Women Who Run

There are a lot of women running groups out there that have prompted us to start an going post called  – “Women Who Run.”  We are calling out to all women to share their stories of their team, their best running friends and family to relate and reflect with us to continue on with this great category.  Kim is going to kick off with the first posting.

Kimberly Peek is a mother of three who runs in the Kansas City area with 20 of her BFFs.  She occasionally travels to Nebraska to run with old friends who share her zeal for running. If you came upon her on the trail, it’s likely you’d pass her. What she lacks in speed, she makes up for in passion. She uses the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ at the Inside Sports Clinic.

When I participate in a race, I love reading all the t-shirts with sayings on the back. I ran the Lincoln Half Marathon last weekend, where they encouraged people to “Run for a Reason.”  These reasons entertained me on the course and I reflected on how my motivation has changed over time. However, to tell you about last week’s race, and how the Alter G helped get me there, would skip the heart of the story.  Before I tell you how I became an Alter G user, I’ll tell you how I became a runner.

One day, about 15 months ago, I was on the elliptical machine next to two friends who were running on treadmills. I envied how they looked. I’ll just say it: they looked hot…and I was still packing the 50+ pounds I had gained having my three beautiful daughters. In that instant where envy met extreme depression, I decided I would become a runner.

Back then I could barely run 1/10 of a mile.  In the next weeks, I did a combination of walking and running, with a goal of running one mile. It was hard. My entire body hurt with every step. I hated it. I wanted the health benefits, so I made myself continue. Eventually, something surprising happened. I ran three effortless miles. I was bouncing-off-the-walls-excited when I realized what I’d done. That  day I became addicted.

Four months into my new endeavor, I ran my first 5K with one of women who inspired me to run. Three weeks later, I did a four mile run–Kansas City’s Trolley Run– with two more friends. With each new goal, I gained new friends who enjoyed running.  About six months into it, I had lost 45 pounds and had several races under my belt.  What started out being solely about weight loss and fitness had become much more meaningful to me.

Today running is my primary social activity. The small group of runners who inspired me has grown.  I ran this year’s Trolley Run with a team of 20 women and hosted a pre-race pasta party for the runners and their families at my home.  We train, run together on weekends, coordinate play dates with our children and attend church and Bible study together. These women are some of my best friends, and training days are exciting for us because most of “the gang” will be there.

One year after choosing to become a runner, I suffered a setback.  I ran three half marathons in my first year as a runner, and I was training for my first full marathon. My original goal was to run the full marathon on the one year anniversary of my first 5K. The day after my first 18 mile run, I woke up with very limited range  of motion in my right leg.

My marathon dreams were put on hold. I wouldn’t run again for nine weeks, but that wasn’t the worst of it. I couldn’t do something I loved, and I missed the camaraderie that comes with training, sharing goals and talking running with my best friends.

The Alter G ultimately became part of my training plan. I’ll share that part of the story next week.  Please feel free to comment and or post your running stories below.

– Kimberly