to help YOU find the magic behind each passing moment.
The photo above was taken at the inaugural Nike Women’s Half Marathon Expotique in DC. All the runners had the opportunity to sign the wall before the big race that weekend! As the photog, I happily walked around the event and documented my favorite moments with the REAL camera…
Sure, I admit that like many of us, I… also…
#runforfreetshirts (I love my running tees!)
#runforswag (who doesn’t love FREE stuff?)
#runforbeer (icy cold and refreshing!)
#runforwine (vino è la vita!)
#runforthehillofit (get it?!)
but the main reason is so much deeper than all that’s been #hashtagged. Since Fotine di Laurentina is not a running blog but has a section dedicated to the sport I love, I thought I’d enlighten you with a brief reflection on why I just can’t stop running!
I used to exercise for all the wrong reasons. Like many people, I struggled with weight and body image issues my whole life. As a kid, I participated in a variety of different sports and would only get into the “athletic” frame of mind during the season. Soccer and swimming were the only sports I liked, and I hated running for running’s sake. What kind of crazy person takes off running in one direction with no goal or purpose in sight?
In 2009, I lived with a dear friend who was/is suffering from chronic Lyme Disease. Her symptoms were frightening and I was desperate to find a way to help on a greater scale. I knew of races that supported research for major diseases such as cancer and leukemia, but not Lyme… until I stumbled upon a website for the inaugural Lyme 5K in Fairfax County. At that time, I had no idea what a “5K Marathon” entailed (please laugh! I know I did…), but I was determined to train for it.
With the help of my friend Cara (personal trainer/fitness instructor at Les Mills East Coast), I completed my first couch-to-5K program and proudly took a stand against Lyme and other nasty tick-borne illnesses!
Every year since then, I would train and participate in a 5K for fun. I would train in the weeks leading up to it, but then… called it quits. I was also never able to run for the duration of each race. It wasn’t until March 2012 when I started a formal training program with PR Training Programs that I began to fall in love with running. At first, I was running merely as a stress reliever from a former vindictive day job but mile after mile, I started to really enjoy running for running’s sake!
Thanks to the constant guidance of my awesome, “tough but compassionate” coaches at =PR= (a big shout out to Coaches Shannon, Brian and Shelly!), the staff at Potomac River Running and all my training buddies + running friends, I was able to go beyond the 5K distance and completed my first half marathons and 10-milers this spring (2013)! The people in my running classes were ordinary folks juggling 9-5 jobs, large families and children, and even overcoming various diseases to run. Excuses were no longer an option. If they could make time in their crazy lives to run, then surely I could as well. Since early 2012, I have also embraced a healthier lifestyle, feel better than I have ever felt in my life and have used social media as a motivator for my daily workouts. Twitter is an amazing invention!
As for future distance races, yes, I have plans on continuing with 10-milers and half-marathons for a long time. Is a full marathon a possibility? Of course! My younger self was even thinking of doing one back in 2008…
To me, running is all about the journey. It is about being committed to the adventure, come what may and in whatever form it is presented. There are good days and bad days in every training cycle and race; your reaction to that situation is what counts. Looking back, I had to overcome many fears and insecurities to get to where I am today. Running is my therapy (and cheaper than therapy!). Running has also helped set my spirit free and allowed me to love myself for who I am created to be. In addition, running allows me to crush every toxic thought that lingers around. When the miles get tough, I do my best to give thanks for the ability to actually run, putting forth my energy towards something positive and really relish in the awesomeness of what the human body is capable of doing. Plus, I love getting faster!
Thanks for reading! For those who have an urge to start running, just remember that the anecdote to fear is action and it is never to late to start. Everyone’s journey is unique and deserves to be celebrated. No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch!
#runhappy #runstrong #runtolive