I started running a little over 5 years ago and have written a lot about my journey throughout the years. When I first started running in 2014, I ran my first half marathon (Gazelle Girl Half Marathon of course), in memory of a family friend who taught me so much about strength, perseverance, and fight. As I watched her battle breast cancer, I watched her lose a lot of her mobility and other physical capabilities. I knew I could no longer take the body I had been entrusted with for granted, so I started to run.

Shortly after the Gazelle Girl, I ran the Riverbank 25k with Team Paul, which included my 3rd grade teacher, and her two sweet girls, who lost their husband and dad unexpectedly the year before. I was running because I wanted others to know and experience the hope that outshines grief. Having experienced the loss of my older brother when I was 11, and having the same teacher walk me through difficult days, this race was so special to me.

In 2015, I ran another 25k with Team Jimbo. This team consisted of me and one of my best friends. We ran for her dad, who was undergoing cancer treatments at the time. We ran to try to make sense of a world filled with the fear and unknowns that come with a cancer diagnosis.

Before I finished my last race in 2015, I wrote this, “This Sunday I am preparing to run my second half marathon. I was hoping after finishing my first half marathon and 25k last May I would never, ever have to run another long distance race again. Sore knees, blisters, broken toenails, and huge time commitments were some of the selfish reasons I was hoping not to run another long distance race. However, the biggest reason I had this hope was because I knew that if I was going to run another long distance race, there would have to be a purpose. And usually with purpose, comes pain, suffering, and growth.”

If I was going to run a long distance race again, there would be a purpose.

I skipped a few years because, well…babies, but 2018 was my comeback year and the purpose was surprising to me because in 2018, the purpose was me. I had 2 babies in 2 years. My body had changed a whole lot. So had my spirit, priorities, and schedule. After having my daughter, I didn’t think I could possibly run 1 mile let alone 13.1 (Disclaimer: I couldn’t run 1 minute straight after having her). I also had no idea how I would find time to train with all of the balancing we have going on in our household. Yet, one day I decided to lace up and start from nothing in hopes of doing something for myself. I crossed the finish line and came back for more in 2019, my first year as a pacer.

My first year as a pacer, I ran with the Glitter Got Soul Crew and committed to crossing the finish line with the last person. What an incredibly transformative experience. First or last, 13.1 is 13.1 and it takes courage, grit, and determination to get across the finish line. We had such a great time. I’m so excited to be back for the 2020 race season and can’t wait to meet YOU. Please if you’re hesitant to sign up, go for it. You won’t regret it. Running will change your life.

I’ll end with why I run.

I run because it’s one of my biggest teachers right now. Running is so much more than a physical thing. It’s spiritual and emotional too. I run because I need intentional community the most right now. My running partners are such a blessing. They are wildly smart, patient, kind, selfless, focused, flexible, focused, determined, and so much more. Women in the running community encourage me, listen to what’s going on in my life, and genuinely want me to crush my goals. Running creates a sisterhood.

I run because it teaches me to appreciate and love my body. I’m not the smallest runner there ever was and sometimes that makes me feel insecure. Sometimes it’s too easy to look at my stretch marks and stomach and start the negative self talk. But. My legs are strong enough to carry me double digit miles. How cool is that? I just can’t hate a body that can take me further than I drive some days.

I run because it continues to provide healing to broken places to my heart I will never be able to surround with words. Running has done some “heavy lifting” for me in terms of grief work and processing some of the loneliness and unmet expectations of this season of life. Running gives me hope.

I run because it makes me better for my family. My kids get to see me work towards a goal and do something I care about. Without running, I would be completely swept away by full-time work and mommyland right now. I’m so proud when my son tells me he wants to go for a run too.

I’ve loved every race and purpose I’ve run for in the past 5 years. I really love this year’s purpose too. Getting across the finish line with people who think they could never do this. I was that girl once too. Sometimes I still am but 13.1 I’m coming for you. We’re coming for you.