knew that I had accomplished something

I never believed I could


19 months ago, my brother  flew out here

And walked 30 seconds with me down a hospital hallway

As I rolled my IV and grumbled about how I would never be able to make it

To the end of that hallway and back

But he knew there was hope for my future

Even if I could not see it


This past weekend

He flew out here again

And I found myself in a similar situation

While I grumbled and complained

Sure that I could not overcome my past

He reminded me once again that….


Hope in your future = Power in your Present


Because once we believe that there IS hope

Once we have faith that our future CAN change

Then suddenly we will find the power we need

To take action in our present

And those actions we take

Move us one step closer to where we want to be


When I crossed that line

I heard MY name announced over a loudspeaker

“Holly Rose….crossing the finish line!”

I never thought  the day would come

That I’d hear that


But you know what sounded better??

The sound of my children yelling


When they saw me rounding the corner

And heading for the finish line

Because they have been there through it all

From 30 seconds to 5K

From desperation to victory

And as a family we have learned

That getting outside our bubble

Is worth it!


















My brother and I have lost close to 500 pounds combined so far




And we both started out with just 30 seconds

Because at the time, that was all we could do

I never thought it would be enough to make a difference

But guess what?



I’m not done yet

And maybe I never will be

But this much I know

Have Faith

Believe in Hope

And your life will change

That’s a promise!!



 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney February 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I am so thrilled to hear how your first 5k went! I was praying for you this weekend, and what I wonderful thing to see my prayers answered!
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Natalie February 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Awesome work!

I have my first 5K in about 7 weeks. I did my first training yesterday morning with a friend. I complained about getting up early, I complained the grass was wet, I complained that I sucked because I could hardly run at all. I wasn’t very fun to be with, and today I have been seriously considering cancelling tomorrow’s session.

Until I read your post!

I’ll do the training. I’ll do the race. I won’t be able to run the whole way, but so what?

Thanks, Holly!
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Lori February 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm

This brought a tear to my eye. I can just hear your children cheering you on. Good for you for sticking it out during the hard part to reap the reward.

And good for your brother to encourage you no matter what.


Shelly February 26, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Great job. You are such an inspiration! Your before words are the ones in my head! Time to push past those.


Lady Amanda February 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Absolutely loved this post! Loved all of the pictures! soooo exciting!


jen February 26, 2013 at 11:59 pm

This is so wonderful! And brought tears to my eyes. Crossing the finish line is so much more than the physical part of it. I also struggled with obesity and many beliefs that I would never, ever could run. When I walked, crawled, ran across my first 5K finish line – my life was forever changed. It was the first time i truly believed that i could do anything i set my mind to.

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Jackie W February 27, 2013 at 12:00 am

I cried both times I did a 5K…what a feeling!
It’s like you’re not competing with anyone but yourself. And when you do your next one, you will want to beat your previous time and set a new PR.

Congrats to you Holly! I can’t think of anyone more deserving than you!


Lady Amanda February 27, 2013 at 12:01 am

Are you going to start a wall with pictures from all of your races? I think it would be super cool!


Suman February 27, 2013 at 12:07 am

I am so happy for you! The feeling of being in control, and being strong, and being healthy is the best feeling in the world. You did the work and you reaped the rewards. Your story is not only an inspiration to those who, like you, have fought back from the death-curse of obesity, but for the average overweight individual who can’t seem to start or commit. They see a mountain; you saw hills. They see miles; you see steps. They see months; you see seconds. I am privileged to have followed your journey through your blog posts and elated at your accomplishment. Congratulations! Not only have you proven to yourself that you deserve the best, you have modeled for your children that a strong woman, a good mother, takes care of herself. Children need to see that. Keep up the great work- you are a rockstar!! xxxxxx


Anna February 27, 2013 at 12:08 am

Holly, my goodness girl, almost every time I read your blog, I cry….but this post takes the cake. Your experience is just amazing….I am so proud of you for trying it. I am doing such a happy dance for you!!! Yeahhhhh!!!!


