EDITOR'S NOTE: Rebecca Patterson, our 2012 Female Most Improved runner, inspires us with how much she has gained in life while losing weight On the Road. She runs regularly with husband Shawn (shutting out pain with his ever-present knee braces) and son Shawn Jr. (who won our 2012 Male Most Improved and Challenge Series Male 10-14 titles). Daughter Erynn is also on the move nonstop, retrieving soccer balls at the high school track or trotting alongside during warmup laps. Enjoy Rebecca's journey.

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Check out our archive for previous travels On the Road, and remember we invite you to share your own story, favorite cause or best advice.

On the Road with Rebecca Patterson

By REBECCA PATTERSON
Patterson Pallet Recycling

I hate to run. Well, at least that's how I felt a couple of years ago. Whenever my taekwondo instructor would have us run a few laps around the dojo, I would always go to the very back of the line. I should have gone to the front because I constantly ended up there, with the entire class closing in on my heels.

One day, someone made a comment about how the governor had lost quite a bit of weight very quickly by taking up running. That comment stuck with me. I was at my heaviest. My youngest child had just turned 2 and I weighed 10 pounds more than when I was 9 months pregnant. I desperately needed to do something. After convincing myself, I managed to persuade my husband and son to start running with me at the track.

I clearly remember that first day at the track. It was horrible. I didn't make it a half of a lap before I had to stop and walk. Our goal had been to run one mile, just four simple laps around. The boys did it with no problems in less than 12 minutes. It took me 23 very long minutes.

Shawn Jr., Rebecca and Shawn at 2012 Turkey Trot

I wanted to quit. It was terrible and I hated it even more than before. Instead of quitting (the boys wouldn't let me; they even bought me running shoes for my birthday), I kept at it. Then, one day, Shawn Jr. and I were at the track for our regular one-mile run and something finally clicked for me. I ran the whole mile without stopping and finished in about 18 minutes. For the first time, I walked off the track wearing a huge smile on my face. I was elated. That mile did not beat me. That day I had won.

A year later, I ran my first 5k — the Sara Low. At the time, it was supposed to stand as my only 5k, but I had been bitten by the running bug and I saw a newspaper article about the White River Roadrunners Challenge Series.

Running has made a huge difference in my life. By helping me lose more than 50 pounds, it has improved my health and fitness. By participating in numerous races — including a half marathon! — I have gained many friends and role models.

There are times when running still beats me, especially when instead of being one of the penguins at last year's Penguin Run, I was the Lame Duck and finished last. I don't mean last for my age group. I mean last, last. Last as in, the awards ceremony is almost over and the crowd is wondering why someone is running through the finish chute. However, the scales are slowly tipping in my favor and I manage to win more battles than I lose.

While running has had such a positive impact on me, I still hate running, but I hate not running even more!