What running means to me….

In 2011 my running journey began because I realized how unhealthy I had become after having 4 children and not taking care of myself. My sister challenged me to run a 1/2 marathon and the carrot was the 1/2 marathon was at Walt Disney World. I committed that day I registered for my 1st Disney Princess 1/2 marathon to make a change. I have never looked back and I am a changed person because of running.

I started my journey alone, run/walking in my neighborhood. I realized like anything in life, everything is better with friends. I took a scary step and joined a free run put on by the Gazelle Run Camps. I had no idea what to expect, I wasn’t in my mind a runner. I joined a group of ladies it looked like I could hang with. When they turned around at 1.5 miles, I kept running to the 3 mile turn around. As I approached the water stop 3 ladies were standing there chatting. I figured they would start running and I would run back alone. They shocked me by waiting for me and running all the way back with me. I could have cried, I was so happy. Those 3 ladies I now call them friends, not just running friends. We have run hundreds of miles together and shared our lives during those long runs. I became a team leader for Gazelle and have loved supporting those new to the sport of long-distance running. Running is now my community, my tribe, my support network, and my cheap therapy group. The ladies I went to my 1st 1/2 marathon in Disney with are now my sisters! We meet every year back in Disney to run the Princess Challenge – 19.3 miles over two days. I only see these ladies once a year at this race and coming up at the end of Feb. we will gather again to run race #9 together. I also have a different group in Holland that I run with now – we call our group Stupid O’Clock because twice a week we gather at 5am to get 3 miles in before the sun comes up. The ladies in this group make me laugh, cry and they are the reason I put my feet on the floor at 4:20am to meet them in all weather to run. We have run a Ragnar together and done several destination races together. My hope for every Gazelle Girl runner is that you find your tribe and I hope those who run in my pace group on race day become my tribe for those 2-3hours! Running can be transformative if you surround your self with the right people!