Hello readers! For my April blog post as a Pittsburgh Marathon blogger, I wanted to do something different. Looking back at some of my posts, I’ve explained why I started running and continue to do so. I decided to do a little project and ask my fellow running friends whom are participating in the Pittsburgh Marathon events why they run. Here we go!
I run because it heals me.
I never gave running a chance until I was about 18-years-old and my father managed to convince me to try a 5k with him. I hated every second of it and finished with a less than satisfactory time of 45 minutes and 32 seconds. I was content for that to be my first and only race, and for some time, it was. Fast forward to about 2 years later and I had just gone through a rather difficult breakup. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, but I figured a walk would help me clear my head. A walk turned into a jog, a jog turned into a run, and after about 30 minutes, I was 2 1/2 miles away from home and winded, but I felt fantastic. So began my running career. I signed up for a few 5ks, followed by a few 10ks, followed by my first Pittsburgh Half-Marathon in 2010, and eventually my first Pittsburgh full Marathon the following year in 2011.
I continued to grow, and learn, and get faster. I signed up for more races, including the Pittsburgh Marathon every year. And then life took an unexpected and rather difficult turn in the early spring of 2014. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and found my time consumed with hospital visits and radiation treatments. I was too weak and too tired to run casually, let alone motivate myself to try for a few races. But, I was lucky, I got better, I got stronger, and I went into remission almost 2 years after I had been initially diagnosed. I started walking, I started jogging, and eventually I started running again. 2016 was my big return to running in the Pittsburgh Marathon, and I managed to earn my best time with my father and husband driving around cheering for me at different mile points.
My reason for running has always been one of healing. Running has helped me get over heartache, it has helped me let go of the past, it has helped me see my own strength. Running has helped me prove to myself that no matter what, I am capable and running has also given me the strength I thought cancer took away. Running healed me, in different ways at different times, but it is why I continue to hit the trails every day, and it is why I will be competing once again in the Pittsburgh Marathon this spring.
I run because it’s my happy place.
I started to run after I lost 100 pounds in 2008. It wasn’t very much. I would run 3 to 5 miles 3 to 4 days per week as a way to lose more weight. I did this for probably 2 years until May of 2010 when I ran my first 5k that was held by the YMCA I belonged to. I ended up joining a new gym a few months after my first 5k and pushed myself to take different fitness classes. One of the spin instructors would see me run on the treadmill and she would always tell me I should run a half marathon. I always gave her some excuse saying that I don’t have time to train. One day, I finally gave in and I signed up to do the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in 2013. After that day, I was hooked and signed up to do a fall half marathon that same year. This year, I will be doing my 12th half marathon and I do have the goal to complete a full marathon one day.
I have learned and gained so much from running. In the fall of 2015, I joined the Steel City Road Runners. My first run with them was for the marathon kick off in 2016. I wish I would have joined earlier because I have made so many friends and learned so much about running. I have realized that running is my happy place. After I run, I feel good about myself and that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I have good and bad races, but I look at it as doing something people don’t have the courage to do. Most recently, I have set out to get down to my goal weight. I started losing weight in 2004 and was down to a 150 pound loss in 2014. I gained some weight back, and I am in the process of getting back down to my lowest weight. This year, I am going to the 5K and half marathon to complete the Steel Challenge for the third year in a row. I have also become a pacer for the Steel City Road Runners. I enjoy having fun and keeping my group motivated during runs.