Sarah the Happy

On Saturday, May 11th, I ran my first 5k. When I started running—well, walking over a year ago, I clocked in at a 20-minute mile. I ran my 5k in 38 minutes and 29 seconds. I came in 36/53 in my age group. I ran 2.5 of the 3 miles. I am so proud of myself for endless reasons, but the top three are:

1) My time. I was aiming for a 40 minute 5k, and had been clocking in at 40+ in my practices. I’ve never run this far, this fast.

2) My endurance. I’ve run two miles. I’ve walked/run three miles. I’ve walked five miles. This day, I ran nearly the entire length of the route. I didn’t get overwhelmed with side stitches. I’ve never run this much, this long.

3) My courage. Sarah-of-the-past would have never been inclined to run, much less run and complete a 5k, by herself, for fun. A day after the run, I was planning ways to beat my time. I never gave myself this much credit before.


My friend and physical fitness mentor, Jo, always quotes Old-Sarah as saying, “I never want to be one of those fitness people.” What I meant was the people that work out for fun, for a hobby, for an obsession, for a lifestyle. And I still don’t…mostly. I don’t want to dedicate hours of my day, every day, to fitness. Yes, I do want to continue getting healthy, but I’m the kind of person that cringes at being boxed in. I don’t want to be the one that you describe to your friends with the exercise-of-choice as a modifier. “You know? Bob the Runner.”

I’m sure this is all (still) deeply seated in junior high and P.E. classes, but I don’t think I’m ever going to shake myself of not wanting to be Sarah the _______. (And not just of running, of anything. But in this case, mostly the running.) Yes, I did get a glorious high from running across a finish line and seeing my boyfriend beaming as he took pictures of me doing it. And from beating my own time. And from looking up my official 5k time. And from hanging my number/medal on my wall.

So yeah, maybe I do want to be one of those fitness people…in a way. But, more than Sarah the Fit Girl, the Runner, the Healthy, I’d like, to most of all, be Sarah the Happy.

And, y’all—I’m a size 10. I weigh 170 lbs. I’m in love with and loved by a wonderful man. I have a great apartment. I am the Programs Manager for a program that has been named one of fifty finalists for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award. I’m pretty happy.

Learn more about my weight loss journey at


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