Meet RenewedMe | Andrea Hall
Ever wonder who’s standing next to you in your corral at the start line, or cheering you on when you’re about to give up during a race? We’ll be featuring guest bloggers that have a passion for Rock ‘n’ Roll and inspire us by their dedication and commitment to the sport of running. You may recognize their faces, but the purpose of these posts is to put a face behind the name to better understand their journey to self-discovery.
I really started with walking, one step at a time – literally – because at 345+ lbs I couldn’t do anything more physical than that. Having recently lost my Mom, walking was a way for me to cope and feel connected to her. My Mom was an avid walker/jogger, so when I started to walk it felt like I was keeping her spirit alive in me. I started to “pick up my pace” when walking started to feel easy and I wanted to continue to physically challenge myself. It evolved from walking into walk/jog, then to jog, and now to run (I think this is running!).
It wasn’t so much of what but who encouraged me to begin this journey. My best friend Katie is a runner and her triumphs through running encouraged me to give it a go – she got me signed up for my first race ever back in 2010! Between her and my friend from my Masters program, Michelle, who literally pushed me to try my first half in Aug 2012 – I’m a fully fledged running addict now. They both taught me that I CAN do whatever I am willing to set my mind and heart out to do!
I’m sure most runners can relate to the role running has played in my life, but running “keeps me sane”! After completing my first half, I remember the physical challenge it was but what stood out the most (and at the time, what I missed the most) was the mental peace it brought me. Running the longer distances allowed me to be free from whatever was mentally weighing me down. It cleared my mind to more creative and happy thoughts! It’s motivated and taught me that I CAN!
This mantra is HUGE for me. If I had looked at the ultimate goal number that I needed to lose when I started out on my journey of shedding the weight, I’d have never made it here – it was daunting! Running always had a similar effect on me so when my friend Michelle told me I should try a half I looked at her like she’d lost her mind. But the seed was planted and the idea flourished into a fully fledged plan before the end of that week! After that first half marathon in August 2012, I was ironically hooked! My first was FAR from easy but I had felt a full spectrum of emotions after completing it and one being that feeling of achievement that I hadn’t felt in a LONG time! We feel it when we graduate or “ace” a test, but as adults we rarely get that feeling anymore! This took my “I CAN” to a whole new level!!
In April of this year my cousin was working with a contact that helped bring the Rock ‘n’ Roll series to San Francisco. She doesn’t run but she knew I did and she offered me an in! Who would turn down the opportunity to be a FIRST for something like this! There are only 7,000 of us that can say that we were finishers in the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco and I’m a part of that history! My first two half marathons were out of town races so this one was extra special as my first home town half!
Now two years after my journey began, I’ve shed almost half my body weight (170 lbs) to get to where I’m at today. I feel that I really started to live my life after my Mom finished her’s. My favorite quote that goes with my mantra is, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got!”