Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Why I run

My story is actually long and quite complex. I could probably write a book. This will be the cliff notes version.

I was born in 1978 in Alabama (yes I turn 40 this year) and have two older brothers, 9 and 12 years older than me. I was born with medical complications, a duplication of my left kidney and collecting system. I was in and out of the hospital with seven surgeries by the time I was seven. My family also moved to North Carolina when I was 9 months old. When I was ten my parents divorced and my brothers where older and for the most part out of the house. I felt a bit lost, alone and my life and lifestyle significantly change. I had no real goals or direction after that. Through High School I worked but wasn't real sure what was next for me. I enrolled in Community College and watched all of my friends leave town to pursue their dreams. Within 6 months of my high school graduation I was pregnant with my first child Madie (more on that here). I made the big and scary decision to be a mom. This sounds so simple but I remember making that simple decision "I am going to BE a mom" like it was yesterday and in that moment a transformation happened within me. I was 18 years old and I would not be the stereotype. I was 18 years old and I would not settle for accepting what was expected of teen moms. In 1997 at the age of 19 I became a mother. I had no idea what that would mean but I have spent the last 20 (almost 21 years now) figuring that out. By the age of 20, I was pregnant again with Tess and in 1999 just after my 21st birthday I was a young mom of two girls under the age of two (more on that here). I was a single mom by the age of 25 and I remained single for eleven years until I married my incredible husband in 2014 (more on that herehere and here). Being a single mom was hard; life was wonderful and difficult all at the same time. I worked hard over the years to provide for my family, I went to school when I could to complete my education and better myself for my children, I raised two incredible little girls and I became the best mom I knew how to be. My girls and I beat the odds and I am so proud of US! It's because of them that I am where I am today! The road was long and windy with some switchbacks along the way but I wouldn't change a thing. We are exactly where we are supposed to be. 

I was never ever a runner. I did not run in school, in fact I did everything I could to avoid running or anything athletic for that matter. I actually did have pretty bad back/side cramps from my aforementioned surgeries and so I just avoided any strenuous activities. When the girls were little I did enjoy walking and would walk with friends whenever I could but I did not have any set schedules or routines. When my hubby proposed in December 2012 my girlfriends decided that we could start getting in wedding shape by running. I was sure they had lost their minds but decided to humor them anyway. 

I bought my first pair of running shoes, laced up and showed up. We met at a local park and ran lamp post to lamp post working our way up to the mile.

In April 2013 I ran my first mile. I ran one mile nonstop. One. Entire. Mile. The whole thing. Without stopping. I did not die. It was a moment I will remember forever. It's the moment I fell in love with running. 

One mile was hard, it was a long way and I was so proud. I ran one mile at a time from then on and worked my way up to my first 5K in October 2013!

We ran several 5Ks for a while and then started running longer.

Two years after my first mile I ran my first half marathon and today I am anxiously anticipating my first marathon this coming weekend. 

Sometimes I don't love the run, sometimes it's hard, sometimes I am tired, Sometimes I am discouraged but I always always always love the way I feel once I am done.

I have never, not ever, regretted a run. I always find that pushing through the hard things makes me stronger, both physically and mentally. This has been true my entire life.

I always find that my cup is filled up through the run.

The quote "I lost my mind and found my soul" rings so true! I had no intention to ever run further than 3 miles and here I am today ready to run 26.2. This has been an incredible journey, one that I am so thankful to be on. 

I think much of why I love to run is because I love more than anything being outside. On the run I am seeing the trees, smelling the flowers, hearing the birds, tasting the air, feeling the sky.

I have defined myself for so long as Madie and Tess's mom. Now they have both gone off to college and I am forever going to indentify myself that way. I went from being a child to being a mom.

It never occured to me at 19 and 21 that one day I would need to re-discover me. After having lived my entire adult life as a mom running has helped me find a piece of myself that I didn't know before. I look forward to getting to know this new version of me better.

Running opens the door for me to experience all the beauty of the world and I find the best version of myself through the run!

Here's to my first marathon and here's to many more happy miles! To be continued... Stay tuned!

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