Posts tagged Inspiration
My Quest to Lose Weight

My story begins in September 2015. During a routine doctor’s visit, my physician informed me that I was officially considered obese. He told me that I had to make changes to my diet and begin some sort of physical activity program if I wanted to turn my life around. Not only was I overweight, but I had high blood pressure, cholesterol, and a greater change of getting diabetes. 

I set out to lose 20lbs by the next time I saw him, which was 3 months away.  I immediately adjusted my diet by removing soda, which has always been one of my biggest vices.  I joined my local gym and began to work out. It was when I went to the 161st Street Track to jog that I began to like cardio. For some reason, jogging didn't feel like a chore to me. I knew I was onto something.

When I first started, I couldn’t complete one lap around the track with out walking, but I enjoyed the activity, so I paced myself by doing a run/walk program. During these runs, I became one with myself. It was ME time. Life responsibilities came to a halt while I ran. I wasn’t a husband, a father, an employee and there were no issues in the forefront of my mind. And I enjoyed that. 

Mile 21 Fuel Station

Thanks to my new love for running, I decided to volunteer at the NYC Marathon. It was also my first time witnessing a marathon. At my designated volunteer location, I saw a bunch of really happy, animated people with "Harlem Run" t-shirts on. I was astonished to know that there was a group of people like this who were passionate about running in my own neighborhood!

 During the race, I saw Alison run by and the entire Harlem Run group went wild. At first, I thought it was Alicia Keys, but I soon realized that this woman was someone very important to the group. Wanting to know more, I approached one of the group's loudest and most energetic members: a Hispanic man with wild hair, who I later learned was none other than Sean. I asked him one of the most important questions in my Quest to Lose Weight... “What is HARLEM RUN???" His warmth and excitement as he told me about the group encouraged me to come out the following Monday. 

Monday Night, November 2, 2016

After witnessing the magic at the Mile 21 Cheer/Volunteer Station, I knew that I wanted to attend, but I must admit, I was a bit nervous.  As I sat in my car, my negative mind was thinking: “You run too slow. You don’t have the stamina to run that many miles. You'll fall behind.” I shook those feelings off and walked over to Harlem Shake, but to my surprise, no one was there! I called my wife and she told me to drive to the track instead of just coming home and feeling defeated. I agreed, but I didn’t want to do what I usually did. It was time for a change. I wanted to run with other people.

I got in my car and drove north on Lenox Ave. Almost immediately, I saw a group running down Lenox with bright colored T-shirts with “HR” painted across the front. Then I saw the same guy that invited me running with no shirt. I was thinking to myself does this guy not know its November?! He must be crazy, lol. I quickly parked, sprinted to catch up with them, and eventually caught up at a red light. One of the runners approached me and asked me if I was running with the group. He introduced himself as Logan and said he was the back pacer for the sexy pace. Sexy pace??  I never heard of a pace, let alone a sexy pace. I thought to myself I don’t want to be sexy I just want to run! 

Although the run was exhausting for me, Logan gave me exactly what I needed: an extra nudge, push, and motivation. As we finished the run, I could hear cheering and clapping; saw people high fiving as we approached the studio. From that moment, I was hooked. There was no greater joy than having 100 people cheering and shouting even though I was dead last.

Four months after my journey began, I lost a total of 45lbs- way more than my initial goal! I currently run 3 times a week, box twice a week, and take an intense bootcamp class once a week. I have run 6 races thus far and am training for my first half marathon. All of this would not be possible with HARLEM RUN, which has helped me stay consistent.

Thank you for being there each and every Monday night. I would like to thank all the members of Harlem Run for making me feel welcome from the very first day. And a very special thank you to Sean and Logan...

-Hector

The Women of Harlem Run

All month long, we’ve been proudly supporting and celebrating Women’s History Month and honoring amazing women who have made an impact on Harlem, NYC, and even the world. Women like Natasha Hastings, Tiffany Dufu, and Bevy Smith are all individuals who have taken the initiative, broken the mold, and pursued their passions in a world where they have often been told that they could not.

As a fitness group that strives to empower people to make positive changes in their lives as well as the community at large, we value the tenacity and strength that women show everyday. No one can deny the impact that well-known women have made, but we also want to honor the women that you pass everyday on the street or sit next to on the subway that do so much for our community. We also want to take a moment to honor the women at Harlem Run who work day in and day out to make this movement happen.

