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This month's Penguin Classics book is The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendhal. Start reading now and be sure to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag, just like the one I use: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqR1AFEAEE9442&c=CLASSICS
Today's guest columnist, Karen Smith-Kernc, is one of the 3rd Place Winners in this year's Write a DearReader Contest. (The third place award is a tie this year.) Karen says she thought about entering the contest last year because, "For many years I thought I had a story in me, but never had the motivation to write it. I am one of those people who are not writers, but [Suzanne] one of your story suggestions hit home with me, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Hope you enjoy reading this submission. Thanks for helping to get my creative juices flowing!"
Karen's creative side definitely took center stage. Enjoy reading her column...
Can Fat Girls Run?
At 55 years old, and 75 pounds overweight, I decided I would try to run. Going to Google.com and typing "can fat girls run?" I learned, "Yes, they can."
What would motivate me at my age and shape to attempt this? My "baby" sister was going through a tough time as her husband, and father of their son, was dying of cancer. We live 1,200 miles apart and I couldn't think of how to support her. Phoning and texting weren't enough. She's a runner and during one of our conversations mentioned that she was going to be doing a run at Disney World. I love Disney and I love my sister. It was the end of June and the run was in October. A half marathon. Nothing like starting in the middle.
Over the 4th of July weekend, I decided to hike, just to see if I could. Dragging my husband with me to French Creek State Park we chose a hike that was a bit strenuous (meaning uphill). Panting and struggling, I did it. It wasn't 13.1 miles, but I did it. Maybe I could do the run? Optimistic, I signed up for my first half marathon that day. Yikes, I was in!
Online I found a great training plan to get me from couch to half marathon in three months. It was really, really hard but I'm really, really stubborn and wanted to do this at Disney with my sister. My friends, and some family, thought I was crazy. Their doubts were nothing compared to mine!
I trained every day at the required pace, following the daily suggested distances, doing each mile in less than 15 minutes combining running and fast walking. Juggling my job and other commitments was a challenge but my most wonderful husband picked up the slack helping with chores like dinner preparation while I was at the track or on the treadmill. He even came with me a few times to cheer me on.
With just four weeks to go, it occurred to me that maybe I should try a 5K. There was one being held close to my home so I signed up. As I got out of the car, I mumbled, "look at all the skinny people." Undaunted, I collected my race bib and took my place at the start line. I now know what a cross-country race is! I came in dead last, but not too far behind the slow runners, and I had finished!
The night of the Disney half marathon was amazing--8,000 runners and me. Wow! My brother helped pace me. I won't kid you, it was very hard. My brain was saying, "go, go, go" while my body was saying, "PLEASE STOP!" After mile seven, my brother talked as if the race as a done deal. What motivation! The finish was a small uphill but my brother grabbed my hand and we went over the line together.
As the medal went around my neck, I felt such a sense of accomplishment.
After six years, I've completed more races. Every time I cross that finish line, I get the same feeling of pride and satisfaction. My finisher's medals hang proudly on my wall. I'm not fast, but that's not the point. Can fat girls run?
You bet they can!
3rd Place (Tie), 2016 Write a DearReader Contest
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
AUTHORBUZZ: MR. PRESIDENT (Fiction) by Katy Evans
I was inspired by the super sexy JFK Jr. and wrote a steamy romance that took my breath away...
I met the president's son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I'd never met a guy like him. He promised me that he'd never run for president. I promised that if he did, I'd be by his side.
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on MR. PRESIDENT to find out more about the book and the author, Katy Evans. Send her an email, she'd love to hear from you.