A therapeutic run

Have you seen some of the 10 Running Questions posts going around? I had planned to answer those this morning (thanks, Robin, for the tag!), but all weekend I was thinking about my friend Terzah’s answer to question number two: three words that describe my running.  She listed:




I experience one or all of these every time I run.  Even on my worst runs, getting out the door is always freeing. 

Nearly every run is also rejuvenating.  No matter how I feel at the start, my energy is revived, and I come home “sweaty and happy” as daddy and L like to say.

And it never fails that when I most need it, my run becomes therapeutic.

Such was the case with my 12 miler this weekend.  I was excited to finally be back to longer weekend runs, and the weather was cool enough for an old favorite trail that had been too sunny for the summer months.  I generally prefer to run in silence, as there is enough “noise” in my day and I value quiet time to think, pray, meditate, zone out… whatever is needed.

This weekend, I opted for music.  I chose a new RPM track I’m memorizing for spin, and set out.

The cool weather, upbeat music and change of scenery combined for a nearly perfect run.  I cruised along, feeling strong and lucky to be out, soaking it all up.  I was having a blast, feeling upbeat and energized.

And then something happened.

The last song came on, “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz.  The soothing, mellow song and appropriate lyrics struck me as I was approaching our house…

“To share this view of the night, a glorious night, over the horizon is another bright sky
Oh, my my how beautiful, oh my…father,
He told me, “Son sometimes it may seem dark, but the absence of the light is a necessary part.
Just know, you’re never alone, you can always come back home” [emphasis mine]

…and suddenly, as I began cooling down and stretching, I was overwhelmed with emotions and let the tears flow. “Home” can be interpreted various ways.  For me, it holds a faith component.  For others, it may be finding security in family, friends, within yourself.

The absense of light is a necessary part… I’m learning this over and over in life, there are stages where we cannot see what is to come, cannot possibly know why things are as they are, and this is okay.  It is a necessary part.  We are not in control.

My life is full.  I feel blessed.  I am content with what I’ve been given and what I have.  But there are times when I struggle with the future… with letting go of my plans… with the questions when things go wrong- in my life, my larger community or devastating news around the world.

And this ability to find my emotions, release them, and feel refreshed again is what keeps me coming back to running.  It was my mini-therapy session on Saturday.  And I’m ready to face the uncertainties of the future again.

93 million miles from the Sun, people get ready get ready,
’cause here it comes it’s a light, a beautiful light, over the horizon into our eyes…




Running for SLOS: A mom’s story of grief and hope

Sunday’s purposeful running series continues this morning with an especially moving story.  Mary Helen describes her parenting journey from joy to shock to grief and back again.  I am in awe of Mary Helen’s honesty, humility, perseverance and strength.  You can follow her ongoing training and Damien’s progress at A Written Purpose.  And grab a tissue before reading further.  🙂

My journey into running was both gradual and, at the same time, kind of happened overnight. To say I ran “casually” throughout high school and college might be stretching it a bit. I had run a few 5k’s here and there, but nothing serious. Running and I had a love-hate relationship that usually favored the ‘hate’ over the ‘love.’ This trend continued until I was pregnant with our first child.

In January of 2011, we welcomed baby Damian into this world. The pregnancy had been nearly perfect as was the delivery. He was the cutest little bundle of joy I had ever seen (although I guess I’m a bit biased 😉

 However, once we brought him home from the hospital, things started to get rough. At first it was just the typical newborn stuff–not sleeping, crying, eating constantly… But after 2 weeks, Damian still wasn’t gaining weight despite marathon nursing sessions and supplementing with formula. He was also starting to look jaundiced and sick; and by 3 weeks, we were told he had a life threatening liver disease that would require immediate surgery. Handing your baby over for an intensive 6 hour surgery to save his life was nerve-wracking to say the least!

The surgeon said to expect about a week long stay in the hospital for him to recover. However, it was over a month later that we finally got to bring our baby home from the hospital for the second time. It was during this time that we were told Damian actually had a rare genetic disorder called Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome. Like most of you, we had also never heard of SLOS. A recessive genetic mutation, SLOS causes the body to struggle to produce cholesterol. While many adults work to keep theirs down, the body needs cholesterol to develop properly. Without it, many physical and mental disabilities can occur; and sadly many children die within the first year due to these complications.