Mrs. Swan February 27, 2013 at 12:15 am

I did my first 5k on Saturday 2/23/2013 also. They were breaking down the race course as I walked past. I did finish though. 🙂 Even if I was LAST. LOL Congrats on your first.
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carly February 27, 2013 at 12:19 am

You are simply amazing!!!!! This brought tears to my eyes more than once. Congrats!!!


Linda Kuil February 27, 2013 at 12:23 am

TOLD YOUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😛
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Tina February 27, 2013 at 12:24 am

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Angie February 27, 2013 at 12:41 am

Very inspirational! Thank you for sharing. I have HOPE to do a 5 K one day!


Lee Ann February 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

Awe.. Brought tears to my eyes! I KNEW you could do it! I never lost faith in you! So when are you planning to do your next one? They are addicting you know! Wear your race shirt proudly!
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Cindy February 27, 2013 at 1:19 am

All I can say is you deserve to feel every bit of that excitement. You did it! You worked for it! I do believe prayer works but I also believe that sometimes prayers need action and you were the action. Way to go girl!!


Deb February 27, 2013 at 1:20 am

WOOHOO and congratulations!! Thank you for sharing your journey, it brought back beautiful memories from my 1st 5k :-). So addicting in the most incredible way! Matthew 19:26 is one of my favorites…


Cindy R February 27, 2013 at 2:02 am

You go girl!!! Thirty seconds at a time — anything is possible! Thank you very much for being such an inspiration to all of us.


KarenS February 27, 2013 at 2:32 am

Holy Holly Rose! Wowza! Your story needs to be shouted from the rooftops!!!

God Bless you!

(PS between you and me, I have been known to scope out unfamiliar territory beforehand, including 5k trails, school campuses, restaurants…)


Nicola February 27, 2013 at 4:06 am

Yay!!!! Go Holly, that’s so awesome. Your achievement is amazing and so is your brother’s, I love that his t-shirt reads ‘Determined’ as from everything you’ve written that one word sums him up perfectly. Never give up, never surrender, you have done a 5K now and can do as many as you want again in the future 🙂


Rhonda February 27, 2013 at 4:51 am

I was pretty sure that you would feel differently AFTER finishing the 5k. I felt the same way as you did and found myself pumped after actually completing one. I now run 3 times a week and have done two half marathons and am considering a full this Fall. My guess is that you will find yourself running a 10k in the next year! Keep up the great job Holly… so happy for you and your family. You are all an inspiration xoxo.


Sarah February 27, 2013 at 4:55 am

Congratulations! You guys look so great—and HAPPY! 🙂



Sarah February 27, 2013 at 8:17 am

Congrats on finishing!!!

As I write this I have tears running down my cheeks. I can relate so closely to what you wrote about controlling your environment, and how much energy and effort go into that. I noticed today how much anxiety, anger and fear I feel when I’m having to participate in something I have no control over, and can’t scope out beforehand.

Thank you again for sharing. You did it, and are truly an inspiration to so many of us wherever we may be on our journey.

Sending blessings,



jennxaz February 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

wootwoot!!!! That is so awesome…what a cool post and I bet you totally inspired your children which I think is just priceless! thanks for being Real!


annamarie February 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Absolutely wonderful, fantastic job you have done. Also to your brother, what encouragment he has given you. And now that encouragement you share with all of us. Thank you.

I love the picture with you and your brother raising your arms high in the air. And of course with all your children.

May God continue to bless you and your family.
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Fee February 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Your post got me all teary eyed, in a good way! Way to go Holly!


Tess February 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm

YEEEEHAWWWW!! You did it! And now you’re addicted! ;D I’m so proud of you! I’ve waited for this post for days, I’m glad you wrote about your victory!! YOU ROCK!! And you brought tears to my eyes, thanks a lot! 😉


JC February 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Such an awesome post. Thanks so much for sharing it. Holly you rock!


