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Welcome to the inside of my brain. Here, I share experiences, tips, tricks and fun things I've learned during my weight loss journey. 

  • Gail Ballin

Ring and Run on NYE

Victory at the finish line!

When I first embarked on my weight loss journey several years ago, I promised myself that if I lost the weight, would start doing things that I was afraid to do when I was heavy. It was frightening to think that my weight could have such an impact on my life decisions, but it did.

I started making a mental list of all the things I’ve wanted to do. The list included physical activities like running in the Color Run and Snow Tubing; it also included experiences like going to Vegas and Nashville, taking a cruise and karaoke among many others.

One of the items on my list was participating in the Running of the Lights on New Year's Eve. For those of you who live outside of the Winston Salem area, I’ll explain. There’s a local park that puts on a beautiful light display from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve. The display runs for miles and people from all over the country come to visit and drive through every evening. On the last evening of the year, the park hosts a 5K through the lights.

Growing up, I’ve always enjoyed beautiful holiday light displays. I remember as a child, having my mom and my aunt drive us around Brooklyn searching for the beautiful displays in our surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a tradition that I upheld with my children as they were growing up. When we moved to North Carolina and realized that the park closest to us hosted this event, it became an annual tradition to drive through it at least once or twice every year.

About 6 years ago I heard about the 5K through the lights but didn’t participate because I was too heavy and I was afraid that I would fall, be last to cross the finish line or simply drop dead from the effort. I put it on my bucket list of things I’d like to do someday, but in truth, I didn’t think that I would ever actually follow through on it.

When making plans for New Year's Eve this year, I asked Robby if he would be interested in doing the 5k with me. His response was a resounding “YES!” Then I asked my kids - and they were totally in. I had a HUGE smile on my face as I signed us all up.

Total Mom moment!

I decided that I wasn’t going to train. I had a short window between sign-ups and race day. In addition, I have been having some issues with my knees lately, so I didn’t want to overdo it. Instead, my philosophy going into the race was that I’d run what I could, and walk the rest of the way - which is exactly what I did.

Although I slowed my family down substantially, I gave it my best, running about half the race, despite my knees. When we walked, I looked around and enjoyed the scenery - trying to absorb every moment of this accomplishment. I looked at my son, my daughter and Robby with such love and gratitude. I felt so grateful to have their support and their love. I realize that most young adults would rather do a million other things then run with their mom at midnight on New Year's eve - but mine did and it made my heart swell with joy.

At one point in the race, the kids were eager to speed up and go at a faster pace, so I shouted "go! go!" and they smiled at me and at each other. They then took off. As Robby and I rounded the corner to the final stretch, I saw Josh and Junie waiting for us. We crossed the finish line running, holding hands, arms raised and with big smiles on our faces. It was an incredible night and one that I will not soon forget.

We didn't make good time - but I was still psyched we did it!

After we received our medals of participation, we checked our time - 51 minutes. While it was not my best effort, I wasn’t upset because that wasn’t what the focus of the evening. It was about the experience, the effort and enjoying it with my people - my family.

We came home afterward, exuberant, proud and so chatty about the evening. We talked for hours while laughing and relishing in our accomplishment. Popping open a bottle of champagne, we toasted to 2019 and the exciting things to come. There are a lot of wonderful things on the horizon for our family this year and it was great to process and anticipate these events together.

We toasted to good health, new adventures, continued success, and never-ending journeys.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year! May 2019 be everything you hope for and more! Set goals, do the things you've aways wanted to try and make it your best year yet!

Bee healthy. Bee happy.

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