Monday, October 15, 2012

Find the Courage to Run When Others Say 'Don't'

Monday Motivation: Time for another guest post for our Race Season Series! Today, Taylor Ryan shares her running story. Read on to learn how physical obstacles can be overcome with a careful approach and a can-do attitude.  Let her achievements motivate you this morning.


Telling The Doctors & Husband to Shut It: Finding the Courage to Run When Everyone Says Not To

I was 15 years old the first time I remember it happening.

It was in the middle of cheerleading tryouts. I was on the ground, sitting with my legs outstretched. I took a deep breath in and as I exhaled I reached for my toes.  It was something I had done a thousand times before. As a gymnast and cheerleader “touching my toes” was effortless. Except for this time. All of a sudden, it felt as if a knife had been stabbed into my lower spine and I couldn’t move... at all.

Just like that cheerleading was out of my life.

 After a few x-rays and physical exams, the doctors told me I had a herniated disc. Something I thought that only old people suffered with. They also told me I should NEVER: tumble again, cheer again, or run again.

Okay, I got the first two, but run? Not that it mattered at the time because I hated running, so I decided it was best to simply wallow in self pity. For a few years.

Then came college, the “freshman 15” turned into the “freshman 30” and I realized something had to give. This sitting on my butt thing, eating Ben & Jerry’s and drinking a 6 pack at parties wasn’t cutting it.

 I turned to what the doc’s told me I shouldn’t do... run. And I paid the price.

I woke up every morning to a sore back, if I ran too hard I ended up with it going out, my body hated me. At times it was so bad my husband (then boyfriend) would fight with me... telling me that if I signed up for this race or that race he would not be there to support me or take care of me when my back went out.

Finally, I got the hint and re-evaluated things. Running just wasn’t what I needed right now. So, I did my research and turned to strength training to tighten my core and make my body stronger. I decided I wasn’t going to let my back dictate what I could and couldn’t do, I would take control!

This went on for 4 years. I would run here and there but nothing over 3 miles. Any time I talked about running any thing farther, the fights would start and I would suppress the desire to lace up my running shoes.

Finally, I said screw it. I’m in the best shape of my life, I am a personal trainer, and I know how to push myself and when to pull back. I was going to give it a go. I told my hubs that I would listen to my body, that at the first sign of pain or aggravation I would back off and walk away from running forever. But I told him he had to “have my back” and support the decision.

We also decided that my running would not come before my strength training. No matter how far the race, I would stick to 3 days of strength training to keep my back as healthy as possible. We agreed with a handshake.

I started back with a 5K back in December. It wasn’t the fastest race ever, but it felt great to be surrounded by fellow fitness lovers and have my feet on the pavement.

Then it was a 10K. I took the training run by run, working to not over do it (as I had done in the past). I got fitted for running shoes and did everything by the book.

I felt better than ever! No back issues, no shin pains... and my passion for the road ignited, I couldn’t stop there. So in June, I signed up for my first 1/2 marathon. I promised my husband that I would go by the original deal: listening to my body, keeping overall fitness the center of my life and if my body failed me, it would be adios running.

But I had to do this race, for myself.

And that’s where I am today, gearing up for my first half marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC October 21st! Training has gone awesome. I honestly contribute my success and performance progression to my strength workouts. While most people are aiming to hit as many miles as they can, I focus on keeping the big muscles strong and in shape so that I can start and finish the race upright. This isn’t to say I don’t log miles, but as of today (2 weeks out), the most miles I have logged in a week is 20.

 Here’s another bonus, remember how I said that first 5K was nothing special? Well, I ran another one a month ago and finished 1st female overall. Sweet!

 My persistence, determination and strength have gotten me here. No longer am I a person that says, “Oh, I shouldn’t do that.” Instead, I am a woman that says: “What the heck, I’ll give it a go.” My back is just one part of me, my body works together to make up for it’s weaknesses... thank you body! Wish me luck on the race!


Taylor Ryan is a NASM certified personal trainer. She blogs at Lifting Revolution and runs an all women’s fitness community at She currently lives with her husband in Charleston where she owns and trains a 7-location women’s boot camp.


Thank you Taylor!  Good luck to you! Can't wait to hear how it goes next weekend. 

Tell us: Have YOU ever dared to go beyond your apparent physical limits? How has it worked out for you?


  1. it sounds so silly NOW but when I first started lifting weights few few women were.
    NO NO NO THATS WEIRD NO! abounded....

  2. Taylor--love this post and your determination. Very excited to see how your half goes!

  3. What a great post! Love your strength - physically and mentally. Good luck with your training and your race.

  4. Love it! Great read, thanks for sharing! FFA <3

  5. Good luck with your training!

    As I prepared for my 1/2 marathon, I never once stopped weight training! I love it and it's engraved into my routine!

    1. Thanks Kiereston! It's just a part of what I do!

  6. This is such a great post Taylor! Right now, I've been scared to run again after knee surgery but have been taking it slow and listening to my body and trying to focus on strengthening everything which has helped so much. I'm really excited for you and your first half and congrats on your 5K finish!

  7. LOVE IT!!!! I think we all know what is best for us and if we listened to doctors a lot of people who were told they'd never walk again would still be in wheel chairs. great story


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