When participants in the 2014 Emera Marathon by the Sea crossed the finish line in their respective events last August, many were delighted to complete a major goal. The experience proved especially meaningful for one Saint John runner, who used the 20th anniversary race and corresponding salute to the fallen RCMP officers as motivational fuel to launch her personal wellness journey. This year, Krista Sutton is back and is sharing her incredible story of recovery that started almost 18 months ago. Her account is the first installment in our 2015 Running Whys series for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea.
By Krista Sutton
I wasn’t always a runner.
I maybe ran on the treadmill at the gym or in phys. ed class as a teenager but I was always fairly fit though. When I graduated high school in Quebec, I decided to move to Saint John and I was no longer running or walking or exercising as much anymore. A few years passed and I met my husband and a few months after I that, I realized I had gained nearly 30 pounds! I also found out I was pregnant and during that period, I gained a whopping 80 pounds! I felt terrible with myself, so after I had my daughter, I decided I would do something about it.
I started running… Well more like a run/walk. A very slow run. I did 5km about three times a week. I started educating myself on nutrition and real food.
I knew we had to change our lifestyle especially for my daughter. Doing this, I lost 60 pounds! Then, I got pregnant again. Because of some issues, I was basically put on bed rest for a month or so in the beginning. I also was suffering from really bad morning sickness. I couldn’t stand up without feeling extremely ill. Of course, this meant I was no longer running or walking much at all. Although I ate better and didn’t gain as much weight this time, I was still very much overweight. In the end, I was a whopping 250 pounds on a 5’4″ frame!
I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I was ashamed and disgusted with myself. Then top that off with postpartum depression and anxiety plus bad sleep deprivation from mommy hood, I was a mess. I got to a really bad place in my life. The lowest I have ever hit before.
In November 2013, I decided it was time for change!
After speaking with my doctor about my options, I choose a more holistic route. I started seeking help from my Naturopathic doctor and I also decided to meet with a counsellor. I think I found one of the most amazing counsellors ever. After seeing her for the first time, I can remember talking about changing things that could make me happier. She also asked me what I loved about myself and I cried because at that point, there was nothing. I felt like I was failing at everything.
I went home and sat down to make a plan! Kind of like my own bucket list to happiness.
January 7th, 2014
I finally figured out some health issues I was having and had to make huge changes to my diet. I also started exercising and walking almost daily. By May 2014, we moved to a new location in the city. It was better for our family than living in the country where we were. Also on my list, I decided I wanted to start running again and I did with short distances. I felt like I was lacking motivation though. When I heard about the 20th Marathon by the Sea coming up and how they would have the Red Mile for the RCMP officers we lost in Moncton, I knew that was the motivation I needed! So I signed up and so did my Mom!
I would run to the beach a few times a week where I got to meditate or relax, I felt better than I ever have. I finally found myself again. I lost 85 pounds by this time. Running turned into my Zen!
Race day at MBTS came. I was so excited and nervous.
My goal was just to finish the race but I was hoping to keep it under 45 minutes. So, we were off! My mom and I stuck together for the first half. We got split up by the second half. I pushed myself harder than I normally did, so I was quite tired around the 4-km mark. I actually felt like stopping but I reminded myself why I was doing it to set a good example for my kids, for my mental health, to keep me fit, to get to my goals!
So I ran as fast as I could the last half kilometre. I felt like crying when I crossed the finish line. I was so happy! I think my chip time was 38 minutes. Better than I hoped for.
I am not sure why, but there was just something about the adrenaline rush at MBTS gave me that I loved. So I added to my bucket list that I would love to run the MBTS every year.
As of today, I have lost a total of 105 pounds and seven pant sizes. I am not sure what race to enter just yet for MBTS 2015. I probably won’t come in first, second or third and I may even cross the finish line last but I am just excited for the adrenaline rush it gives me.
And actually after reading other peoples Running Whys, at next year’s MBTS, I am definitely training for the half marathon! I joke that someone will have to drag me across the finish line but I know when I set my mind to do something, that I can and I will do it!
I love that running has changed my life!
I finally don’t feel like I am failing at everything. I could probably name off 10 things at any time of what I love about myself. Running has taught me a lot about myself. It has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. It clears my head and it is so refreshing!
I still struggle sometimes with being a mom and having time to get out to run but my husband is very supportive and we always try to make time for me to get out. I also struggle with running big hills and I still take walking breaks at times. Over the past couple weeks, I have been able to finally run some hills I had really struggled with before. I have even taken out a few of the walking breaks by slowing my pace a little instead of walking. I am still a newbie when it comes to running but I love to do it and learning tips along the way!