Tonight, like so many runners, I hit the pavement and marked my miles on social media with #nationalrunningday. As I drove home from the park I realized how very different my life is today than it was a year ago. Before this season, I was a solitary runner. I traveled to races alone – and talked very little about my goals.
One year ago, on national running day 2013 I sat at my computer and signed up for a dozen races. I had set a seemingly impossible goal of running 40 half marathons in a year between my 40th and 41st birthdays. I had just joined Half Fanatics, and a new online friend told me about running for the Sun, by doing 52 half marathons in a year.
In several Facebook groups I was making new friends… Megan, Sue, Kelly, Jamila… women across the country who shared my passion and fears, dreams and ambitions. Over the next months, I met these women in person, and it seems crazy to me as I sit here today that a year ago I did not know them – now I talk to them daily.
I connected with the organization Black Girls Run, and run frequently with my local chapter. Tonight, my run was with these fantastic empowering women who have become my sisters, my family on and off the road.
In the past year I have run 57 Half Marathons. My schedule for the coming year is already fairly full – and I am turning my attention to training for full marathons – starting my season in October with Chicago, Marine Corps, and NYC. My goals are more aggressive than ever, but as I face them, I do so with a community of support.
Mizuno has been asking the question “What if everybody ran?”. This sport, which embraces all races, genders, ages and skill levels has the transformative power to change lives. It has changed mine.
So to all my running friends, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me, celebrating with me, and making me see a version of myself I had not yet met, one who knows anything is possible if I take the journey one step at a time.