by Monika Oberer
I was a horseback rider and trainer for 23 Years – in the time I lived in Switzerland – not a fitness or physically active person at all. Never did I do sports activities in school on a voluntary base, only when I had to. So when I moved to Florida in 2002 I enjoyed American fast food and gained weight. I did realize at some point that I needed to change something. Not wanting to put effort in a change, nothing happened for years.
A friend told me about a “gym” called CURVES. “It’s great! It’s only for women, and you can go when you feel like it!” That was her line to sell it to me. So I did it and did not like to be in a room with other heavy women moving a bit and complaining about how hard it is. I quit and went back to my fast food, desserts and beer! Then I saw the neighbor across the street run. HARMONY- She looked great. She was happy. She loved life. She was just that perfect woman…(I was jealous).
One Friday night at a bar my friend at the time Amy said, “You are complaining about your looks. Why don’t you come and run with me?” ME?? I am enjoying my beer and my cigarette. WHY would I run??? She pushed me, and I gave in (probably I had one to many beer and agreed to a run).
Feeling like the world is ending is an understatement of how I felt the first time on a treadmill. Amy was a great pusher for me, and I was a great companion for her! So we “trained” for a 5K. I did it in 43 min, and I felt like winning the Olympics! I loved the vibe on the route and all the happy people. That was Summer 2008.
After doing several 5 & 10K races, I did my first 1/2 Marathon with my dear friend John Gregory in Nov 2009. He was the one telling my brain it’s okay to move from the “small” distance to the “middle” distance. I finished with a HUGE SMILE on my face in 2.01.54. THAT felt like winning the World! I was so happy, and I was getting the running bug. Definitely I did not think I ever would run long distance and enjoy it. The half marathon distance was totally okay with me and my new body.
So I registered for every 1/2 Marathon I could find. I LOVED it! “Bonded by the Pace“ was the running group name of the new running peeps I had in my life! All girls. My life had changed, and I was getting happier! BY THE MILE!
John Gregory asked me if I was up for a Ragnar Relay race with 10 other runners. SURE!! Not really knowing what I was getting in to. Jan 2011 we did the Key West Ragnar Relay, and it was a great experience. RUN – EAT – SLEEP – REPEAT x3
One week after that, the Girls decided we needed to do one full marathon, only one. Then we go back to the 1/2 ones……
Training started, and I started to fall in love with my running shorts more and more!!
Miami Marathon Jan 2012 4.42.06 NOW I WAS ADDICTED! I crossed the finish line and told my mom in HAPPY TEARS, “I am going to run Chicago 26.2!!”
Rebekah, my extreme running friend (we ran since I trained for my first 1/2 Marathon), introduced me to the LWR Running Club. I was the slowest at my first run with them. After some time I got a chance to keep up with some of them; that’s how I met my dear awesome mentor and friend for life, Lorraine. When she heard I wanted to do Chicago she just said, “Okay girl, lets do it! Get ready because you will have to train 5 days a week hard with me!” Oh yes, she was not kidding! I started to go to the GYM and ran pounds off my body!
Chicago 2014 – 4.01.36
So after that I decided I need to go places! Travel and do marathons!
Two weeks later I did the Marine Corps Marathon with Rebekah – an amazing experience with a wonderful amazing friend!
September 2015 I BQ 3.38.32, and in April 2016 I was privileged to run the Boston Marathon
I have so many memories with so many miles. One thing is very clear-I RUN BECAUSE IT MAKES ME HAPPY. It was a long path until I got there, but so worth it.
I have met so many great people and had so many great moments. I only look back to the late nights, fast food, cigarettes and too much beer with a smile and say, “Yes, that WAS YOU.” I love the new me!
It’s not always easy; it hurts; it gets hard; I feel every muscle in my body, however not all runs have to be great! It’s a lifestyle I chose, and I pace it to my health.
I am thankful and happy for every mile I can do with my own feet.