Pam February 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

That last picture–Simply glorious! Way to go Holly!
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Ronda February 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm

OMG, that picture of you and your brother crossing the finish line is priceless! What an amazing story. I’m sitting here at work, trying to maintain my composure, and I’m crying happy tears for you both.
I hope you’ll make many copies of that photo and frame it.
Put it on the fridge, on your walls, in your car, everywhere! What an inspiration!
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LizInScotland February 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Holly, you wonderful girl! This made me cry. Well done! X


Frank February 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Amazing simply amazing your words touch my heart. God bless you. i also hope to do a 5k. i’m down 115lbs and walking 2.15 miles a day..


Meta February 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I am proud of you. I know about comfort zones and how hard it is to branch out. Congratulations on completing your first 5K.
And kudos to your brother and his wife to run with you. Yeah!


Michele Moore February 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Congratulations! What an accomplishment.
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Trish @I_am_Succeeding February 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Yay!! I am sooo proud of you!!!!!!! Go Holly!!!!!
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Christine A. February 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I cried when I saw that last picture and the caption. Praise God, always.
So proud of both of you.


iamjustscott February 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Simply amazing. Great work and I look forward to reading the recaps on your next couple races.


Robyn February 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Holly- You did it!! Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I just KNEW you would do it and feel like it was worth it all.
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Margene February 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

Awesome and Inspiring!! I LOVED this post and all the pics. You are a ROCKSTAR!!! There is great WISDOM in your words, girl… because you have the experience, tears, and pain as well as the overcoming your trials to back it up. That brings so much power to your words and this post!

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Faith February 28, 2013 at 5:11 am

Made me cry happy tears. I’m so proud of you. 🙂


Cindy February 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I am reading your post and crying. I am so proud of you. I wish I lived in Texas because we so would be best friends. Congratulations Holly.


Ginger AKA iadopted5 February 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

You both ARE amazing! What an inspration! What a witness! What joy for your children to travel this journey with you and you and your brother to be there for each other. Simply Amazing! Congrats!
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Christine A. February 28, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Finally had the opportunity to read you post. Wow, I’ve learned so much from you. The reasons for the struggle aren’t always the same but the safety zone are definitely up for other reasons. Sticking to the script and playing it safe have gotten me through a divorce, a drug addiction, make that two, and being a scared single mom. I never realized why veering from the plan was so very scary for me. If the smallest thing changed it sent me out of whack and sometimes into turmoil, if not on the outside, for sure inside. This is something my husband knows about me but I’m not sure he even knows why, but this has opened my eyes. Fortunately the Lord has me in His hands now because I am one of His children. I never have to be scared anymore because I can run to the safety of His arms and walk through the unknown unscathed. Thank you Holly. Now I want to run a 5K too.


myrtle March 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Your blog is so inspiring; I’m so happy you succeeded. What a wonderful brother and sister in law to help you on your journey. Bask in your success; all the best always.


Merrily Mann-Brown March 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm

So proud of you! I miss you….
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Chelle March 2, 2013 at 3:28 am

By the time I finished reading I was crying. I do the same I through a tantrum before I workout/run even though in the back of my mind I know I’ll feel better and love it afterwards. Letting our past habits that have consumed and dictated how we are continue is a hard thing to say good bye to you. Congrats on your 1st 5k
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Judy Rose March 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm

You are beautiful, strong and courageous. Hearty congratulations!


Cassandra March 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm

This made me cry!!! Thank you for sharing your journey.


Cat March 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I hope to one day get that far. Marathons are so intimidating. I could have gone on one near me that was a sponsored “zombie” walk. I chickened out because I just don’t have that stamina yet. 🙁
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Margaret Rogers April 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Oh Holly, I needed to read this so bad! I’m glad I took the time, it’s exactly what I needed! I’m terrified about beginning this running thing but you have inspired me! Thanks so much for sharing!
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Erin May 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I really cannot say enough about how inspiring this is! It brought tears to my eyes, but joy to my heart! Congratulations! And I hope to one day have the success that you’ve had!


Lou July 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Omigosh, the more I read your blog entries, the more I see we’re soul sisters, in our struggle with food, in the tendencies you shared to hide and stay safe in a bubble. Yes yes yes!! I feel like I finally found someone who understands.


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