Running Away From Grief

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I have been a runner for 10 years. But I never knew it's value until 4 years ago... 

I started running the way many women do...to lose weight. I gained all the weight in college for all the reasons and looked in the mirror one day and no longer recognized myself. Then at 20 years old a doctor told me I had high blood pressure. That was it. 

Day after Christmas 2004 I started. Joined a gym, went on a diet, learned what a calorie was and began. Running on a treadmill was part of my fitness quest to figure out how to be healthy. I hated every second of it but wouldn't stop until the calorie reader said I had burned 500 calories. I was so different then I don't know how many miles that was at 195 pounds.

But I lost the weight. All 50 pounds of it. I would love to say that was it. I was hooked. I fell in love with running and my weight management challenges were over but in the 4 years that followed I gained and lost the same 20 pounds 2 or 3 times. 

At 25 I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. A grown up asthmatic kid with all the hang ups that entails asked my husband one day...what if I ran a half marathon? He said of course you can. I had never run outside. Only treadmill. The next day thinking a half seemed to easy I signed up for a full marathon. No idea what was in store. Craziness seems to be a hallmark of distance runners.

I trained. I suffered. I conquered. I will never forget crossing that finish line. I loved running then but didn't know yet what it would mean to me. The things it would see me through and the hurdles it would help me jump.

5 years passed and in that time I ran another 3 marathons. I trained to finish but my times stayed the same. I didn't yet let it change me. 

In 2013 I suffered the loss of twins girls 20 weeks into a tortuous pregnancy. I was left depressed, broken and utterly lost. 5 weeks later I lost my beloved grandfather and felt like I would never find happiness again. 

4 months later I was pregnant again with my son. The son who would be named for my grandfather. This pregnancy brought more risk, more weight (physical and emotional) and more fear. My son was born after much drama in October 2014. 

Two high risk pregnancies had wrecked my body. I didn't recognize myself. In the swirl of pregnancy, grief and chaos I had lost myself in every way you can lose yourself.

My son was 2 months old when I left him with my husband to run again for the first time. I covered a slow, painful 3 miles and had to stop 6 times to gasp for air but I finished it. It took another 7 months to lose the weight both physically and mentally and running lead me out of depression and back to life. It reminded me who I was and regenerated my soul. 

Since then I have qualified for and run the Boston Marathon. Made countless friends in my running group. And most importantly let running make me into the person I always wanted to be. Strong, fit, open and aware. The road ahead whispers...run. Just run. I always answer.


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