Growing up I was one of those kids who could never find a sport that I was good at. I was not very athletic and team sports made me nervous because I was afraid of letting my team down. I tried running off and on but it never stuck with me. I enjoyed exploring outside and have fond memories of endless hours playing in the back yard with neighborhood kids. I also loved spending summer’s with my family camping and hiking in the mountains.
Once I reached high school I started going to the gym a lot and became obsessed with working out to look a certain way and maintain my weight. Throughout most of high school and college working out was an unhealthy obsession I had and part of my eating disorder.
Only in the past 5 years have I become more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I have come to appreciate my body and all that it is capable of. Perhaps the most impactful and life changing experience that made me appreciate my body the most was having my son. Carrying and birthing him was one of the most humbling experiences. Afterwards the ability to feed and provide the nutrients he needed was also incredible to me. For me something changed in my confidence when I became a mom.
Within the 1st year of C’s life I found myself starting take up an interest in running. My sister was into running and always talking about how therapeutic it was for her. I decided to start out slow and see how I did. I started with short 1-3 mile runs around local parks. I also joined a running team at work that ran 5K distances twice a week. I came to love running and found ways to carve out time in my schedule. I got so excited when my mile times went from 11 to 10.5 and then 10 minute miles. I could never remember a time in which I had run so fast.
In addition to running with my team at work I started making plans with girlfriends to run and would get home early enough to park my car, run to C’s daycare with an empty stroller, and run back with him. As the weeks went on my passion grew and grew. 3-4 months into my running journey I received an invitation for a complimentary entry into the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon. Our running team at work was all invited to enter since our company was a major sponsor. When I first saw the email invite I got butterflies in my stomach. I was only running 3 miles a week and the thought of running 13+ miles seemed impossible. With that being said it was only April and I had until October to train. I immediately responded that I would do it and within hours everyone had agreed to do it too. I told myself all I had to do was finish and I would be proud.
As time went on I found my miles times getting fast and faster and my runs getting longer and longer. I will never forget the 1st time I ran 6 miles, 8 miles, and 10 miles. I also will never forget running my first 8:30 mile and my first 8 minute mile. I was so proud of how I was progressing. By July I no longer had a goal of finishing the Rock n’ Roll but I had a goal to finish in under 2 hours.
Running my 1st Half Marathon was amazing. The race was long and tough at times but my final 1/2 mile was incredible. As I rounded one of the last corners of the race, I felt like quitting, I had to pee, and I was tired. I was sweating and contemplating starting to walk and I looked up. I saw the dome of the gold shiny capital in front of me and Katy Perry “Firework” started to play. I had to fight back tears, and the lump in my throat, because I was so proud of how far I had come. As I ran through the capital and saw people cheering me on, I couldn’t believe where I was. I ran towards to the finish as fast as I could and threw my arms in the air as I ran across the finish line. I saw that I BEAT my goal and finished in 1:58:36. Tears started streamed down my face and I was so proud of myself.
Doing something you never thought you could is such an incredible feeling and so empowering. Through running I have found strength and confidence in my body and in my soul. I hope that my story might inspire anyone reading this to find something that you never thought you could do, and try it. Set a goal and do it. You might surprise yourself and beating your goals feels INCREDIBLE!