The time you want to run the most is usually the time when you can’t. I had high hopes for 2016, getting back in top running shape after falling victim to a very long battle with depression. I let myself go for a long time and gave up on my running to focus on getting my head together. So, imagine my dismay when I walked into the doctor’s office in January for a new patient meeting only to be told to stop doing all physical activity until we could get my blood pressure under control.

My goal for losing the weight I gained when I was being an emotional lump on a log dwindled to nothing and my heart became the focus. My blood pressure was through the roof and my heart rate was way too fast. Granted, I’m carrying around at least 30 extra pounds and attributed it to that. The doctor agreed that it was part of the problem, but that my family history of heart disease was more pressing. My dad’s cardiologist has purchased many dream cars thanks to my dad’s health.

It took 10 months and numerous medication changes to get my blood pressure under control. We learned that beta blockers are great for your heart, but bad for runners who are attempting a half marathon. I ended up in the medical tent at the Daytona Beach Half in February. We learned that adding a diuretic to the new medication helped with some of the water weight that gets added to the body. And after three months of repeated good numbers, I finally got the okay to run again.

But…at this point it’s been well over a year since I had REALLY run. My mind was still thinking like it was back in the day when a 10:40 mile was easy, my body had other ideas. I was basically starting completely over, as if I hadn’t even run before. And that is a tough thing to come to terms with when you are used to being a decent runner with a steady pace per race.

Whether you are a newbie or just getting back into the habit, there is a key point that will make the entire process easier: be kind to yourself. It’s going to be tough, you are going to have bad runs, you are going to be angry and frustrated and all of that is okay. Just remember that you are starting something new and it’s going to take time to break bad habits and relearn new ones. Accept that you are not going to be able to bust out a 9-minute mile first run out, and celebrate each workout you do because you are doing something amazing. It’s not about finish times, it’s about finish lines right now.

And that’s how I’m looking at it. I’m still carrying about 30 lbs around my body that needs to be shed, and that’s going to take time. I’m still rebuilding my conditioning, running intervals to help keep me going. (Yay, Galloway!) I’m going out there knowing that I’m not my fittest but wanting that euphoria of finishing a run anyway. My pace is slower than I want it to be, even slower than when I started running years ago but I’m out there doing it and I’m celebrating each accomplishment.

You can do this; I know you can. We can do it together, and each of the Best Damn Race Ambassadors are cheering you on because they know you can do it too.


All you need is to lace up and head out there, and start with a mile. Just one. Then add a half mile when you are ready. Then another. Soon, you’ll be running a 5k and we’ll be cheering you on.

I’m starting over. Anyone want to join me?

Jamie Johnson

Arrive expecting to push yourself, and leave with no regrets.

Idiot Runner Girl