Our Super Mom Sunday today is Kandi Ganoe! She is a chapter leader for the Duluth, MN Moms RUN This Town chapter and I LOVE her story! It’s so awesome to read about my members and chapter leaders because typically all I hear is where they are ‘now’ in their running…. not how they got started!! Check out Kandi and her blog at www.enoughofthefluff.blogspot.com and read her story below!! Way to go Kandi! Truly an inspiration and “Super Mom” for sure!!!
Here is what Kandi had to share with us:
Today, I am a runner. I am healthy, active and motivated now…but was the polar opposite of those things up until last year. My whole life, I remember being the overweight one. I hated gym class to the point that I skipped it most of 8th grade and flunked. Yes, seriously. I flunked gym. I was certainly never motivated to do a project that required me to be in charge or take the lead in organizing something – that would mean having attention on me, and I already felt awkward enough as it was. As I got older, job interviews felt like a nightmare. I was hot and uncomfortable wearing dress clothes.
In 2003, I got engaged to my long time boyfriend. It finally gave me enough incentive to do something about my weight, and I lost almost 40 lbs by doing a slightly modified version of Atkins. At 5’6″, I started out weighing 210 and ended at 172…still not ideal but certainly better….and it didn’t last long. Over the next year, I gained some back. Then I got pregnant and gained even more…a LOT more. At my heaviest, during pregnancy, I probably weighed up to 255 lbs. OUCH! I lost some of it, but then got pregnant again. Luckily the second time around I gained a more manageable amount of weight.
When all was said and done with the major life changes in my early 20’s, I ended up stable at 227 lbs. It was in January 2011 that I decided enough was enough. I now had 2 active small children, and I felt lazy and selfish for being unable to be very active along with them. I cleaned up my eating habits and cut back portion sizes. I started a blog to keep myself accountable. And I started using my Wii Fit for some easy exercise…but I was heavy enough and it was enough of a chance that even that made a difference. I started losing weight and feeling positive about the changes I was making. I vowed to keep going as long as it took to eventually reach a place where I felt healthy and comfortable.
In February 2011, I got brave. I stepped on a relative’s treadmill and tried to jog for the first time. I made it literally about 10 seconds at a very slow jog, before I felt like I was going to die. I finished my workout, alternating walking with occasional 10 second bursts of jogging. When I was done, I was drenched in sweat. It had been hard, but I felt so accomplished and positive. I decided a treadmill was just what I needed to help myself get in shape, so we used some of our tax refund to buy one. To this day I see it as one of the best investments we have made and I attribute much of my success to the decision to buy that treadmill.
I continued eating healthier, blogging, and I started using our new treadmill regularly. I started to see huge improvements in my endurance, eventually hitting exciting milestones like 1/2 mile without stopping, 1 mile without stopping, 12 minute miles, etc. I found that I loved striving to improve upon my performance. Eventually somebody convinced me to sign up for a 5k in June 2011, and finished with a time of 38:48. I was thrilled. I cried when I finished. I was hooked.
I continued running (mostly on the treadmill, because I was too nervous to go outside) all through the summer. I continued losing weight, slowly by steadily. By the end of September, I weighed 182 – down 45 lbs since January. In November I did another 5k, finished in 35:52 – quite a big improvement!
Fall and winter came, along with the holidays, and my weight loss came to a screeching halt. In fact, I actually gained a good 10 or 15 lbs. By the time January rolled back around, I felt disgusted with myself. How could I let that happen?! All that hard work, and I just let myself go. It had happened before, but this time I resolved that I wasn’t going to ruin me – instead I felt determined to get back on track and follow this thing through to the end.
What do you know – it worked! I started eating better again, increased my physical activity, and losing weight. By March, I did a St. Patty’s Day 7k and was down to 175, just about what I weighed when I got married in 2004. It felt great. I even tried on my wedding dress…it FIT! I was on cloud 9.
Something else crazy happened in March – somebody convinced me to sign up for a half marathon in June. Running a half marathon is something I never, ever would have EVER imagined myself to do. But I trained hard and started getting really excited about it. Turns out, running is my body’s own personal magic bullet when it comes to weight loss as well…even though I increased calories to support my runs, I started losing weight more rapidly. By the day of the half marathon, I was down to 152! I felt great, and people were finally starting to comment on how good I looked and that they barely recognized me. People who knew me before are shocked to learn that I am now a runner. Remember…I flunked 8th grade gym class.
I completed the half marathon in 2:24:33 and could not have been more proud. I ran the whole thing, never stopping or walking even once. It was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to do more…I already have one planned for September! My dream is now to run a marathon, although that is going to have to wait a few years. I work full time plus overtime, have 2 young daughters, and I am in grad school – training for a marathon is just not feasible at this point in time. I will stick with half marathons until my plate is a little less full, but I WILL run a marathon some day, one way or the other.
As I write this I am down to 148. That is a total of 79 lbs lost from my starting weight of 227. My BMI is normal, probably for just about the first time in my life. I started at a size 22, and now am in a 8 or 10. I still have a little bit more I’d like to lose, but I am nearing the end of my journey. Best of all, I found a new love – running! I think running has saved my life. It has helped me become fit, healthy, and motivated (can’t train for a race without some motivation, that’s for sure). I am leading a local fundraiser, I am leading a local chapter of MRTT, and I feel confident and happy.
I can’t wait to see what the future has in store and what I can accomplish as a runner!
Don’t forget to visit her blog: No More Fluff, I’ve Had Enough! at www.enoughofthefluff.blogspot.com