Written by Green Fellow Flower, Jean Anderson
I found out about Fellow Flowers from a friend of mine. She participated in the first Declare It Day (DID) in 2013, and I remember seeing her posts about it on Facebook. After that, I purchased my first (and my favorite) Green Flower—Courage.
Wearing my Green Flower, in August 2013, I ran my first timed 5K race. After that, I continued running throughout the year. Several friends encouraged me to consider running longer distances but I was content with the 5K distance and I didn’t see myself as a “real” runner yet. Then I saw a Fellow Flowers magnet, “When she realized she was brave enough, everything changed” – and realized that’s what I was missing: courage.
Staying Motivated (and Sane)
In October 2013, my world changed. I came home from a conference to find my husband ill. Overnight, due to his health challenges, I became a caregiver to him as much as he’d let me. Since it was October, leaves needed to be raked and fall chores needed to be done; I took care of the house and yard through the fall and winter.
In December 2013, my father became ill and after many tests and doctor visits, he was diagnosed with a very rare and scary condition called Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy. I was torn between helping my husband and wanting to help my parents.
Then, it was my turn. Perhaps it was the stress or just getting older, but I started having unusual periods again. After an endometrial biopsy, the doctors found benign polyps and scheduled surgery to remove them.
During all of this, I continued going to boot camp and running. It was what kept me sane and helped keep my stress eating under control.
How Declare It Day Kept Me Strong and Focused
Declare It Day 2014 (February 1, 2014) came at a perfect time. My dad’s illness was diagnosed and he was receiving treatment. My husband was improving and my surgery was coming up. Things were finally looking up and I needed to do something for me. I had been intensely focusing on others for several months and needed to focus on me. I chose three DID goals:
- Run my first 10K
- Run my first half marathon
- Lose 30 pounds (achieve my goal weight)
I achieved two of my three goals. I ran the Twilight 10K and the Book’n’ It 10K for my first 10K races and then the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon in October. The Half Marathon was extra special because a couple of my friends ran with and supported me the entire race. It was almost exactly a year after my husband’s illness started.
My third goal—losing 30 pounds—didn’t happen. I actually gained back some of the 50 pounds that I had lost. During my training, I hoped the weight would come off but it didn’t. Instead of beating myself up about it, I focused on training and preparing for my half marathon.
Setting a 2015 Declare It Day Goal
Running has become an important part of my life.
Through all of this, I learned that I have a hard time focusing on more than one big goal at a time. Running and exercising kept me from gaining back all of my weight back for which I am grateful.
My Declare It Day goal for 2015 will be focused on reaching a healthy weight, in a healthy way. I’ll still be running and plan on running the Her Madison Half Marathon in June, as well as a few other races.