I Used To Hate Running, Now I Run For My Sanity

After my third daughter was born in 2013, I struggled to find myself in the madness that was my life.

I was a full time working mom commuting to work over an hour each way five days a week. My typical day would be getting up at 4 am to get ready, be on the ferry boat by 6 am and to work (in another state) by 7. By the time I got home from work at 6 pm, I had to rush to make dinner and pick up the kids from practices or games. Then on to homework, bath and eventually bed time. By the time my girls were in bed, I would have to crawl into bed myself just to get enough sleep to tackle the next workday. Like most moms, I had little to no time for myself. In reality, I still do.

That year one of my friends suggested joining a local fleet feet 5k running group. I agreed- simply to get out of the house, but I was terrified. I hadn’t run since I was in high school, and I didn’t enjoy it then. However, this was an opportunity to get out and meet new people and potentially get in shape, so I joined. And I loved it. Not the painful part, because let’s be honest, running is painful. I loved the freedom I felt when I was running. Free to be alone, free to socialize, free to shuffle along or free to fly. I realized this was mine, this running. It was my time, my work, my sweat. Mine.

In 2016 I signed up for my very first marathon. I had done several half marathons and felt ready to take on the challenge of the full. It was a fall marathon, so I trained all summer. I went through a divorce in January so my training runs became my way to find sanity.

In August, my father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was given 6 months to live, and my training took a backseat to caring for him and my mother. He was 57 years old, and I was crushed. I wanted to give up on my marathon but he wouldn’t let me, said he didn’t raise a quitter.

I ran that marathon in October- it took me 5 hours and 25 minutes.

I hit the dreaded wall at mile 20 and wanted so badly to quit. All I could think about those last six miles is how my critically ill father can’t run a marathon, he could hardly walk. So I didn’t quit. I crossed that finish line and cried harder than I’ve ever cried before.

This year will be five years since I started my running journey and two years since my father’s diagnosis. Despite the odds, we have both persisted. Neither one of us quit. He received a clean bill of health in January and I’m still running for my health and my sanity. Running has given me wonderful friends, cheap therapy, and a way to become the best version of myself each time I lace up my running shoes.