Sunday, December 13, 2009

Everything you wanted to know about Deborah Gulley :-)

A Little About Me

I have been very blessed to have been married to the love of my life for 18 years and counting. We chose homeschooling for our 2 girls, Jessica-age 13, and Amanda-age 11. Other family members include Elly, an unsociable 9 year old Chihuahua, and Mia, a 1 year old lovable Chihuahua who loves to run with us. I was born and raised in Kansas, living most of my life in the Kansas City area. We moved to Tulsa in March of 2009, which is where my running story begins.
In spite of years of bike riding and later walking, I fought a losing battle with my weight for many years. In September 2008, I decided enough was enough. We were in a small town in Kansas at the time that has a wonderful gym there. I got into a regular weight workout routine and also walked on the treadmill. The weight slowly started coming off and I began to feel so much better being so active. I went from the treadmill to the elliptical machine in an effort to step it up a little, and it worked. Finally in February of 2009, I had been seeing contestants on the Biggest Loser who had so much more weight to lose than me, running in a half marathon. They later went on to run a full marathon. I was in tears watching them! I thought to myself that I really had no excuses not to run.
Let me back up little bit. While in grade school, our gym class had some kind of standards we were supposed to meet. We were supposed to be able to do a certain number of sit ups per minute, pull ups, push ups and several other things. We were also supposed to be able to run a mile in 9 minutes or less. I couldn't do it. I absolutely hated running because not only was it hard for me it was embarrassing because I was running a 10 minute mile while everyone else was already finished. Same story repeats in junior high. So ever since then, I have always said "I hate running."
Fast forward back to March of 2009..I decided to tackle running on the treadmill at that gym in Kansas. I was self conscious, nervous and really didn't know the best way to go about things. I just started seeing how long I could go and how fast I could go. If I went faster those little lights went around the track faster and I could take a walking break. It wasn't real easy, in fact it was hard, but I found it in me to keep pushing. As soon as we knew we were coming to Tulsa, I got online and stumbled across the Runners World Tulsa website. I saw that they offered free training and were about to start a Couch to 5K program and a Big Loser contest. I signed up for their newsletter right away. At the first training run that I came to, it was raining and lightning and there were hordes of people there in the dark on a corner downtown that I didn't know. This little lady with a big coat on jumps up in the bed of a pickup and starts yelling about how crazy everyone is for being there in this weather and about all these 5 mile loops. My girls and I just waited til everyone took off and then we approached her and she said "Are you newbies?" I'd say!! I think there were 3 other newbies there that day too and we all took off and walked about 30 minutes or so in the rain. On that day, I was thinking about how I would never have been out there if it weren't for this group thing. On my own, I would have said "it's raining" and stayed in bed where it was warm. The couch to 5K training was just right for me. It brought me along slowly until I could actually run 3 miles. We were scheduled to run that 5K the end of June, but meanwhile in May I had started hearing about training for half and full marathons and as I looked over their training schedule I was very intimidated. I really wanted to move forward with training after that 5K, but a half seemed like too much to tackle right away. I asked Coach Kathy what her advice was and found myself signed up for the Tulsa Run 15K training. Somewhere along the way, I found that I no longer hated running. I also realized that I didn't have to run a 9 minute mile to be a runner. Over the summer as I trained for the Tulsa Run, I grew to really love running. I love the new friends I have made and I love that non running people think I'm nuts. In September I ran the Turkey and Taturs 10K trail run. It was somewhere around this time that I was thinking I should really just go ahead and run the half marathon in November. I really wanted that medal. See I don't run fast enough to earn any medals in a shorter race, but everyone who finishes gets a medal in the half. In October, the Tulsa Run was held on a beautiful day. My goal was to finish under 2 hours, which I did. I quickly began to focus on that upcoming half, which made me very nervous. On race day, I was excited and ready to go. I had a goal of finished under 3 hours. I knew I would have to walk quite often, and I did, starting around mile 7. I did make it in under 3 hours, so once again I was thrilled to have accomplished my goal.
I decided to sign up for the half marathon training for OKC, because I hadn't really trained for the Route 66 half, and I wanted to get comfortable with that 13.1 distance. By this point, I have come to absolutely love running with my friends. It really irks me to miss a group run. I toyed with the idea of being a run leader, but I lack confidence in my leadership skills so it took some not so subtle nudging from friends to get me to agree. I am happy about the chance to give back, and thrilled with my group. My desire is to see each of them inspired, challenged and encouraged to reach their goals just the way I have been. I feel like we are all so blessed to have this opportunity for free training and organized group runs. I want my group to fall in love with running and find new friends just the way I have. I want them to realize that they don't have to run fast to be a runner, and that they CAN do it.
By the way, that weight loss I have been working on? I am now halfway to my goal weight! As for my next running goal ( after the OKC half ), Coach Kathy told us way back in the Couch to 5K training that one day we would come to her and say " I want to run a marathon." Every one of us laughed and thought "no way". Well Coach , if you're reading this, I want to run the full Route 66 marathon 2010.

1 comment:

Bobby said...

Nice bio. Great to have you onboard as a run leader.