Putting her emotions to the pavement keeps Erin P centered
For Erin Percifield, running is her way of life. But, things weren’t always that way.
“I literally just woke up one day and said “enough is enough,” she said. “I was tired of not feeling comfortable in my own skin. I realized that I wasn’t doing my family any favors if I was unhealthy and tired all of the time. They deserved better and so did I.”
In 2012, she started with her diet. “It was a huge wakeup call when I actually documented what I was eating. I lost the first 20 pounds just from changing the way I ate.”
And then, on a dare, she registered for the 2013 Mini Marathon, and joined the Mini Marathon Training Group at Baxter.
“After completing my first half marathon, the sense of accomplishment was amazing! Realizing that I actually could accomplish goals that I set for myself, I kept going and signed up for another race.”
To stay motivated, she keeps setting new goals and committing to more races. Over the past 4 1/2 years, she has completed 3 full marathons, 17 half marathons, 3 sprint triathlons and countless training and fun runs. Her next goal is to complete an Olympic distance triathlon at the end of the summer.
“Running is my go to form of exercise, but cross training is important to prevent injuries,” she said. “During the summer months, I switch gears and add swimming and biking into the mix for Tri season.”
For Erin, her workout are more than just physical.
“Running is what I do to keep myself centered. I used to have to take medications for an anxiety disorder that I no longer have to take. When I’m stressed, sad, anxious or nervous, I push all of that into the pavement. My friends also keep me going. We mostly do races as a group. We make family trips or girl’s trips out of the out of town races and it makes it fun!”
Still, she said, getting healthy isn’t about going all in or not at all.
“I really think that when I began this journey, focusing solely on eating properly without adding in the pressure of exercising is what helped me find the balance between eating healthy yet enjoying food. I found it easier to change one thing at a time instead of everything at once. I feel that helped program me to make smarter choices.”
Now that’s she accomplished so much, she finds value in each workout and has been able to commit to exercising regularly.
“I firmly believe that if you want something bad enough, you will make it a priority. I schedule my day around my workouts, not my workouts around my day.”
What was once a lifestyle she fought to overcome for her family, has now become a lifestyle she shares with her family. In addition to being her biggest fans, Erin’s husband and children have embraced her passion for themselves. She and her husband enjoy running 5ks and biking together, and her son joined the track team at Southport Middle School.
“It makes me proud to see them feel that sense of accomplishment when they cross the finish line.”