Gifts of Running

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Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day soon, I thought I would talk about my relationship with running. Let me preface this by saying I’m very single, but I sometimes feel like I’m married to running – in the best way possible, but minus the diamond ring, 2 kids and white picket fence.  It’s a rollercoaster – but a beautiful one at that.  It takes work – but its the good kind of work – the rewarding kind. Running can get you high on happiness or break your heart.  Sound familiar to all of you lovebirds out there?  There are I love you’s on some days and I can’t stand you’s on on a few days.  There are I miss you’s when you’re injured, I need you’s when you’re stressed out, and I want you’s when you see a finish line or you’re closing in on a PR.  

This particular relationship that I have – that many of us have with running – is one that I’m so grateful for.  There is nothing like lacing up your shoes and heading out the door and that feeling of the pavement under your feet, your breath in and out, and knowing that each step you take is doing good.  Every step is moving you closer to your goals and reminding you of your why…. 

If you would have told me 15 years ago that I’d be running marathons, racing for Fleet Feet, a lululmeon ambassador, qualified for Boston and a personal trainer and running coach –  I would have LAUGHED in your face.  Like the big belly kind of laugh that doesn’t stop and can get a little awkward…THAT kind of laugh.  I was anything but athletic in high school and college.  I was the drama and choir nerd with all of the leads in the musicals and voted most talented.  I was the weird straight-laced girl dating the high school heartthrob who ultimately turned me onto running.  

It started with running bleachers in the Texas summer heat with my high school sweetheart to clearing my head and jogging around my college to teaching fitness in New York City to discovering that I could run decently fast for my age having never stepped foot on a track.   This love/hate/mostly love relationship with running began with a 5k and then a 10k and then a half and then placing in my age group and then marathons…and then BOSTON.  I’ve realized that my why grows and changes over time.  It can even change from race to race, but there’s always an underlying WHY as to why every morning I put on my running shoes rain or shine and log those miles.  

Ultimately – I run to prove to myself and even more than that- to show other people – that you truly can do ANYTHING you want.  For me, realizing that you don’t have to be a star athlete to have an attainable goal and sharing that with others is a gift.  Realizing that you can have crazy dreams, and that getting there literally starts with one step in front of the other.  In the end – that’s what makes the achievements worth it.  Sharing this with others and helping people realize that they truly can do anything that they can imagine – is my passion.  

I’ll leave you with one more story.  In the beginning, running was for myself, and now at times it’s for myself, but the runs that mean the most are the ones that are for more than myself.  I ran the Boston Marathon for charity the year it was bombed.  I ran for charity because I didn’t think that my IT band would let me run marathons anymore, and I wanted to end running marathons n a high note. 

I had finished the marathon 15 minutes before the bombs went off and was 2 blocks away when I heard the booms and felt them resonate in my chest….boom.  Then 20 seconds later…boom.

In the aftermath of the bombing and being there to witness how the world’s most amazing race was turned into a nightmare for many – broke my heart.  I knew I had to qualify and come back to run this wonderful race for redemption for those who were affected and to experience the race for all of it’s glory.

When I went to qualify, my IT band was acting up and I really didn’t think that I could do it.  My friend who went with me to support me, looked at me and said, “Why don’t you write 26 things on your arm and dedicate each mile to something or someone?”  Wow.  So I did, and it changed the game.  When I thought I couldn’t go on – I looked down at my arm for that particular mile and was reminded of MY WHY.  I dedicated the last 4 miles to those who lost their lives in the Boston bombing…  That run meant more than any other run to this day, and when I crossed the finish line with a PR and a BQ – that is when running truly became more than just miles.  I came back and created the company Inspotats where we personalize temporary tattoos as lists for mile dedications.  We also print quotes or anything inspiring to help people remember their why.  

All of the to say – running has created some of my most special and vivid memories.  Running has helped me crossed paths with some of the most incredible people on the planet.  Running has and continues to make me who I am and remind me of my WHY and why I’m here.  Running truly is more than miles.  

PS – Running I love you and you can totally be my Valentine.  

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