In life, taking action is what separates the talkers and the doers. The talkers are those people that like to tell you how they are going to do something…show up, climb that mountain, complete that race. The doers are those that just start moving. They set their own goals, pave their own way, persist, and achieve. They show up. They climb the mountain. They cross the finish line somehow, someway. Actions speak louder than words. You have to work hard to achieve goals. Nothing is simply handed to you on a silver platter and if it is, it surely doesn’t taste as sweet.
Crystal is a 34 year old wife and Mom to two beautiful girls, ages 12 and 8. She exudes confidence and is the definition of a doer. I met Crystal through none other than the Greater Manchester, NH Moms Run This Town chapter and have come to learn that when Crystal sets a goal, no matter how crazy it might seem to others, she will achieve it.
Crystal made up her mind to buy a house and so she did. She decided that she wanted to take her family to Disney so she worked hard, saved up, and they went. She chose a random hobby which led her to build furniture out of pallets and recycled wood. Who does that?!?! She did!!! Crystal is determined. She does not take no for an answer.
In November of 2013, Crystal set herself a new goal to run the Boston Marathon. “I got this random idea, out of nowhere, that I was going to run the Boston Marathon. I have no idea what ever possessed me to pick this goal. I was never an athlete. I’ve been the carefree, overweight girl since elementary school. Not knowing anything about running, I figured it was just something anyone could do.” By December, Crystal had registered to run her first race, a local three miler known as the Santa Claus Shuffle. “How quickly I found out that running was not so easy. My first race was a disaster with shin splints and a Santa suit wardrobe malfunction! This would only fuel my fire. I refused to let my running career end with setbacks.”
Wasting no time, Crystal got online and used Pinterest to get answers to all of her running related questions. She needed to be armed with accurate information if she was going to get this running thing right. She realized that life as she was living it would have to change drastically. For many people, this realization would be their downfall and their goal would sadly go unachieved. For Crystal, that was not the case.
In true form, she signed up for another local race, the Millenium Mile, on New Years Day, 2014. This is where her training truly began. In her research, Crystal had learned about the C25K program. “I followed the C25K program and needed to complete each week twice because I was so out of shape. The first couple of days, I couldn’t complete a full session, but I was determined.” Crystal decided to take up fitness classes a few times a week and along the way met an instructor who encouraged her and helped to keep her motivated. “She gave me the push I needed to take two classes in a row and to try new workouts.” Workouts became a little easier and Crystal began to see progress. “Four months later, I was in a body combat class and the instructor informed me that I had just completed 40 minutes of a workout without taking a break.” This was Crystals aha moment. “At that moment, I knew that my goal was going to be possible.” It was a week later that Crystal pounded the pavement for a full mile with no walking breaks, getting her closer to her ultimate goal. Nothing was going to stop her now!
Crystal had committed to making a huge lifestyle change and was well on her way. Along with making the commitment to exercise, Crystal was also determined to change her diet. She went from a sedentary lifestyle and eating whatever she wanted anytime, to several workouts each week and eating food to fuel her body. With so many calories being burned, Crystal was losing weight, but she quickly realized she was not taking in enough calories to fuel her body appropriately. “In the beginning weeks, I wasn’t eating enough calories to compensate for my workouts and I would get sick.” So she decided to track her food and activity using an app called MyFitnessPal. “I never followed a specific weight loss plan. Losing weight was never my goal. It’s been more like an added bonus…Fridays I allow myself to eat whatever I want. This way I don’t feel deprived of all the things I love.” Crystal has found a healthy, balanced approach to life that is working for her. The cherry on top is that she has also lost more than 85 pounds!
Crystal’s persistence and determination are what kept her going for the four months that it took her to run one mile without walking and it is these two qualities that keep her crushing her goals one step at a time. Since that one mile run, she has gone on to complete several 5K’s, a 5 miler, 10 miler, and most recently, her first half marathon, the Run for the Border half. It was her performance in this half marathon that caught my eye. Crystal finished in 2:05!!! “When your goal is Boston, a half marathon is just another step at reaching that goal so there was no doubt in my mind that I would do one…I never doubted myself…but crossing that finish line proved to be more emotional than I was expecting. Then I saw my time…and just when I thought I knew what I was capable of, I surprised myself and did much better than I anticipated.” YOU KILLED IT GIRL!!! On top of running her first half this year, Crystal will run her first full marathon this fall. I think it’s clear, we will be seeing Crystal crossing the finish at Boston in the near future! The girl is on fire!
While there is no denying it is Crystal who has worked her butt off, she credits her family with providing her an amazing amount of support along this journey. Often times, her family even joins her at their local fitness club. “My husband is extremely supportive. He comes to almost all of my races and joins me in trips to the gym whenever his schedule allows…I don’t think my progress would have been as quick if I didn’t have my family supporting me.” Crystal is also lucky to have her youngest daughter join her on runs from time to time and her oldest daughter attend yoga and spin classes with her.
When I asked Crystal what advice she would give to someone who is just starting to run and/or workout, it all came back to confidence. “Don’t worry about what you look like while running or working out. I can’t say this enough! Yep, I was the overweight girl running down the street and I didn’t care! I had to start somewhere and I did. So can you! ” She gives a much needed reminder to not be self conscious when working out. “When you go to a workout class, no one is looking at you because they are all too busy watching themselves…” Finally, she says “…a slow runner is still a runner…you are inspiring that random person driving by thinking that just maybe they can run too…all because they saw you out there.”