They say when a parent is given a special needs diagnosis for their child what follows is very similar to the grieving process after losing a loved one. And this is painfully true… You grieve the loss of a future you had planned for your child and all the possibilities that might not be now. I was in a dark place for awhile. I was sad and angry that my beautiful baby had to suffer. But mostly I was fearful that I wouldn’t have what it takes to be the mom of a special needs child. How was I going to handle a feeding tube, tons of medication, weekly/monthly doctor’s visits, physical and speech therapies, the constant worry of his liver failing, etc.?

After the shock of Damian’s diagnosis wore off, I decided grieving for all eternity wasn’t the best way to handle it. I needed to do something. Since SLOS is rare, there is not a lot of funding for research so I wanted to help change that. I also wanted to do something that would prove to myself, and hopefully one day to Damian, that I was strong enough to handle this. So while talking with my best friend one night, we decided to sign up for our first marathon (at Walt Disney World–might as well make it fun, right?!) with the hopes of raising $1000 for the SLOS Foundation. We would be the small, but determined, Team Damian! What followed was never expected.

I had no clue what it took to run a marathon (other than moving my body 26.2 miles.) As I researched training plans and hydration packs and gels, I realized this was going to be intense! But that’s exactly what I needed to help me through the grief and pain I was experiencing. And what better motivation could I have than doing it for Damian! Everyday he was showing me he wasn’t going down without a fight. If he could be strong, so could I!

I still remember lacing up my running shoes for that first run after signing up. I thought I was going to die. Ohmygoodness, it was horrible! But I stuck with it. And sure enough, it was only a matter of weeks and I was addicted! Long runs became my therapy, and I looked forward to the cold, fall Saturday mornings. By the time January and the marathon rolled around, I was a new person. And while the entire time I was worried we’d never make our $1000 goal, we more than doubled it!!


 The race was a lot of fun, and life-changing to say the least! If you’ve never run a marathon before, I definitely recommend the one at Disney. It’s so well done and filled with tons of entertainment to keep you moving. There’s nothing like running 26.2 miles in the happiest place on earth!

We had so much fun in fact we decided to do it again in 2013 with the hopes of raising $5000! And this time we’ve inspired a few more to join us, and Team Damian has grown from 2 to 11 (and counting!). And that’s the funny thing about running. While it’s a very individualized sport, the sense of community and support I have found from other runners has moved me beyond words. They’re there to encourage you, pick you up when you’re down, and help you put one foot in front of the other.

And while I may have healed and Damian is thriving, I know that there are other families working through difficult times due to SLOS. I hope that Team Damian, though small, provides them some of the support and community that running has given me. And that’s what keeps me running!

If you would like to find out more about Team Damian (or join us for Disney 2013!) you can visit our fundraising page here or follow the links on my blog!

Two magic words for running (and life)

Our whole family went out for a run early yesterday morning.  What a treat to all run together at an easy, conversational pace!  This last month has been a “cut-back” month for me, something I needed both mentally and physically.

The care-free country runs on vacation helped me to fall in love with running all over again. Now that my shin is happy again, I’m excited to pick up the mileage and intensity, but I don’t want to lose the joy of running.

I realized on our run this weekend that much of running (and life) comes down to my attitude.  We had a great run because I could say I “get to” run with the whole family.  Near the end of a training plan, that often changes.  I find myself saying I “have to” run 10 miles tomorrow, or I “have to” do a tempo run today.

I’m learning that “HAVE to” leads to attitude (and negativity).

“GET to” leads to gratitude.

It struck me how many other areas of my life could benefit from this simple word replacement.

I don’t have to cook dinner for my family, I get to provide healthy meals and have access to fresh foods.

I don’t have to wake up early, I get to savor quiet downtime or a workout before everyone else gets up.

I don’t have to stay home with my daughter, I get to savor this time and enjoy her every discovery.

I don’t have to teach spinning, I get to motivate others on their fitness journey.

I don’t have to be busy all the time, I get to choose how to spend my free time.

I don’t have to do and be all things for all people, I get to use my time and talents to love those around me and seek the peace of my city.

I don’t have to stress about our future, I get to enjoy today and can trust that everything will come together in time.

And tomorrow, I don’t have to get up early to squeeze in a run.  I get to energize my body, mind and spirit!

Do you ever feel like you have to work out , or have to run? Are there other areas of your life that can benefit from a change of perspective from “have to” to “get to”?


