A few days ago, a Facebook page that I “like”, Fellow Flowers posted a video titled, “Why Women Run.” It touches on how Fellow Flowers came to be and how the sport of running has changed these women’s lives. It made me think about my own personal relationship with running, how I came to be a “runner” and most importantly why am I choosing to run 26.2 miles in two weeks.
I started running as a way to lose weight in high school with one of my best friends. It was a much simpler time, before Garmins and iPods. I’m not sure how far I ran or how fast, but we would just run until we got tired. I kept running through college as a way stay in shape and to keep up with my Air Force PT tests. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago where I signed up for my first race and running became more to me than a way to keep the pounds away. Since 2008, I’ve ran a number of 5ks, 10ks, participated in a snowy Shamrock Shuffle 8k, and have run 4 half marathons.
When I tell people that I’m running the Chicago Marathon, I get a lot of different responses: “That’s awesome!” “I’m so proud of you!” How far is that?” “You’re crazy.” “Why?”
There was one point in my training where I had a really bad build up run. All I kept asking myself is, “Why am I doing this? What’s the point?” I’m proud to say that I only had ONE training run like that. The rest of it has been a pretty positive experience.
So, how did my goal of running the Chicago Marathon come to be this year? In January, instead of making resolutions, I make goals. The two top goals of the year were to buy a house (check!) and run the Chicago Marathon. When I went to register for the race, the website had been shut down due to too many people trying to all register at once and, for the first time in Chicago Marathon history, the registration was being opened a few days later in a lottery. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t make it in the lottery system and I thought my goal of running the Chicago marathon would have to get pushed off another year. Then the tragedy in Boston happened. I was at Target when hubs texted me the awful news. As a runner, I knew what a honor and big deal it was to make it to the Boston Marathon. Not just anyone can sign up for it. You have to qualify in a previous marathon. It’s a big deal. Something happened that day that made me realize that if I really wanted to run Chicago in 2013 I needed to make it happen one way or another. How did I know I was guaranteed next year? And so I started to look into charities.
Asking people for money has never really been my “thing.” I started looking at different charities and I couldn’t believe some of the fundraising minimums. $1500 is a bit too high pressure for me. There were so many to choose from: Do I run for cancer? Or this women’s cancer charity? They give pedicures before the race! Or childhood illnesses? I do have a child after all. What about PAWS? Oliver might appreciate that. Then I saw Team Salute and I knew that was my charity. The fundraising minimum is only $700 but you do have to pay for your own registration fee, which I was completely fine with since I was going to do that anyway. Team Salute raises money for military members, veterans and their families. It’s an awesome charity and I felt that this was way of giving back to those in need because the military has done so much for me and my family. You can check out my Team Salute story here.
So why am I running 26.2 miles? Because I can. Because I believe it’s important to set goals and not let obstacles stand in the way of them. Because I want Madelyn to know that you can do anything you set your mind to. And because I like to run. Some days I do have to push myself to get out there. Other days, I cannot wait to hit the ground running. It’s my therapy. It’s a brainstorming session. It allows me to think about anything and everything or nothing at all. It’s a release from a stressful day. I believe that it makes me a better wife and mother. Although my husband may beg to differ some days 🙂 Yes, some may think I’m crazy but it’s been an amazing journey so far and has taught me a lot about myself.
Today I decided that I was going to treat myself to some new gear at Lululemon. I was in the dressing room with Madelyn trying on a few pairs of shorts and a running skirt. When I came out of the fitting room the store manager asked me what I was shopping for. I told her that I was running the Chicago Marathon in a few weeks and that I couldn’t decide if I wanted the shorts (which I was used to running in) or the running skirt-because it was cute and comfy. She looked at Madelyn and asked how old she was and I responded with a year. The store manager said, “I’ll tell you what. Since I think it’s so amazing that you are not only running a marathon, but that you’re running your first marathon 1 year post baby I’m going to give you these shorts to run in for the marathon.” I looked at her and asked, “Are you serious?” She said, “Absolutely. I think it’s awesome that you have such a great goal and you’re on your way to achieving it. All you have to do is let me know how they were to run in.” I said thank you about a hundred times and left with my shorts, my skirt, tears in my eyes and a heart full of gratitude.
It restores my faith in humanity when people do amazingly selfless things for other people. 2 more weeks until Chicago!! To say I’m ready and excited is an understatement.