Greetings! Saludos! My name is Luisa, I was born in 1977 and I think running is Democratic. I started running in 1998, at the age of 21, after I decided to join the United States Marine Corps.
Prior to the age of 21, I did not consider myself an athletic or physically active person. In fact, the only type of exercise I participated in was forced exercise during my Physical Education class at school. It’s not that I was anti-exercise, it’s just that I did not have a lot of confidence in myself to try out for anything that required physical coordination. Then there’s the whole cultural approach to exercise. As a female who grew up in a Latin American household, I wasn’t encouraged to participate in any kind of athletic activity.
When I signed up for the Marine Corps, I was not able to run more than a mile. When the Marine Corps recruiter told me I would run four miles by the end of boot camp (boot camp is 12 weeks long), I thought he was lying. You could say I was forced into believing!
While in the Marine Corps, I ran five days out of the week for almost four years straight. To be honest with you, I found running to be more of a chore and a demand placed upon me rather than an activity I found pleasurable. I ran to keep up with male Marines in order to gain their respect and not be perceived as a weak female Marine. As soon as I got out of the Marine Corps in 2002, I rebelled against running. On a few occasions I went out and jogged a couple of miles just to see if I had it, but I still found myself disinterested.
In 2003, I became pregnant, and gave birth to my daughter in 2004. It was then the fire for running was rekindled and I signed up for my first half marathon in 2006. Life happened and there were running hiatus in between, but I would always come back. In 2011, I decided to pursue a personal goal of running a half marathon in under two hours. I came really close, but, life happened – literally – and on January of 2012, I found out I was pregnant with a second baby. I made every effort to run while pregnant, but unlike the other pregnant mommies on Facebook who sported their cute baby bumps on runs, I was unable to. I gained 47lbs during my pregnancy and remained positive telling myself I would start running as soon as I gave birth and was cleared by the doctor. Well, six weeks after giving birth, I was fighting a horrible infection for the second time – mastitis – and was unable to start running again.
My running journey started again in September of 2013. While it has been an arduous task to start from scratch, it has motivated me even further to continue my quest for a sub-two hour half marathon. Update: On August 2, 2013, I got my much coveted sub-2 half marathon. I am now training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and I am maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle with strength training and spending as much time with nature as I can in the beautiful state of Oregon.