Purposeful running- Mandy’s story

This girl has spunk! I won’t ruin her story for you, but I am so inspired by her drive and determination.  She has big goals, and I have no doubt she will achieve them.  She’s also a new mom, with an adorable one year old.  You can follow Mandy’s running journey at No More Standing Still.

Growing up, I considered myself “athletic,” but I never ran for the purpose of running.  I played soccer.  When I ran, it was to get the ball, or running laps as punishment.  It was definitely not something I considered FUN.

During several trips to College (which resulted in 3 degrees), I stopped exercising regularly, turned to stress eating, and managed to gain the “freshman 15” EACH time.

At this point, my stepbrother ran the Houston Marathon.  The next year, my stepmother ran the same Marathon, just to prove that she could.  I was in awe.  Then, my Dad ran it.  Really???

My family is very competitive. Thus, I had to try it too.  Since free time was an issue while I was back in school yet again, I decided to start “small” and train for a half marathon.  I was that person that got winded walking up the stairs to the Chemistry lab though.  Thus, I had a few starts and stops along the way.  Nonetheless, I ran my first half marathon at the Columbus Marathon in 2010 with a time of 2:43:33.

 Like so many other runners, I was hooked.    You might think that I would have lost some of my excess weight in the process up to this point.  Not true.   After the race, I weighed in at 186 lbs.  (I’m only 5’3”).   My new goal was to lose some of that weight, and increase my speed in a second race.

A couple months later though, our plans to start a family got results, I was pregnant.   I was told no dieting while pregnant, but I was allowed to continue running until shin splints forced me when I was a little over 5 months pregnant.  I still hadn’t learned the eating well lesson, so I put on a lot of weight during my pregnancy.  My daughter was born in August, and when I started running again (officially) in mid September, I weighed 220.8 lbs.

 I cannot even tell you how many attempted runs ended in tears at that point.  I was heavy, I was out of shape and I could not get hydrated enough.  But, I didn’t quit.

I worked myself up to the necessary mileage base to start training for a couple of spring half marathons, making some great running friends along the way.  Just when everything seemed to be going great,  I got the awful news that my Mom had died of a brain aneurysm.  She had not yet met my daughter.  It was a devastating blow.  I think I only managed to stay sane because I was  running regularly with some really amazing and supportive people.

In April 2012, I successfully ran the Knoxville Half marathon.  I beat my previous time by over 14 minutes.  I then beat THAT time at the Cap City Half Marathon in May.

Stepmom, Dad, husband and me

Next, I ran 18 miles during the Relay Around Columbus in June, and I tried to climb a mountain in July.  No, really, a mountain.  With a 45 lb pack, crampons, an ice ax and everything.

 I didn’t make the summit, but I’m not quitting on that either.  I’m trying again next July.

Oh, and along the way, I’ve lost almost 60 lbs.  Today, I weigh 162.6 lbs, and I’m still improving myself and my running.  I plan to lose another 20 lbs before my next attempt at the mountain in 2013.

Down 58.2 lbs and counting

Today, I’m training for the Columbus Marathon in October again, but this time, I’m doing the full, all 26.2 miles.  It will be my first.

When I first started running, I did it because I wanted to get in shape and I needed a goal to force me to exercise.  Today, if I miss a run, I’m a much crankier person.  When I first started running, I had to walk after a block or two.  This weekend, I’ll be running 14 miles without walking.  Running has been my stress relief when things are really, really bad.  It’s also helped me to make the healthy changes I needed to make.  More than that though, running is about the amazing running community and how supportive and wonderful the friends are that I have made there.  My life will never be the same!

May we all run many more miles, keeping us both sane and healthy!

What lessons has running taught you?

I love Jen’s reflective personality. She is often sharing life lessons she learns through running on her blog, and even has an entire tab detailing her reasons for running, so I was excited that she agreed to write a purposeful running post. She shares an important body image lesson that running taught her.  Check out her blog for more life running lessons, trail running and gorgeous pictures!

