This issue of Rockstar Runner brings us a woman who inspires everyone she meets with her uplifting and positive attitude! Meet Machon Ross, who transformed her own life through running and brought her friends along with her:
I am 37 year old married mother of two. I live in Ohio with my husband Leonard, my oldest son Jay (14) and my youngest son Jayden (6). I work as a general manager in retail and have been in the retail field for 16 years.
How/why did you start running?
In 2011 I had weight loss surgery. At my highest weight I was not able to play with my children, complete any type of physical activity, and was barely able to make it up our stairs. Simple things such as grocery shopping or attending my children’s activities became a chore instead of something I looked forward to doing. After weight loss surgery every patient is advised to work out and I could not find anything I really liked to do. Working out was never on the top of my priority list. I decided if I couldn’t find anything remotely fun I would at least start walking. That could not be that hard, I was wrong. I made it to the end of the block before I got winded and I had already lost about 30 pounds at this point. I quit, lol. Decided this was never going to happen.
In the summer of 2013 I decided to try again. I had posted my sad attempts on Facebook and didn’t realize somebody had seen those posts. A good friend of mine saw the post and invited me to do a 5k. Figured what the heck and went for it. I had three months to prep and of course I didn’t really start trying until a month before the race. I was struggling the entire way and she wanted to stay with me. I told her run ahead basically so I could secretly walk to finish the race. At 2.5 miles who do I see running towards me but my friend. She ran with me the last half mile and encouraged me the entire way. After crossing the finish line I broke down crying. Not only had I finished but I wasn’t dead.
What do you love about running – what keeps you coming back time after time?
What I love about running is runners. People who run or walk alongside you. I feel like I’m never alone regardless if I don’t know a soul. I love when you’re outdoors and see a runner go by and you nod or say encouraging things. It’s like a secret society of positive people. What keeps me coming back is knowing that I have to share my excitement for running with other people.
How do you get yourself out the door on days when you’re just not ‘feeling it’?
I get myself out the door when I’m not feeling it by remembering there are people waiting for me. I started a walking group last summer and watched people who had not taken a step complete 1, 2, and 3 miles at our local park. Remembering the joy on their faces, the sense of accomplishment keeps me going. Over time I have learned running is not about me, but the people I can help. If I get one person off the couch I feel like I’ve done an amazing thing. I see lives get transformed when they realize what they are capable of. Seeing their smiling faces keeps me going.
Do you have an inspirational and/or funny running story (or stories!) to share with us?
A group of people who I had trained with last summer decided to do a 5 miler. People who had never even done a 5k thought this would be fun. As we all know our first race is never what we thought, yet we keep coming back. During the race the group began to split off. One by one we began to finish and I noticed we had lost one. I started to head back and around the curve I saw Donna was slowly running towards us. I went back and joined her as she crossed the finish line. I was so proud of her. She was one of those people who had also never run. She never thought she could. As she crossed the finish line she fell on the ground crying. I thought she was overjoyed like I was my first race. Turns out she ran the last two miles with a rock in her shoe. Crying she took her shoe off and showed me this tiny sharp rock that was with her for the last two miles. I could not believe this. Any one else would have just stopped and took the rock out. I looked at Donna and asked “Why would you not just stop?” She replied “If I stopped I would not have started again and I didn’t want to let you down. I just wanted to finish.” That one moment changed my whole attitude towards running. If she can run with a rock in her shoe I can run when there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. She didn’t know it at the time but I picked the rock up and took it with me. The next time I saw her I gave it to her. I had put it in a pendant so she could always have it with her and always know how strong she really was.
How has running changed your life?
Running has changed my life by linking me with people I otherwise would not have known. It made me stronger because I know only I can get myself to train, only I can push myself forwards, and while others may be there with me only I can get across that finish line. Running is that sport that makes you dig down inside yourself to see what your really made of.
What words of wisdom do you have for brand new runners?
Stop saying you “only”. I “only” ran a mile or I “only” walked to the end of the block. Guess what, you “only” showed up. Showing up is more than you did yesterday. Celebrate your wins instead of focusing on what you think you should have done.
Have you ever been injured running, and how did you recover?
I have never been injured while running, but did have to take time off due to illness. I recovered by writing a piece explaining that running is not like riding a bike. You don’t just get back on it and start where you left off. You literally have to start over. I started walking one mile then running one mile. Started the entire program over and had to remind myself that this was not a setback, just a restart.
What running gear do you think you can’t live without?
I can not live without my Under Armour clothes. I love all things Dri-Fit. I also need my headband to keep my hair tamed and music. I’ve tried that silence running thing and apparently there is too much going on in my head for that to work. The music lets me tune the world out and just go.
What’s your favorite race distance?
My favorite distance is the half. The half challenges you. Regardless of how much I train it still amazes me that I can actually finish 13.1 miles. I still have not managed to run the entire thing which is why I love the distance. I know I can finish but yet it still intrigues and tests me every single step of the way.
What was your favorite race?
My favorite race is the Queen Bee Half Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its a race geared towards women and is sponsored by the people who do the Flying Pig. The atmosphere just sucked me in. To be surrounded by 15,000 women, not just runners, but running women was awesome. The energy was electric and I felt unstoppable.
What are your top 3 songs to listen to when you run?
I can’t name songs because I have a four hour play list. I will say when Beyoncé, Deitrick Haddon, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I’m all over the place.
Treadmill or outdoors?
I prefer outside in perfect weather but considering I live in Ohio that is rare. I will hop on a treadmill just as quick as long as I can get my miles in.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Run until your little feet will carry you no further :).
How can we find/follow you on social media?
You can find me on Facebook under Machon Ross. I also run a Facebook page called Team Inspire where I encourage people to be their best selves. Life is too short to not love you.
Thanks Machon for sharing your story!
If you’d like to read about more Rockstar Runners, click HERE.