my story

I had always been a bit overweight, mostly on my hips and thighs, probably the result of a genetic inheritance from my Morrocan mom. When I was 18 my first lessons about eating healthier and portion control was through Weight Watchers. I learned that by incorporating all food groups, getting plenty of vegetables and protein daily, as well as eating only good carbs, all contributed to me having the physique I have today.  But despite my better eating habits, there was one very important component missing to improving my overall health – exercise!

I used to take long walks in the park, and did some random exercises as part of my daily regimen. But because I had asthma as a kid, running was out of the question. And then, one day I decided on an impulse to run for five minutes, and, strangely enough, I felt pretty good! Soon after that I decided to start running more regularly, and even though I was running at an 11 minute mile pace and for only 20 minutes at a time, I was sooo proud of myself!!

I still remember that day in 1992 when I felt really good after my 20 minute run, and decided to see how much longer I could keep on “jogging”.  I couldn’t believe it when I actually ran for a full 45 minutes! I was astonished.  At that time I was running about three times a week, not always for the same length of time, but I was enjoying it more and more.,  I also started to make friends with the “veteran” runners, who treated me like their little mascot.  I forgot to tell you that I’m also very petite, just barely 5’1” tall!.

In 1993 I participated in my first race, a 6 km at the Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, and although I can’t remember my time, it was really a fun experience to be in a race. It was probably at this point that I got bitten by the running bug!  
I couldn’t wait for my next run!  Also, my body was getting stronger and leaner, and my energy level was higher than it had ever been. 
As my running progressed, I was always craving for more information about proper training for runners. I became and avid reader of Runner’s World, and it was at that time that I also decided to get a coach. In fact, for the next few years I actually trained with 3 coaches, and each of them added their wisdom to help me better understand the mechanics, drills, ,and  science of running.  By that time I was also finishing my degree in Pshycology, and I started to research and write articles about the motivation and  mental preparation for runners.

Since those  early years of my running career, I have improved a lot, my body has been totally transformed, and I think of myself as a real athlete, both physically and mentally. I now also have the desire to share my knowledge with others and to help people embark on the journey of running and discover the satisfaction and joy it can bring. 

-Stella Shalem