My name is Jen and I’m an addict.  I’m addicted to running.  I wasn’t always like this.  I didn’t do any sports in high school.  I never considered myself an athlete in any shape or form of the word.  It all started when I got on the scale on my 3rd baby’s first birthday.  I was convinced the dryer was shrinking my pants.  I was nursing after all and I just couldn’t have gained weight!  I was still trying to lose the last 10 pounds from that pregnancy!  My weight loss was almost effortless with the other two and I was shocked that after a year the weight just hadn’t gone away. So the diet and exercise program started.  While I did all sorts of cardio, I found that running was what I really enjoyed.  I lost the 10 pounds but quickly discovered that i really didn’t care about the weight loss anymore.  Running had become more meaningful to me.  It was changing my very thinking.

I ran a 10K that year and was pretty proud of myself.  But anything longer than that seemed impossible so I really didn’t give it any more thought.  People who ran marathons were crazy and that was so far out of my reach that why waste any brain power on that?  Until I ran 9 miles one weekend and had a friend talk me into running a half marathon that next weekend.  She assured me that if I could run 9, that I could run 13.  Not knowing what I was getting into, I signed up that morning along with the other 20 or so runners and set off.  I finished.  It was hard, but that was the first day that I thought that maybe, just maybe I could run a marathon someday.  After another baby and a few years later, I found inspiration in my kid’s elementary school program to achieve that goal with them. They were to run 25 miles during the year and then run the last mile at the Ogden Marathon.

Crossing that finish line with my kids was one of the best days of my life.  I learned so much from that experience: about myself, about my family, about my friends, and invaluable life lessons that came along the way.  Soon after I started my blog Why I Run because of my passion for running and the life lessons that can be learned from it.  Those lessons will impact my life more than a PR ever will.  One of the great things about a blog is getting to share ideas and I love hearing others lessons as well.

One thing I have learned is that running helps me see my body in a different light.  I first noticed this while training for my first marathon.  I had a new self confidence that hadn’t been there before.  While I used to sit and nit pick myself in front of the mirror, I found myself loving my body a little more because of the amazing things that it was able to do.  I had incentive to change the things I could and not worry so much about the things I couldn’t.  This is one of my favorite quotes,

“I think there is no better way to invite a human being to view their body differently than by inviting them to be an athlete, by revering one’s body as an instrument rather than just an ornament.  It’s a really great way to reorient how you see your body so you can see it as this incredible, awe-inspiring machine that you need to fuel well in order for it to function.”  Alanis Morisette

My favorite part in that quote is “by revering one’s body as an instrument rather than just an ornament”. It’s really easy to get caught up in having the perfect body when we see those images all around us.  We know that a lot of them are airbrushed and not real, but there are lots of seemingly real perfect bodies out there to look at.  And when we compare ourselves to them we always walk away feeling inferior.  But, if we can redirect our focus to what our bodies can DO rather than just viewing them as an ornament and something nice to look at, we can gain a new perspective and appreciation for these amazing bodies.

I also like the verb revere that she chose.  It means: to feel deep respect or admiration for something.  If we can revere our bodies as an instrument, we’ll want to feed it better, give it the sleep that it needs, and not talk badly about it.  We can learn to love ourselves a little more.  That’s one lesson running has taught me. What’s something running has taught you?

Purposeful running: Carrie’s story to healthy

Please welcome my friend Carrie today! She has made impressive changes in the last few years on her journey to find healthy, and never imagined that running would be part of her story.  Carrie and I share similar passions in terms of holistic health, running and eating well.  You can get to know her better through her blog, Family, Fitness and Food!

My running story starts out like many others.  I hated running as a kid.  In fact, my sport of choice growing up was horseback riding.  I made the horse do the work.  If anyone had told me that I’d get up at 5AM on a weekend to run 13.1 miles on multiple occasions for fun, I’d have called them crazy.

But, here I am.  I credit learning to enjoy running to two things: 1) trying to keep up with my super active kids and 2) the experience of a team relay race.  I credit my continued enjoyment of running to helping me to stay focused on living healthy for my body and my mind.

After being anti-running for most of my life (and overweight too), I started to adopt a healthier lifestyle a few years ago.  I focused mostly on my diet and then started to add in exercise with short treadmill workouts and I slowly built to more intense workouts including the elliptical machine and other cardio equipment.

I thought I was in shape.

Then, my kids began training to earn their Black Belts in Taekwondo.  Their training involved an endurance portion which included a lot of running.  On the day of their test, they were going to have to run about 5 miles.

Because they were only 7 and 9 at the time, I went along for the training runs.  I thought I could keep up.  After the first run, I about passed out.  The fitness I had achieved from my gym workouts was not enough to get me through about a 2 mile run with a bunch of kids.

