Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Introducing Shawna Rich



I thought I would take some time to introduce myself and where I have been in terms of my health, aside from the stated blurb attached to my name. (Shawna Rich, 28, from Carthage.)

I have been in denial about my health for most of my life, perhaps making up for it by being the loud obnoxious funny one. I have been overweight my entire life, told I have a pretty face more than once, been made fun of, but I've always kept on keeping on.

It wasn't until recently, about April/May this year that it started (with some extra concern coming from my mother) to be relevant to me. Who hasn't started, quickly quit, any sort of lifestyle change, diet, exercise regimen, etc they started pursuing? I don't like to consider myself a quitter, but I am a champ at quitting these things!

Groupon presented itself with a deal to the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara (BLRN). I dragged my feet, read all of the reviews, called and spoke to someone and waited until the last possible minute to take advantage of the deal. I picked and paid for a week, kept it a giant secret and was freaking out for an entire month! Have you seen the show?? They have to take their shirts off!!! They puke A LOT. What am I getting myself into?

May 11th I headed to one of my dearest friends house (near Buffalo), to freak out, eat a “last meal” and she just kept telling me how jealous and proud of me she was. The next morning I managed to drag my feet long enough that I arrived at the Resort with no time to unpack and get settled! We already had an introduction lecture. Of course we went around the room, I was feeling really young, vulnerable and scared! The next morning started at 6am with an intro to the Fitness Center, awesome.

Fast forward…I found myself doing things I never considered myself being capable of and I found myself surrounded with people that were strangers that wanted the absolute best for me! Working out 5 hours a day, having all the meals prepared for you, everyone that comes within 5 feet of you tells you how incredible you are...and then before I knew it, I was running across a beach with a trainer on my back, running up a hill with a different training on my back, who is the beast that has been unleashed?

Ready for anything, the week flies by, Saturday approaches and you remember real life isn't like this. The momentum keeps going for about a month at home, on my home, with constant sabotage from yourself and others, daily reminders that I AM WORTH IT and nearing the 25 pound loss mark, I fall. Hard.
Food is my addiction of choice, who doesn't love it? You can't out exercise a bad diet, but I guess I can try? I signed up for The Michael Cerroni 5k with my mom in Black River, my only goal is to not be last and not die! Good news, I accomplished both!!

Then with the advice of a trainer, Heather, from BLRN, a friend from the Resort and I sign up for a Biggest Loser RunWalk in Erie, PA. We get ourselves pretty pumped about it; I start training, taking it seriously! And then, with no accountability, I quit.

It rapidly approaches, we arrive LATE, we begin LATE, we park about a MILE away, we start off last! At Mile 8 I have a complete meltdown, I want to quit, go home, I cry, my body hurts, why did I pay to do this? I tell my friend to go on, get her best time, don't wait!! I look over my shoulder and the AMBULANCE is following us…my worst fear, I have 1 person behind me. But then the charming race marshal circles me on the bike and says “I guess you aren't last, there are people in the bathroom.” I keep on going; my car is at the finish line anyway. About mile 9.5 I get a phone call from my trainer Heather asking me where I am and she's coming to get me! I meet Heather (and her pal Liz) at about Mile 11 and it was just what I needed, despite a billion people saying “You're almost there!!” (that started being said at mile SIX!). Finally, we turn the down the rocky dirt road with the balloon arches! YESSS!! I am greeted by some of the past guests and my friends and they all cross with me! Some lady with a microphone asked me how I feel, I say “Awful!” and then some man is slowly approaching me with a medal and starts to chat with me and I say, “Just hurry!”. We take some pictures; I complain a lot, and then make the startling realization that we have to walk another mile to the car. The rest of the evening was spent whining, drinking and hobbling!! But I got a medal.
So now everyone is under the impression I can do anything but they are so wrong. I can not say no to my favorite food group pizza, I am recently re-addicted to soda and we just came off ice cream season to cider donut season.

My injuries from the half included a trip to the foot doctor for a toe nail removal, a giant blister covering the ball of my foot and my other toe nail is still coming off. Also, chafing is real. It happens everywhere!

I've been milking an injury for about a month and a half, but I also started to believe I can do anything and did not prep at all for the Color Me Rad 5k we did this past weekend. It was AWFUL fitness wise, but fun color wise.

What's the conclusion to all of this? I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be part of BetterU. I decided to choose me, to really start taking the steps (even though they are in slow motion) to get myself to become a healthier person. With my family history stacked against me, it is more important than ever to take care of myself. I'd love to live a long, healthy life, and be a positive influence on others.

I can say that I am a half finisher, have two 5ks under my belt, but I need to be able to say that I have a healthy heart, mind and body.
Looking forward to any and all accountability and if you heard I am the trouble maker of the group, that's not true.

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