Anything over a 5k was a long run. Swimming was something you did in your pool or on the beach, for fun. That was me 6 years ago. Running a marathon, competing in triathlon, those were things I never thought I would do.
In 2010 I was sitting in the locker room and a friend placed his gym bag next to me. It had that distinct M-Dot logo on it. He asked if I did triathlon and I looked at him and said “yeah, I’m not into swimming.” Three 70.3s, 2 marathons,7 half marathons later, I am working my way towards hearing those iconic 4 words “You are An Ironman", and focusing on pushing my body to the limits to qualify for Boston when I turn 40.
Long races and triathlons have opened a world to me that I had never known. Every day I go out there I am not competing against another person, I am competing against myself. Running has always been my “therapy”. It has always allowed me to clear my mind and just relax.
The support and the interaction in this community has helped so much. Athletes of all shapes and sizes, different abilities, different speeds, everyone is there to get to the finish line.
What used to be reserved for elites, is now something for everyone. If you can lace up a pair of shoes, you can push yourself. One of my best running memories is being at the finish line of Ironman Florida in 2014 catching finishers. The RACE WINNER came back down to congratulate those who crossed the line in the final hours. These are regular people trying to do amazing things.
As a Cancer survivor, I have also found that running gives me the opportunity to help others. For the last 5 years I have been a fundraiser for the Donna Foundation, and have raised money while training for the 26.2 With Donna Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. This year I am also competing in the Chicago Marathon and raising money for the American Cancer Society Team Determination.
People always ask me why I run. My response has been simple: I run for those who cannot.
In 2013 I remember being on the side of the road at mile 22 after my knee had gone out on me. An older lady walked by and asked if I was ok. She had “SURVIVOR” on her back. I picked myself up and made it the next 4.2 miles. Over the next 7 months I will be racing the 40th Chicago Marathon, Rock n Roll Savannah, Kiawah Island Half Marathon, and the 11th 26.2 With Donna Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer in Jacksonville.
Each race is another opportunity for me to raise awareness, and to raise funds, to help others. I encourage everyone to lace up a pair of shoes and get out there. Find your comfortable pace, find some friends, and see what your body can do.