My running story starts like most runners’, I was not a runner. I bought an indoor treadmill in the fall of 2017 and used it for about 6 months with the intent of getting into running. Two days after my 43rd birthday in March of 2018, I stumbled, tripped and did a nose-dive into the rabbit hole that is the seemingly innocent, non-addictive world of running and attempted my first “outdoor” run. And no, I was not being chased by a bear nor was someone trying to snatch my purse – all comments and perceptions people of my stature often receive when others see us running outside. I simply laced up an old pair of Saucony’s, put on some good music, and started walking until I got to the part of the park where I was not visible to the street traffic. As a plus size runner, one of the things we fear most is being seen by onlookers or made fun of. My walk quickly turned into a jog and my jog into a run until finally I had an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment beaming from within. I was becoming a runner.
After that first run, I immersed myself in running documentaries, podcasts and of course Instagram! Instagram became my go to community for inspiration and waiting for other runners to post their stats and their words of encouragement. Almost instantly I signed up for six 10km “fun” runs, three half marathons, and one marathon. I kept running, gradually increasing my distance each time I went outside. It felt great to move my body in a new way, explore the streets and trails that I had often driven past but never ventured through, and I slowly started to understand the “runner’s high” people often talked about. I was hooked.
As I continued running (and now checking off the races I had signed up for earlier in the year), my Instagram community started to grow as like-minded individuals shared their own struggles and tips with me. However, I started to notice some dull pain creeping up in my knees. I switched runners and bought a pair of Nikes, but after some time, I noticed this pain came back. I was at a standstill, I wanted to run but my body was telling me no. Thankfully the running community on Instagram shares a lot of product information and tips with one another and so someone mentioned Hoka One One. I decided to try them and bought my first pair of Hoka One One running shoes and just like that my knee pain was gone. Turns out, my feet favour a 5mm drop! I couldn’t believe such a small thing, like a new pair of running shoes could make that much of a difference. Without the limitations of pain and discomfort, I was able to increase my mileage, deepen my love for running and most importantly grow my platform of body positivity amongst runners of every size.
2018 came and went in a flash, my running had taken off, I was feeling more confident and comfortable as a runner, and my community of runners was continuing to expand. What started as a dream to inspire other people with similar body shape to mine to run, was becoming a reality. I started with 0 followers, and the community I was creating had grown to almost 4000 followers. The conversations around body positivity I was starting were inspiring others, they were also helping to motivate me.
In 2019, I felt like I had more to give, more to prove, not only to myself but to those around me who were watching – so I set a goal to run (and/or walk) 5km a day, every day. I didn’t have an end date or target, I simply wanted to go for as long and far as I could. I also started writing an online blog and wanted to show the ups and downs of this journey and the lessons it would teach me along the way. I wanted to demonstrate that anyone of any size could be a runner. In 2019, on top of my 5kms every day, I also completed my first 50 km Ultra marathon, a Triathlon and dozens of other “fun” races.
Today, it has been 965 days since I set that goal and I am proud to say that my streak continues, and with me every step along the way, cheering me on and motivating me to keep running (even on the days I would have rather not) have been my family, friends, community of runners and of course my beloved pair of Hoka One One running shoes. 15 pairs of Hoka One One running shoes later, I truly believe these runners have been an integral part of keeping me running pain free and sustained my passion for running.
Here are 5 reasons I love my Hoka One One Clifton Runners:
- The Cushion – Oh my goodness, the cushioning in Hoka’s is what runners dream of (or at least what I fantasized about), like running on a cloud. As someone who puts over 2,500km on her feet running per year, I want, no need, cushion – the Clifton does a remarkable job at giving me the cushion I need (plus some).
- Wide Base of Support – The first thing I fell in love with in the Clifton’s was the wide base of the front part of the shoe keeping me comfortable and stable. From the very first step, this shoe gave me peace of mind running because of how stable I felt. With other running shoes, I often found that after about 1 month of use, my foot would start to lean to the outside. I have yet to experience this with any of the 8 pairs of Cliftons I have owned.
- The Fit – Talk about Cinderella, the fit of the Clifton has been incredible for me, as soon as I slipped my foot into a pair I could feel the heel wrap perfectly around mine and the front gave my little toes enough room to spread and be comfortable.
- Transitions – As a heel striker I have had troubles in the past with pain in my heel and even Achilles from the constant force I put through my running stride, the way these shoes are designed help to offload the heel and make for a smoother transition to the ball of my foot as I run so I don’t have to think twice about how I am putting my foot down as I run.
- The Bright Colours – if you have ever been on my Instagram page or read through my blog you know I am no wallflower – why shy away when we are born to stand out? I am all about bold and bright colours that match my outgoing personality. Lucky for me the Clifton’s are available in a plethora of vibrant colours (but don’t worry, they also come in black and white for those of you maybe aren’t as bold.)
Running is definitely a personal preference; everything from pace, to equipment, to music, to running alone or in a group. But one thing remains the same, running changes lives. It is undoubtedly one of the only sports that you can keep doing well past your 70’s and 80’s (if done correctly). For me, running has improved my mental health and helped reduce the stress in my life and opened a new world of opportunities. It is important to remember that running looks different for everyone, that every body, every shape, every size, every person can run, you just have to start by putting one foot in front of the other, even a short run can (and will) improve your day – take it from me, a non-runner turned into a running enthusiast.
Written by Sandra Mikulic
Inspiring people to move every day at any size
46 year old, mom of 4, self professed 250 pound Plus Size Runner, who has a run/walk Streak of 5kms everyday since Jan.1 2019.