I had a goal.  Get better.  But, I still didn’t like running.  I tried to figure out why I didn’t like it.  I was slow.  Slow was horrible.  It took me a long time to figure out that my speed didn’t matter.  I had to come to terms with my speed and just take the pressure off of myself to enjoy the outing.  I started to look at my runs as just fast walks and to enjoy the scenery and not worry about how long it took.  I finally started to enjoy it.

I signed up for my first 5K race a few months later.  My goal for the 5K was to finish without having to walk.  Turns out that it was a super hilly course on a dirt horse trail and it was hard.  I did have to walk up the last hill, but the feeling of accomplishment when I neared the finish line was enough to have me hooked.  I set my sights on another race so that I could accomplish that original goal.

I ran a few more 5K’s and then a friend talked me in to running a 10K.  That’s when I started following an official training plan.  I loved training for the 10K.  Building up my mileage base was a huge feeling of satisfaction.

At that point, my childhood best friend talked me into running a Ragnar Relay with her to celebrate her 40th birthday.  I was intimidated.  I’m still slow.  I was running with a bunch of other people far more experienced than I was, in a relay that kind of freaked me out.  But, I bit the bullet and joined in.

The relay race was amazing.  I learned to enjoy the run and the camaraderie of the running community.  I ran with a great group of people and saw how supportive and awesome runners can be.  I learned how much of the enjoyment of running is mental.  You have to approach a run with a positive mental attitude and give to your run what you want to get out of the run.

Running makes me happy.  I get sucked in by the sexiness of running lots of miles.  I love hanging medals on my wall.  I love the adrenaline of standing at the starting line of a race.  I even love the aches and pains from training. I love talking about running and blogging about running.  I love to smile and say hi to runners I see out early on the weekends.

Running also helps me focus.  I went back to school recently to become a Registered Dietitian.  I use my runs to decompress and sometimes to review material and formulas in my head before exams.  I’ve learned to approach my coursework like training for a long distance event.  Start out slow, trust your body (mind) and you will get there.

Running has become a huge part of my healthy lifestyle.  I love to run because it keeps me focused on being healthy.  My body cannot run the distances I ask if I don’t fuel it properly and rest when I need to.

Purposeful running- Rachelle’s post-baby comeback

While I’m off “tri”-ing this morning, Rachelle is here to share how she started running and why she loves it.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Rachelle through her blog, Livin the Fit Life, where she shares her running inspiration, product reviews, and race reports. She also maintains a hiking blog, at Livin the Hike Life.  Go check her out and say hello!

If you’d like to share your reasons for running as part of the purposeful running series, send me an email.  Thanks to everyone who has shared already!

Here’s Rachelle!

Did you ever have that aha moment when you decided to start running?  I did.

When I was younger, I was one of those people that hated running.  You know how when you are young and running means sprinting?  I didn’t know the meaning of pace yourself.  Run at a steady pace and you can go forever.  So, every time I would run, I would feel out of breath and miserable.  I hated running!

I had 2 kids and I gained 50 pounds with each pregnancy.  The first time I lost most of it, the second time I kept an extra 20-25 pounds on.  After my youngest son turned 1 1/2 I hit a breaking point.  Now, I have always been fit so this extra weight drove me insane.  I finally said, “that’s it, I can’t take it anymore!”

I had bought a cheapy treadmill at my neighbor’s garage sale a couple months prior and I decided that while my kids were napping I would run on that treadmill every day.

I don’t even remember whether it was difficult in the beginning or not.  I just ran.  All I remember is that I was at the point of running 6 miles every day on that same treadmill, in that same room, looking at the same things.  I was dedicated.

This went on for about 6 months and by the time I went to put on that season’s clothes, they were all 2 sizes too big.  I didn’t even own a scale so I never knew how the weight loss was going.

I looked great, but more importantly I felt great (and my husband was happy too)!  I decided to run a marathon with Team in Training in 2004 and the rest is history.

I have had bumps in the road along the way and taken breaks from my routine, but I always come back to it because when I run and exercise regularly, I am at my best.  When I run I feel confident.  I can let go of my negative energy and clear my mind of the stress of everyday life.  When I run I am free and that is the best feeling ever!

What was your aha moment?

