Jeff Galloway Made an Athlete Out of Me

Brenda Christiansen

Running. It was always something that other people did. Not me. I tried it in 8th grade when I joined the 100 mile club at my school. I still remember kids on the bus pointing and laughing as I circled the track. I clearly was not meant to be a runner! I tried running again in college and although more kind than my Jr. High peers, my roommates still seemed to chuckle at my funny running style. Yep. That's right. I was not meant to be a runner!

 

Fast forward to 2010.  Up until this point I'd half-heartedly engaged in exercise every now and then but nothing stuck. After all, I've known since 8th grade that I wasn't an athlete. But, as I approached 40 (and truth be told I was more scared of 42 since my father passed away one month shy of his 42nd birthday) I decided to make a change. I started by following the Couch to 5K program. It was great because it gave me a plan that was easy to follow.  I stuck with it although I found it hard to run more than 5 min at a time without a break even after several weeks on the program. I entered my first 5K race and it was both a success and failure. It was a success in that I deemed myself enough of an athlete to actually participate in a race. Three miles had seemed like an impossibility to me just a couple of months earlier. It was a failure in that I was unable to run the entire thing. I really thought that in order to be a runner you had to run without stopping until you reached the finish line.

 

Me and Karla at our first Galloway group run.

Me and Karla at our first Galloway group run.

With my 5K goal accomplished I was surprised to find that I felt a sense of loss at no longer having a goal to strive for. A friend of mine said it was on her bucket list to run a half marathon and although I didn't think it was possible I agreed to try training with her. We didn't know where to begin, but she'd once read a book by Jeff Galloway and liked his run/walk method. I hadn't heard of it before but the idea intrigued me. We were happy to find that a Jeff Galloway training group existed here in Salt Lake and signed up together. I showed up on my first day scared and skeptical. Everyone was very welcoming and nice. And before I knew it I had been convinced that not only could I run a half-marathon but that I would shoot for running a full-marathon by the end of the season.

 

I spent the entire year in amazement. I had never run more than 3 miles so almost every week I found myself doing what I'd thought was impossible. I ran 4 miles, then 6, then 7. I remember the triumph of running 9 miles and then getting into double digits. Wow! And then it was time for the half marathon. The feeling of crossing the finish line at the Utah Valley Half Marathon was overwhelming. I broke down in tears. I DID IT! I couldn't believe that little 'ol non-athlete me had just completed a half marathon. I had the medal to prove it!!! I was so proud. And, I was surprised at how amazed everyone one around me was. Friends, family and co-workers looked at me in awe. And, you know what? Although I was proud I also knew that it wasn't as hard as everyone around me made it out to be. The Galloway method made completing a half marathon possible. The seemingly impossible was actually very doable!

 

FINISHED! Utah Valley Half Marathon - June 21, 2011

FINISHED! Utah Valley Half Marathon - June 21, 2011

I've now been a part of the SLC Galloway group for 3 seasons. I've run nearly a dozen half marathons with my Galloway friends. I've also attempted one full marathon. I look forward to each Saturday when I get together with my friends to unwind, laugh, and run. After all, I AM A RUNNER. And, since I've found my inner athlete I've felt such a sense of power and accomplishment. I have done what so many deem to be impossible. This attitude of being able to do the impossible has radiated into other aspects of my life... my job, my relationships, my goals. I find myself feeling more confident in all aspects of life because I have done the "impossible" and I now know that "impossible" is just a label attributed to something because it's being approached in the wrong way. With the right strategy and training anything is possible.