Hi there! My name is Heather, and I am a 36-year-old wife, mom, teacher, and runner living in Clovis, CA. Hey, look at that. I finally feel like I can refer to myself as a runner!

Becoming a better runner is an ongoing process in my life. I finally feel like I have half an idea about this amazing sport. In any case, I have great shoes and some cute running outfits! That should count for something, right?!

I was fairly athletic growing up playing softball as a kid, and volleyball, tennis, and swimming in high school. I was never into running. In fact, I pretty much despised it.

Fast forward through college, marriage, and giving birth to two boys (who are now ages 6 and 3), and I found myself out of shape, having no energy, and weighing more than I ever have. I decided to start training for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in October of 2009 in honor of my mom who has fought and survived breast cancer not once, but twice! Mom, quite simply, is my hero!

My mom with her four grandsons.

I used the Couch-to-5K training program and successfully finished my first 5K in around 40 minutes. From that moment on, I was hooked! I love the atmosphere and excitement of a race. It is so energizing to be a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself.

I quickly signed up for more races in my area (Fresno-Clovis), and participated in a Turkey Trot, a Christmas run, and two more runs in early 2010. Then I got sick and lost steam.

I picked it up again through the summer, impressing even my husband by waking up at 6 a.m. on my vacation to get in a run before he left for work. However, once school started for the year, I again lost my motivation.

I reached rock bottom when none of my clothes fit, I was stressed out about everything and anything, and I was just generally unhappy and unable to keep up with basic things in life (cooking dinner or keeping the house semi-clean).

On Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, I arranged for the boys to have a babysitter for an hour, called my husband and told him I'd be going to a Weight Watcher meeting, and told him he could join me or not. He joined me.

In the six months we have been at WW, I have lost 35 pounds. I have also redoubled my efforts and gotten back into running. I've already competed in seven races so far this year, winning a third place at one, a second place at another, and two first places! That alone is enough motivation to keep me moving!

I also decided to get serious and signed up for an inaugural 1/2 marathon on May 22. I completed the half in two hours and 45 minutes. I'll be honest...it was not easy, but I am so proud that I finished and achieved this goal.

Running is one of the hardest things I do each day. I am not naturally talented at this sport. I huff and I puff as I try to break 11-minute miles. I plod along. I am still overweight but working on it. I sweat...a lot.

However, running is one of the coolest things I have ever done for myself. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It allows me to be alone. It helps me cope with life's ups and downs. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel special.

This blog is mostly about me and my journey through this awesome sport. Sometimes I throw in stories about my husband (who is a cyclist) and about my kiddos (who like to race as well).

Even though I'm four years away from 40, I'd like to get to the four decade mark being the healthiest and strongest me I can be.