My life has been a series of pretty drastic changes over the past three years. If you had asked me 3 years ago if I believed I'd be where I am today, I probably would have replied with a no. I've still got a long way to go, but that's the thing about life - it's a lot like running. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, in good weather and bad, in happy times and hard times, and eventually you get to where you're going. And I am a person who likes to keep moving. I have tried most sports out there. From little league baseball and soccer as a kid, to track and diving in high school, to my daily cardio and strength regimen in the years that followed, I've always loved being active and keeping fit.
However, three years ago I was struck by a life change that had me sidelined. 2010 saw the end of a very meaningful long-term relationship for me and in 2011, the depression from said break up ensued. I stopped working out, I stopped running and wasn't even eating much. This went on for months despite the fact that I started seeing a therapist. However, I wasn't 'all in'. I doubted the effectiveness of said therapy and wasn't really putting my heart into it. Like most things in life, if you don't give it your all, and don't believe you will be successful, you probably won't. At some point that year though, I decided I had to start taking back my life. I started paying a bit more attention to what my little white-haired Einstein look-a-like counselor was saying and then something else happened. I started going back to the gym and I started running again. And all of a sudden, a goal popped into my head. I decided that year to run my first half marathon. I thought at the time, if I can do this I can do anything! (I know, a bit over dramatic!) People have many different stories of why they started running or why they set out to accomplish running related goals like this, and many of these decisions come after a setback or difficult life experience. The thing I realized and started to love about running, and about life, is that you are completely in control of your destiny. You will certainly have friends and supporters along the way to help you, but it is ultimately your hard work, your determination and your spirit that will carry you across the finish line. As I started running more and more that year I became so empowered because I could actually see myself getting stronger. I can still remember the first time I ran a double digit mileage run (10 mi) and being amazed that I did that! As I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon on Thanksgiving Day later that year in Atlanta surrounded by my family, I had never felt stronger in my entire life. I'm sure many runners will commiserate about that feeling, and it's something that's almost too hard to put into words.
Since that time, I've run 2 more half marathons and running has once again become my release and a cornerstone of my life.
In February of 2013, I was hit with another life change, as I was laid off from my corporate job that I had held for almost 9 years. But the thing is, this time around I feel so much better equipped to deal with the change, and I credit that to running. There are always going to be runs you don't feel like doing or injuries that sideline you, but you learn from those, you work through them, and somehow you make it to the other side. Running has shown me that I am much more powerful than I give myself credit for. And being freed from that corporate job I never quite fit into anyway has been such a blessing. I finally feel like this is my time to pursue my passions and become who I was really meant to be. I think running allows you that same freedom every time you lace up your shoes and step out the door, and I can't wait to put one foot in front of the other as I work towards my authentic reality...