Let me tell you a little story about perseverance. It’s a story we hear often, but can inspire others regardless. I say this in all humility and with out boasting. It’s a story of my transformation over the past couple of years. Normally I concentrate solely on the mental health side of my story, but physical transformation is often a gateway for mental change. There I was, skinny, sick, weak and exhausted. My life was literally fading away in front of me. My forearms thicker than my bicepts, calves bigger than my quads, and ribs showing through my poorly fitting shirts. My eyes were sunken and sad, black clouds surrounding them. I was tired and weak and I was sick of it. In this pit I made a decision; one that would flip my world around and help me take my health back. I got a gym membership and paid for three sessions with a trainer to get me started. I also rediscovered running. I still remember how it felt when my partner (who I had just met at the time) told me how sad and sick I looked. I remember the shame and the insecurity that I felt in my heart. I remember choosing to use this to motivate change rather than wallow in its glorious pit. When i made the appointment with the trainer I was asked to set a goal; something tangible, but difficult. Inspired by my rekindled relationship with running I blurted out that I wanted to run a half marathon. It felt silly and unrealistic, but it was what came out. This is where the real work started. The beginning was humiliating and disheartening as I realized the extent of my physical weakness and because of that it was excruciating going to the gym. I knew everyone was watching. I could feel their judgement and amusement. I hated it. I pushed harder and harder. I lifted more every time and I ran faster with each run. As I progressed, my body began to awaken and my mind was learning tolerance to adversity. We joined a running club called Roadkill during the winter to really concentrate on getting faster and to keep active in the freezing temperatures. Disaster struck during this. I had really increased my speed and strength and was feeling good when my knees (more specifically my IT) had enough. I couldn’t bend my legs and definitely couldn’t riun. I had developed what they call “runners knee” and it was terrible. It lasted days, then weeks, then months. I fell into self pity and almost quit, but with encouragement I percevered. I wanted my health back. I wanted it badly. I stretched and rolled and paid for massage therapy and eventually it went away. I had overcome and it felt momentous. I signed up for races, I ran farther, I lifted more, I worked damn hard. In February of this year, my partner and I joined crossfit and I signed up for my first half marathon in Fargo. That’s when I exploded and my health really bounced back. I am at a good 170lbs and my blood sugar numbers are improving. My body looks healthy and my mind is folLowing. May long weekend I ran my first Half Marathon in a time of 1:56:35, 17 minutes faster than the average pace. I did that. I had help and encouragement, but I did that. You can too.