I’ve just done something incredibly stupid (maybe). I just signed up for a 5K race. The race is the Building Futures for Autism 5K Race & 1-Mile Dog Walk. I will be running 3.1 miles on April 14, 2012. Why am I doing this? I’m not a runner. I can barely run 1.5 miles outside (although, I can do it on a treadmill). I’m doing this because I want to be a runner.

I used to be a girl who would eat Pop Tarts for breakfast, a bag of buttered popcorn when she came home and a box of Michelina wheels & cheese, then dinner as whatever else I ate or Mom cooked. At school, if the cafeteria was serving hot dogs, I’d get two with cheese. Some days, I’d get hot wings with ranch dressing. Other days would involve a cheeseburger with a Yoohoo! or lot of Gatorade. My metabolism was the envy of many.

My metabolism stayed the same the first 2 and 1/2 years of college. Then I changed my birth control—the first unconscious step towards a healthier me. I gained 15 pounds in 9 months. The fourth time I went to my gyno, I told her I wanted to see what the scale said before getting the shot. When I saw it at 140 lbs, I knew I needed a different birth control method. I went back on the pill and a year later, I was still at 140. In the beginning of my last spring semester as an undergraduate, I decided that I was going to fit into a bikini if it killed me.

The first few months were relatively easy. I dropped weight consistently and safely by eating better and adding in cardio almost every day. I did Zumba as often as I could and was on the treadmill at least 5 times a week. I came down to 128.5 pounds before I plateaued (still working on that). Now, instead of focusing on numbers, I’m trying to focus more on inches and strength.

People say that if you want to keep with your habits or if you feel yourself lagging, find a buddy or join a race. Well, I don’t have many health-nut buddies whose schedules fit mine, so finding time to work out with them would be more of a hassle than I could commit to. A race seemed simple enough, except that I’d never done one before in my life.

I don’t run outside. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I can’t carry water with me comfortably. I feel like people stare. I love running on a treadmill. I can control the incline, keep a consistent speed, and feel sexy as hell in an air-conditioned room (CCU’s cardio room isn’t really air conditioned, but it has a fan). Now that I have a race in little over a month, I’m going to have to change up my tactics.

I’ve always admired runners, those people who can go for miles and miles without air—or so it seems. Their sleek bodies and the sweat glistening off their skin is so empowering and inspirational, as gross as it may seem. I’m determined to be one of those people.

A few weeks ago, YAK with Kay featured a talk on how you can change your life course to something completely different than what you expect. Although this kind of change isn’t exactly what we were talking about, I think we could all use a reminder that even me, a person who get’s out of breath running a quarter of a mile outside, can (hopefully) become a runner.