As my feet hit the road, I think….and think….cry a little…think…laugh a little…and think some more. A song will rage on and trigger memories, some happy and some sad. I have been running races on and off for the last 10 years. Like most running stories, a sad or powerful change brought my feet to the pavement. I was committed to the road to try and overcome the past and reach for the present and hope for the future. The feeling of running brings me relief and accomplishment that no other form of being brings me. It is a time where I am literally in my own thoughts and for me, that’s ok. Running is my therapy.
My philosophy is…I RUN BECAUSE I CAN! For me, it is that simple. I think of all the people in my life that are either no longer with us or not capable of physically walking or running. It seems each year brings a different focus for which I run. A few years ago my husband and I raised money for the MS Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation. We both have people in our lives that have been affected by both diseases so we wanted to dedicate the Riverbank run to my Uncle Jim and Kyle’s cousin Matt by running our hearts out! We feel we at least owe the world that much in honor of them.
This past year (2013) was a much different year for me, a year that has given me the drive & strength to run for a different & new unfortunate reason. My cousin, CJ, passed away last March unexpectedly. He was 33 years young. It was tough, so tough and still is for myself and for my family. I think about him everyday, multiple times a day. I especially think about him when I run…he is the one who puts the fire in my heart and the drive in my feet. He was a guy who was filled with a zest, passion and a funny sense of humor. In life it is so easy to bury your emotions, good or bad, but I want to speak out and say how much I miss him and how sad I am that I won’t see him again for a long time, God willing. After CJ passed, my heart had changed and all the little annoyances in life became too much for me to bare, so I wanted to simplify. I wanted an extremely balanced & healthy life and I knew I could give that gift to myself with the support of my husband, Kyle. I changed jobs (same profession, different company), I started running again, I became more involved with my immediate & extended family and I vowed to myself that life is too short to sweat the small stuff and that I always need to voice my thoughts, follow my heart and most importantly, forgive.
With all this said, I am honoring my first Gazelle Girl 1/2 Marathon to my cousin CJ and his 1 year anniversary. He won’t be there in the flesh, but he will be there in spirit. He will be the force behind me pushing me towards the finish line, encouraging me the whole way, I just know it. I am making a promise to honor and celebrate his life in the best way I can.
I ask that anyone & everyone in the community to come out and support the women who are running this race, we need all the encouragement, love and cheering along the 13.1 miles of this journey.
One of my favorite quotes below:
“Running is so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel like you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you are capable of so much more than you thought.” ~ Arthur Blank