Today’s Success Story comes from Angela Weisenburger. Angela is an Events Coordinator at the University of Montana, as well as one of our UM Wellness Champions. Her story contains a lot of blueprints for success such as: setting concrete goals, putting events on the calendar, having accountability partners, keeping it fun, and building upon small victories. Way to go Angela! Thanks for sharing this with us!
My 2017 wellness story started with what I thought was going to be a major life change for me. It really put in perspective what I had control over and what I wanted my life to look like. With the help of my sister, I decided that I was tired of feeling tired and only half-heartedly committing to a healthy lifestyle. I began in January  with committing to completing a Whole30 challenge and enlisted an office colleague to stay accountable. As I had previously done Whole30, I was able to use my experience to both coach and encourage her and, at the same time, give me the extra confidence to expand my “healthy lifestyle” plan.
The next thing I did was to commit to run my first ever half marathon in July, as well as the Pengelly Single Dip. Both required that I maintain a regular schedule of training, even during my typically busy work weeks when I usually get off track. The “threat” of such big race commitments made sure that I kept at it. Part of the reason for my success was having a partner in crime, my sister. We planned workouts after work and on weekends and having someone keep you motivated and accountable definitely helped. It didn’t hurt that there was a little bit of sibling rivalry and competition between us as well. In addition to the training I did with my sister and on my own, I joined my campus Missoula 5K Corporate Challenge team and that provided yet another resource to keep me motivated and engaged, even on those hot, early summer days.
It wasn’t all hard work though. My sister and I added in some fun runs like the annual Missoula Run for the Luck of It and the Glow Run put on by UM’s Campus Rec department. We made crazy costumes and had so much fun while training for the BIG RACES in June and July.
Running up Mt. Sentinel with the rest of us crazies and setting a PR for myself was truly inspiring and it helped motivate me even further to tackle the Missoula Half Marathon. I have to say that running that was pretty scary as I never did any major loooooong runs to prepare. I set reasonable goals and didn’t worry how I stacked up against either my husband (running his 3rd half) or my sister, or even my daughter. I did, however, beat my teenage X-country-team-running daughter by a half hour so I think I did pretty well.
I ended up losing a total of 28 pounds and running 10 different races (3 alone over the Missoula Marathon weekend!) over the course of the last year. I greatly attribute my success to the challenges and community in the UM Wellness program, my “local” community on the UM campus and through the tools and community available through my Fitbit. And maybe a little bit to my own desire to be my best self.
I am by no means finished. I still have about 15-20 pounds I’d love to get off and I’ve joined the Rec Center on campus and intend to add that to my rotation. I also intend to run at least one race each month next year, including the full Missoula Marathon. It IS possible. I’ve proven to myself that I am capable. And it’s made me feel really really good about myself for myself. Nothing beats that.
Here’s to 2018!!
Angela Weisenburger, University of Montana