Home How OA Changed My Life Running Slow, Running Proud

Running Slow, Running Proud

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My paternal grandmother was full blooded Tarahumara, the tribe of indigenous people in northern Mexico known for long-distance running. My daddy was a runner, and always told me that there is a runner somewhere in me too. I never believed him.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a 5K training program with my 16-year-old son. I don’t even recognize myself as a person who would do this; when I started OA a year ago, I was so large and out of shape that I could barely walk a mile (1.6 km). I was morbidly obese: 5 feet 2 inches (157 cm) tall and 265 pounds (120 kg). I was pre-diabetic and at a high risk of stroke. I had to change my whole life so that I could live. Over the last fourteen months, by attending OA meetings, doing service, and working the Twelve Steps with my sponsor, I’ve not only lost a little over 60 pounds (27 kg), I’ve gained enough confidence in myself that I am willing to try things I never would have tried before.

I feel so much better, but make no mistake, I’m still obese. And I hadn’t even attempted a jog in over a decade. I was terrified to go to the first group training practice. I was scared the other runners would think I didn’t belong there, scared of looking stupid.

But, I was wrong about everything. The running group has been so encouraging and supportive. Even though I am the slowest runner by far (there are a couple of senior citizens who lap me every practice), I don’t care and neither does anyone else. I feel strong. I feel proud. I feel the Tarahumara blood flowing through my veins. I’m going to run in a 5K road race in a few weeks, and I’m dreaming of crossing the finish line. The runner in me is laughing with joy.

— Angelina V., Dalton, Georgia USA

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