I never considered myself to be a runner. I was 22 and I had hit my lowest low. I was busy in college and full time at work. I never realized I had suddenly been the heaviest I had been in my entire life. I had little energy and my usual skinny jeans stopped fitting me. I remember a time when I squeezed them on asked my mom, "Can I still wear these? Do they look ok?", with a frown she shook her head in disagreement. She replied, "Maybe you shouldn't wear skinny jeans anymore" I was horrified. How did I get to this? Why did no one tell me? Little did I know, a breakdown would occur that would spark the fire beneath me. A short time after, I reluctantly signed up at the gym down the street and dedicated myself to an hour working out almost everyday.
After the routine started, I began to notice a change in myself. Everyday I was looking forward to cardio. I would run one mile then challenge myself to two and so-on. I was hooked. I could feel myself getting stronger with every stride. With every exhale I imagined the pieces of my insecurities leave along side it. This is when my aunt Cathleen, my all-things-healthy mentor, asked me about the shoes I wore and the type of foods I ate now that I was running. What? There are shoes specific to running? What did I know? I was never an athlete in my entire life. All of a sudden I found myself researching shoes and foods for running. Was I an athlete now? Suddenly, I found people referring to me as a runner. Wow, what a compliment! Don't get me wrong, I still had ways to go and I still do. But I could feel myself scratching the surface of what would be the running community. It was like the curtain had been lifted and I was exposed to a world of possibilities: like energy gels, squishy cushioned socks, and chaffing! So many new terms to learn and not enough time. My coworkers would challenge me to monthly running mileage and I was buying all the trendy cardio outfits. Yes! Finally I was beginning to love that girl in the mirror. With my newfound confidences I realized this was the point where I needed to take it to the next level. I signed up for my first half marathon in San Francisco. I trained for three months and it was one of the best days of my life. I'll never forget crossing that finish line. My legs felt like jello and my clothes were soaked. But I felt like a cloud. All of my insecurities, all of the things people once told me I never would do, they were possible now. Since then I'll never settle when it comes to my health. I know there's always so much more work to do.
- Danielle Ventura, @danielleizcoolz
The Starting Nine
Race with Danielle & the rest of the Starting Nine Ambassador Team in 2017: reserve your spot today
Shaylen Pearson - "Training Through The Holidays"
Briana Ottinger - "How To Stay Motivated During The Off Season"
Ian Klassen - "Running As A Family"
Melissa Williams - "Renewed Runner"
Jindy Garfias - "5 Reasons the Giant Race is the Perfect Race for Everyone"
Kailani Basuel - "The Positive Impacts of Running"
Andrew Rich - "Ten Things I Like About Running (and training for) Races"
Shiloh London - "The Top Dos and Don'ts of Running Your First Half Marathon"
Shaylen Pearson - "For The Love Of Racing"
Briana Ottinger - "Ten Tips For Injury Prevention"
Emelia Cellura - "10 Reasons Why You Should Run The San Francisco Giant Race"
Angela Polione - "Completing Your First 5K: A Guide For Those With Physical Setbacks"