I use to think that being strong and lifting weights meant being bulky and making a lot of noise in the gym. I was hesitant to give it a try. Like super intimidated. I was so focused on my running that I didn't think I had time for anything else. I kind of figured that everything else was a waste of time and wasn't going to give me the same "calorie burn" or after-effect that my long, hard runs did. All I knew how to do was move one foot in front of the other. Until I got injured. After more than a decade of running consistently, I was sidelined. I was forced to slow down. I was forced to do something else.

I got educated on stability and flexibility training to get me back to running; which would later enhance it (I obtained several PRs the following season). I started with weight machines at the gym -- reading the step-by-step instructions and reviewing the visual aids. I totally understand what you are feeling if you are intimidated by those machines. I get it. I later pushed start on the stair climber and on the rowing machine. And I fell in love with the other ways that I was making my body move.

I wanted to educate myself further and decided to obtain my personal training certification, to supplement my running coach certification. It was at that time that I picked up a dumb bell for the first time. I started small. And I built up from there. I started in my home, built confidence in myself and my form and then I took it to the gym once I was comfortable.

My body has transformed so much over the past eighteen months. And so has my running. I will never be a super model, considered thin or have things "easy". I will always have to work to stay in shape and maintain my goal weight (How is that number defined anyway?). But I am realizing that you can feel strong, tough, fast, lean and feminine in the gym -- it all radiates confidence. And sometimes I even sport some lace in the gym to prove my femininity while rowing 5,000+ meters and lifting some larger bells these days.

Start somewhere. Pick up that dumb bell with confidence. Hold your head high. Ask questions. Find what you enjoy. Build on it. Someday it will be your warm-up.