Running Changes Lives: Louise Cunningham’s Story

One of the things that I absolutely love about writing this blog is meeting people through it who have changed their lives by starting to run. Louise Cunningham is one such person.

I met Louise (or Weez) this summer at a running workshop that I co-hosted here in Concord, NH – she drove all the way down from Bangor, ME to attend (quite a long drive!). I’ve since corresponded with Weez frequently over email and Twitter, and her story is an amazing one.

In January of 2012 Weez weighed 285 pounds. She hadn’t run in years, and she realized that she needed to make a change or her health would continue to suffer. So she started to run. Here’s how she describes her progression on her blog:

“…when I started going to the University fitness center, I felt VERY self conscious and out of place amongst all those thin athletes there. I could barely walk the 1/10th mile track without having to sit down. I am serious. It was baaaaad. So many times I would think about running, but basically couldn’t remember how… I know that sounds stupid but I was so overweight that I felt like an elephant with every step, making the ground shake.

Eventually I worked my way up to 1/10th walk, then 2/10th, then 3/10 and before I knew it, I was walking a mile. I made a decision to wait on the running until I felt I had lost a good amount of weight, in order to minimize the chance that I would get injured again.  When I finally lost 25lbs or so, I started jogging a bit at a time. It was slow. It was NOT fun. I hated it, but in my mind I knew that I had to keep it up to be able to get back to where I was as a runner years ago. Now it’s September 30th and I feel like I have made a fair amount of progress… I in fact HAVE loved the journey. Every drop of sweat involved has been worth it all the way. Little by little I have mustered the courage to wear compression shorts without shorts on top. I bought some sports bras like everyone else wears. I run in skirts… I’m getting there, coming out of my comfort zone, little by little.”

These are the kind of stories that keep me going because they remind me so much of myself and how running has changed my own life for the better. Weez has accomplished a lot in 2012, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for her.

You can read Weez’s full story here and here.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

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