Corey’s running journey: From casual to competitive

I met Corey at the Houston Marathon where we chatted and walked the expo together, and since then she has become a good friend and inspirational athlete.  She was also one of the key people encouraging me to give triathlons a try! Although Corey doesn’t think she has much of a story to tell, hers is one that I think many of us can relate to.  Running has a way of becoming part of us and giving back to us more than we expect it to.  You can follow Corey’s training at Schnoodles of Fun.

I had the good fortune of meeting Laura in Houston in January at the Olympic Trials. I immediately liked her and for anyone who hasn’t been lucky enough to meet her in person, she is absolutely just as sweet and kind as she appears on her blog!

I had two thoughts when Laura first announced that she was going to start a Purposeful Running series on her blog. First, I thought it was a great idea and I have truly enjoyed reading the stories from some very amazing and inspiring women. The other thought I had was that it would be fun to participate in this, but I don’t have a good story to tell. I didn’t (and still don’t) see my reasons for running to be nearly as inspiring as some of the other women that Laura has featured.

So when Laura emailed me and asked if I would like to participate, I had to think about it before committing. I finally concluded that even though I don’t see my personal motivation as inspiring to others, I still have my reasons for running and a story to tell.

So here we go…

For as long as I can remember, I have always been an athlete. I played just about every sport out there before finally settling on volleyball, softball and swimming in high school. My junior and senior year, I played competitive softball year-round and went on to play Division I softball in college.

Through my participation in sports, I always ran. Sometimes it was for conditioning and sometimes it was for punishment, but never for pure enjoyment. I was always one of the stronger long-ish (we’re talking 3 miles here) distance runners on my team in college and I enjoyed running, but never thought much about it, beyond preparing me to compete in softball.

After college, I continued to run to stay in shape, but never really took it too seriously. I  raced one 5k and loved it but wasn’t bitten by the “race bug”. I always wondered why I wasn’t able to run further or faster even though I ran pretty consistently, but I also never really had goals or even tracked just how far or how fast I was going.

During this time after college, I knew something was missing from my life. I am an extremely competitive person and I felt an emptiness in the part of me that desired to compete.  I missed working hard to achieve goals, leaving everything I had in a game and walking away feeling proud and accomplished. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on what this emptiness was, but it is easy to look back now and see what was missing.

In 2008, I moved to Hamburg, Germany for work and my running started to change. I started running more, and while I don’t think I got much faster, I started to try to run further at least once a week. Around this time, I also went to a great friend’s bachelorette party in Nashville and together we ran the Country Music 1/2 Marathon.

That’s me in the back giving the “V” sign

After that race, I was hooked! When I moved to Greenville, SC a short time later, I signed up for another half marathon and started taking training more seriously. I eventually found running friends, discovered speed work and went on to run 9 more half marathons and 3 full marathons.

Houston Marathon 2012 – My PR Race!

I absolutely love the feeling of accomplishment I experience after a good, hard run. I love it when my lungs and legs burn and I am sweaty like crazy and I don’t think I can go another step. But I can. And I do. I love working to get faster, then racing and pushing myself harder than I ever could have imagined. I love the high that carries me through an entire morning after a run, making me feel strong and happy and proud. I love that I have goals that drive me to wake up at 5 a.m. when I would rather be sleeping. Because all of my life working toward a goal is what drove me and when I lost that, it left a void. Running fills that void.

And the most amazing bonus is that running also keeps me healthy (even when I eat gobs of gummy bears), allows me to sort out my thoughts when something is troubling me or when I just need “me” time and connects me to a huge community of like-minded people, both in real life and in the virtual world.

Purposeful running- Abbi’s couch to ultras

Many thanks to Abbi for sharing her purposeful running story today! I love that she touches on the way that running can boost our confidence and self-esteem.  Although she’s only been running for 3 years, she progressed from 5k’s to marathons to one year, and already completed three 50ks and just ran her first 40 miler! Besides ultra-running, I’m inspired by her Miles and Mutts program. Check out her blog and learn more about Abbi at Higher Miles.

Why do I run?  I run for confidence in myself.  I run to prove to myself that anything is possible when you set your mind to it.  The mental game of running is often more challenging than the physical.  I’m not saying running is easy but the mental challenge of pushing yourself beyond what you think you are capable of keeps me coming back and going for more and more. 

