Thursday, May 7, 2015

Runniversary: 4 Years Running Strong

This week in my personal history is one of the best, most life changing weeks of my life. This is the week of my runniversary, and the week of my handsome husband putting a ring on my finger and promised to keep me forever. I have to say that I love him more than I love running, but I am still pretty pumped about my runniversary. On May 9th, 2011, I went out on my first intentional run, and I have accomplished so much in the four years since then.

I completed  my first half, the Wadell and Reed Kansas City Half Marathon, in October 2011, and this week I signed up to run the same race a second time. I can't wait to return to my first half, only the second race I ever ran, and I am going to work hard over the next 5 months to hopefully set a new half PR for myself.

I raised money for ALS research with help from some very generous friends and family members in conjunction with training for my first marathon. I ran the Philadelphia Marathon with my Anything for 10 sister, Grace, in my grandma's memory in 2013. I had said after running the KC Half the first
time that I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 26. It was the runner's high talking at the time, but when my amazingly strong and independent grandma lost the ability to walk, talk, and eat before she passed away on my 25th birthday, I looked at my sister at her funeral and I said, "You know we are running a marathon before I turn 26, right?" She smiled and said, "Yes." And although it wasn't pretty, I finished that marathon. I spent the MANY training miles logged thinking about and talking to my grandma. Running was a way for me to grieve and heal. Did my grandma love running? No. But she was the absolute picture of strength and grace, which is something all marathoners need as a beacon.  I wrote "Anything for 10" and "For Grandma" on my race bib, and as I was about to cross the finish line, the announcer asked me what it meant, and then announced to the crowd that I was running in my grandma's memory one week before the one year anniversary of her passing. As the tears started flowing when the announcer spoke to the crowd, I thought I might not make it the last couple steps, but Mayor Michael Nutter grabbed me and pulled me across the finish into an embrace saying, "She's proud. Good job. Congratulations."

I ran three half marathons in two states in 45 days in the Spring of 2014, and I earned membership in the national running club, Half Fanatics, and I earned a Road Apple Award that same year. I set my current half PR at the first half in that Spring series, and afterward I got my first and only tattoo. It is a running tattoo on my wrist so that I can see it when I am out on the road, and it signifies love, life, run. It means that I need to remember to do those three things regularly, and that I need to run in order to love and live life fully. Running helps me to appreciate life and all that I am able to experience in life. I have met many amazing people in the running community since I started running, and I am thankful for each of them, and when I see my tattoo I often think of them as well.

I am a fortunate and blessed human being, and running reminds me to be grateful. Here's to many more years of crazy goals, meeting new people, connecting with family and friends, and logging lots of miles.

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