Today is the day I run my first 5K at an event in about three years. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t run 5K’s since then. Actually, I’ve been doing them all week in preparation, and a month or so back I ran a little over 6 miles, but today’s 5K is the first “against” other people in three years, and I’m really excited.

It’s not really a competitive event; it’s the Apple Festival 5K which allows people to run, walk, jog, or whatever, but I’m treating it like it is because I want to test my progress, and I’m a highly competitive person.

At the end of May, I joined Anytime Fitness, and on June 1 I began a workout routine. I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve stuck with it. Every month since I started I’ve been on the “Top 15” users list, meaning that out of everyone who goes to AF, I am in the top 15 people who go the most. My competitiveness keeps me going as much as I do because I want to see my name on that “Top 15” each month. Also, in September, I was “Member of the Month” because of the progress the staff saw me making, which was pretty cool.

Since going, I’ve lost 20 pounds and 10 percent in body fat, and I can feel it. Originally, I started going because I would get out of breath walking around IPFW from class to class. It was embarrassing to get to class and have to hold my breath to hide that I was breathing so hard.

On top of that, my mom’s side of the family has a lot of health problems that could probably be solved with physical exercises and healthy eating. I want to avoid any of that in my future the best I can.

I’ve got a long way to go yet, but already I feel so much better, and doing this 5K, along with joining others in the future will hopefully just be more motivation for me to reach my goals.

I can’t express how hard it is to work 50 hours a week, drive to Fort Wayne three times a week for college, and to balance workouts. It’s hard, really, really hard. Most week days I get around six hours of sleep a night if I’m lucky, but thankfully being a healthier person has given me extra energy. I’ve never believed in the excuse, “I don’t have time.” If I do, you do – you always have time to be better.

It can be hard to convince yourself to keep going, both to the gym and during a work out. This week I’ve been timing my 5K’s and every single time when I pass the 23 minute mark my brain instantly tells me to quit. Seven years ago when I hit 23 minutes and I was in cross country, I would have been done and finished with the race, but now that I’m older and not quite in the shape I was in high school, I look at my mile tracker and see that I still have another mile to go.

It’s quite discouraging, and that last mile is the toughest. But the entire time I repeat to myself, “It’s only one more mile; the faster you go the faster you can stop.” I know seven years ago I would say the same thing to myself, and when I finally finish and get to allow my body to relax, there is a shower of self-accomplishment.

There is nothing like finishing a race, even if it’s against yourself. I both love and hate running and it is both the best and worst part of my day. If you’ve ever ran a race, that sentence will make a lot of sense to you. It’s a real test of your mental strength.

I hope that by living better today, I can avoid health issues later. I’ve heard a lot of older people say that they wished they would have taken better care of themselves when they were my age, so I figured I’d heed the warning and start doing so.

Remember, you only get one life: do you wanna spend it miserable about your body and always feelings sick? Or you you wanna be the best possible version of yourself? No excuses, you can do anything!