My shyness and lack of self esteem kept me from doing a lot throughout my teens and early 20s.  I constantly worried about what others thought or making myself look stupid.  My weight continued to go up which only made my confidence levels worse.  Then, I had my moment while shopping and realized I was going to have to go up a size…again.  I refused.  I started changing the way I ate.  I started exercising using work out videos and the treadmill.  Soon, the weight dropped.  My lifestyle changed.  My cravings were no longer ice cream and cheeseburgers but exercise and healthy foods. I’ve never looked back to those days and my confidence has sky-rocketed.  I no longer doubt that I can do things.  I know I can. 

In 2009, my husband seemed interested in trying a 5K so I signed us up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  He wanted a goal to work towards.  This is when I changed my thoughts on running.  I had been exercising to keep the weight off for awhile but I never pushed myself beyond that.  After that first 5K, I wanted another.  So, I signed up for a 5 mile run.  It was hard.  But, I wanted another so I went for a 15K.  In the first year of running races, I completed everything from 5K to marathon.  I found my love in long distance running.  It focuses, calms and pushes me.  If I think I can do it, I will.  I have taken my love for long distance running and continue to push myself in longer and longer distances. 

I’ve recently started a local volunteer program to run with animal shelter dogs, Miles and Mutts.  The goal is to give shelter dogs the exercise they need and encourage people to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle…and maybe a workout buddy.  I want to share what I’ve learned about being active and how much it can improve your happiness and motivation in life.  Anything is possible.  Set your mind to it and start dreaming instead of sitting on the sidelines wishing you were part of the action. 

Purposeful running- Angela’s story

Happy Father’s day!! Hope you’re all making a big deal out of the dads in your life.  The dad in our house requested a wings and baseball night last evening… easy enough! But we’ll do our best to make today extra special, too.

Today, my friend Angela is sharing her running story.  She’s a fellow toddler mama (twins!), health and fitness blogger, and kitchen experimenter. As we’ve gotten to know each other, we continue to find things we have in common.  There have been many days when we’ve been on the same wavelength, posting similar bean brownies or toddler stories!  Check out her blog at Happy Fit Mama!

Hi everyone! I’m Angela from Happy Fit Mama. First of all, I want to give a big THANK YOU to Laura for giving me the opportunity to share my running story.

Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed movement. I dabbled in running throughout in my teens and early 20s just for the calorie burn. I was more of a gym rat hitting the cardio machines, classes and the weight room. In the back of my mind, I always secretly had a goal of running a half marathon or a marathon. One day, in the summer of 2007, I decided it was time to go after that goal. What was I waiting for? That year I did my first half marathon. I didn’t know anything about pace, tempo or Fartlek’s. I just ran! As I was running that race, I knew I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the next one.

Life had a different course for me to follow. In 2008, my husband, Ron and I decided to try for our first baby. We were beyond thrilled when we found out we were pregnant. When I was 10 weeks pregnant, I miscarried. I had gone running that same morning. Even though my doctor reassured me the miscarriage was not from running and I knew it, I stopped running on that day. I associated the two events together. I didn’t want to have anything to do with my running shoes.

In June 2010, we finally became parents. Not just to one baby but twins! While I was pregnant with the twins a friend of mine was as well. We made a plan to run a local half marathon in November as a way to get back into shape post baby. She was unable to do it but as soon as I was cleared to run at 6 weeks postpartum, I laced up my sneakers. That first run in more than 2 years and after delivering twins was NOT pretty. But the more I ran, the more I remembered the love I had for training. Even though I wanted to spend every single moment with my kids, I forced myself to take time to run. In November, I crossed the finish line of my second half marathon, 4 ½ months after my twins were born. When I saw Ron and the kids, I burst into tears sobbing. I was overwhelmed with emotion. My time was actually slower than 2007 but I felt such a sense of accomplishment for sticking to my intention.

Since 2010, I’ve run two more half marathons. I finally decided that 2012 is THE year – it’s full marathon time! I’ll be racing my first on September 30. Eeeek! Over the past year I have truly fell back in love with running.


People ask, “Why do you run?” “Why not?” Our bodies were meant to be in motion. I have also learned that running is my “ME” time. An early morning run at 5 a.m. can get my day started in a positive note. An evening run after work can help me sort out the problems and stress that builds as the day goes on. Even if I’m pushing my double BOB stroller up a mammoth hill, it is still “ME” time.  Running makes me a better person, friend, wife, and mother. That’ my purpose for running!