Journey to Becoming a Runner

A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to lose weight and become fit. I was overweight, out of shape, and weighed 162 pounds while standing tall at 5'1''. I was fed up and knew that I had to make a change. I started eating healthier and taking fitness classes. Then, my Harlem Run journey began with a beautiful person: HR Captain, Sexy Pacer, and my cousin... Raydime.

I began by going out to races to cheer for my cousin and her new running friends. I wanted to support her the way she was supporting me. Being at races and feeling the excitement, I decided to volunteer for the Harlem 1 Miler in June. I never thought I would become a runner, but I somehow got tricked into coming to the Harlem Gets Fit workouts on Thursdays. Raydime claimed that there wasn't too much running, but there was! You can now find me running with the Sexy Pace group on Monday nights. So much for not being a runner.

When I am asked what Harlem Run means to me, one word comes to mind: FAMILY. They are a group of intelligent, funny, energetic, community-savvy, caring, and supportive individuals from all over NYC. What I admire and love the most about them is how organized and structured the group is. They make me feel like this is greater than myself and very real.  I also love how caring and involved they are in the community. I am a social worker and I chose my career because community is very important to me. By being a part of something positive in the community I am learning how to give back to our community in a different way.

Each run is a great experience from the beginning to end. Every Monday and Thursday, I am greeted with warm hugs, excitement, and overall support. I love that we don't leave anyone behind and we are always checking in on one another. I also love how personal it is and we all support one another during a run as well as when we're not running.

Some great memories with my crew include...

* When I was a volunteer and not yet a runner, Shirtless Sean asking me "are you running yet?!" and me smiling and saying, "yea right!". He has always gone out of his way to cheer me on and coach me.

* Amir staying with me during the Thursday workouts and sharing useful tips on breathing and how to pace properly.

* Logan teaching me different stretches for my calves on a Monday Run.

* Alison and Rachel coaching me on how to improve my form.

* Chinedu taking me to .5k FunRun to drive away my fear of running in a race.

I could go on forever talking about the people and moments that made me always want to come back. This new chapter in my life, I'm calling it Harlem Run, fills me with good energy and I can't help telling everyone about it. My roommate, friends, coworkers, family and even my boss all know about Harlem Run. I constantly ask them to come try it out. Harlem Run does not disappoint and those who come, always come back. Why, you may ask?! It's because of the genuine-ness of the Leadership in this group! I started out in Harlem Run as a supporter/cheerleader and now I'm ready to run my first ever 5K this Saturday. Whoddathunk?!


Amir Figueroa6 Comments