I am the queen of hobbies. I have always been great at having fabulous ideas of grandeur and it started at a young age. As a kid I played a different sport every year, I did dance, I tried cross-stitching and knitting. There was even a brief stint of doing calligraphy. When I was in middle school I played lacrosse for a couple years and high school was followed by twirling flags and another shot at knitting and learning to play the violin. I would join clubs and last only a year, sometimes only a semester. I was the queen of joining and quitting. Heck, in college I had 4 different majors before being forced to settle on one so I could graduate. My last year I even forgot that I was enrolled in the college choir (which I had done every semester I was there.)
In my adult life I have thrown myself into jewelry- making and crocheting, learning to play the electric bass, the acoustic guitar and attempting to play piano... again. I still crochet... sometimes..., but everything else is stuffed in a box or corner collecting dust. I am sure when I decided to start running that the thought crossed through more than a few minds that it was going to be a passing phase and that like everything else, I would grow tired of it in a few short months. That was almost 2 years ago and here I am still lacing up my running shoes.
What is the difference this time around? I think this time it is because instead of it being a hobby to keep me busy, it is something more. It was a life changing event. It is something that defines me and gives me a better quality of life.
This morning I was at the track with my running bestie and we were getting in our long run for the week. Noelle was kicking ass and I was slogging along hoping for my calves to finally let go. We had been there about an hour when 4 more people joined us on the track, a couple, an older guy (mid 70s) and another girl about our age. By the time I had been lapped by Noelle (again) and the couple had passed me, and the old man had shuffled by, I caught up to the girl about our age. I said hello and asked her if she was training for anything and her answer resonated through me, it was simply stated "my life." We got to talking a bit, I told her about our running team, about how to find the RunJunkEes on Facebook and unbeknownst to her, she reminded me of why I started this insane journey.
Becoming a runner isn't just a hobby or a passing fad. It has become so much more to me. It afforded me the ability to run around and play with my nieces and nephew. It allowed me to have the confidence to wear a swimsuit in public and not care what people thought. It gave me an outlet to spend time with my friends. It gave me energy to go out and do things with my husband. It opened my eyes to a whole new world out there with endless possibilities. It gave me a family of strangers who have become close friends. Most importantly, it gave me My Life.
Crawl, Walk, Run just keep moving forward,
We all have something that keeps us running. It doesn't matter how slow or how far, there is something that makes us put one foot in front of the other. Now, I have already blogged about having trouble taking myself out of park, but in the grand scheme of things, I know that deep down I am a runner and everyday I am able to convince myself of that a little more. The reason I can? My motivators. The motivators in my life are my reasons to run, they are my inspiration. I have some great friends that I aspire to be like, I have a wonderful family that supports me and I have a past that I don't want to return to.
I have a few friends that stand out as motivators for me. My own little, personal cheerleaders of inspiration. My morning running buddy is also my best friend (of 20 years) from High School, Noelle. She and I started the team TuTu Many Races after our first race together. She just graduated with her bachelors and will be heading to law school this fall. She did this all while being a stay at home mom of 4 kids. She worked from home AND did online classes at night to make her dreams of law school a reality. Noelle ALSO lost an amazing amount of weight, without a gym, by adopting a healthier lifestyle. She is awesome and helps me to get up and get out there on the days when I really just do not want to roll out of bed. The other friends are people I have never met in person, Tom, (a fellow RunJunkEe), and Addie Green and Mike Peragine , 2 other Sponsored Athletes that have literally taken me under their wings and check on my training every day. All of these people take the time to help me figure out fueling, hydration and timing are always there to take a moment to answer my silly, newbie questions and do so without making me feel like I am beneath them because I have never run a marathon.
My family is amazing. My husband will run with me if I don't have anyone else to run with, even though he HATES running, he will cheer me on and make me laugh and make the trip a whole lot more interesting. My brother and sister-in-law have both started running and stayed with me while I struggled through my second, their 1st, 10k. My father-in-law has helped me figure out breathing techniques and is always around if I need a last minute running buddy or race coach and my Mother-in-law (who is also my boss) makes sure that I have the time off I need for races or to train. I am really lucky in having these people in my life to support my running. The most inspiring of my family though, is my mom. When my dad passed away when I was 19 from cancer, she stepped in to his shoes and has played the mother and father figure in my life for the past 15 years. Knowing that I was a "Daddy's Girl" growing up, she made sure I felt just as loved and supported as if he was still alive and I cannot thank her enough for that.
Finally, the last inspiration of why I run is my past. I used to live a very sedentary life. I gained a lot of weight and was over 300lbs. I couldn't move fast, I was tired ALL the time, I generally just did not take very good care of myself. I suffered from depression and low self esteem and no matter what anyone said to me, I could not pull myself out of the slump I was in. I finally decided enough was enough when I saw a couple pictures of myself and I didn't recognize the girl with the sad eyes and size 28 pants. I had played a great game of making people think I didn't care about my size but deep down, I was dying inside. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed and I knew that the person I had become was not who I wanted to keep on being.
I remind myself daily that I am changing. I am becoming a better, healthier person and even though I have not reached my goals, they are no long unobtainable. I have the resources, the support system and the desire to keep on making the steps forward that I need to make to be the woman I want to be. I am inspired by the people in my life who believe in me and in return, afford me the ability to believe in myself and I know, that even when I am feeling antisocial and like a hermit, I know that I get by with a little help from my friends (and family).