Alison, our fearless leader, founded Harlem Run over two years ago. Her passion for running and her belief in using sports as a tool for personal and social change gave way to this incredible movement. Alison works around the clock to think of new and exciting ways to engage people in the community. Warmly greeting everyone with a hug on Monday and Thursday nights, she makes sure that everyone feels at home. Perhaps most importantly, she has been very open with her vulnerabilities and has shared her story with thousands of people, encouraging other women to share their own struggles, insecurities, and dreams.

 

Raydime, HR Captain, has lived in Harlem for her whole life, and knows all the ins and outs of the neighborhood. When she joined Harlem Run, she knew that it was more than just a weekly run for her; it was the chance to be a part of something larger than herself and a way to give back to the community that means so much to her. Raydime works tirelessly to promote the group. Whether she’s organizing the best cheer station in NYC at any given race or posting quirky, yet inspiring posts on social media, nearly everything she does is with the goal of making Harlem Run a loving space.

Kayla, HR Captain, joined the movement when she moved to New York and was looking to meet a few people while getting a workout in. Instead, she met her running family and instantly fell in love with a neighborhood that she had never explored before. Kayla started the HR blog that you are currently reading and knew that this was a powerful way to allow people to tell their stories in a way that feels comfortable to them. Kayla speaks openly about her body image struggles and weight loss story with the hopes of encouraging other women to begin to feel comfortable talking about these topics.

Lisa, HR Pacer, loves to tell the story of how she got involved in the group. She was recruited by her cousin Raydime, and was reluctant to begin running. That reluctance quickly turned to love and passion, as Lisa is now known for leading the Run/Walk group every Monday night. Lisa’s kindheartedness can be felt (and heard!) from miles away. She makes everyone in the group feel welcome and confident, no matter what their pace or ability level may be.

These four women don’t even begin to scratch the surface of incredible ladies that can be found at our twice weekly runs… But we wanted to highlight their abilities this week because they are great examples of how women can take their passion and light it on fire. Even if they are scared. We hope that that may encourage some of our fellow ladies to do the same! 

xoxo

-The Women of Harlem Run

Finding a Family in Harlem Run

 I want to start off by thanking Harlem Run for giving me the opportunity to write this blog and share my story with everyone. Harlem Run has made such an impact on me and to give back to the community in any way I can is very moving. I'm not only honored but definitely feeling the love. 

It takes one moment to make a decision; one moment to say 'no and never again' to something that has been getting you down! I did just that. 

I started my weight loss and running journey about 3 years ago. I was training hard and running all the time with two goals in mind: 1) to be fit and 2) to run my first marathon! All was going amazing I lost over 70 pounds through changing my diet and exercise and with each race I ran, I felt myself getting closer to completing my first marathon in 2015. 

All was going according to plan. Then, life hit and boy, did it hit hard! At the end of 2014, I lost my job of 13 years and I almost lost my dad. Faced with the responsibility of supporting my family, I was not only scared but I fell into somewhat of a depression. Needless to say, my fitness goals fell to the sidelines.

As 2015 rolled in, the trials and tribulations I was going through were extremely challenging, but with the help and support of family and friends, we managed. However, my weight started to creep up again and my running/training started dwindling. My heart wasn't in it anymore. My marathon was creeping up faster than I thought and I wasn't ready at all. Although I found an amazing job, I still felt like something was missing. My weight started creeping back and I hit a plateau that I thought I could never get over.

That Monday before the marathon, I was introduced to the Harlem Run family by my friend Odee. The love I felt that first night made something click in my heart.  That passion that I felt for running, fitness, and community came rushing back to me and I knew that I was officially back in the game! After I completed my first marathon in November 2015, I knew I had to make a change, and it was at that very moment that I told myself I will fight off this depression by saying no and never again!

After making this decision to be better, so many amazing things started happening. I started following a different diet plan, which helped me start living a healthier life and lose the weight I had put on. By coming a member of the Harlem Run family and attending the Monday Night Runs week in and week out, I became stronger by the day and gained a support system that's beyond amazing. I feel blessed to have met this amazing group of people that today, I can call family. Harlem Run allowed me to fall in love with running again and I will forever be thankful for that! 

-Tasha