Growing up in the Midwest, I played all kinds of sports. Basketball, soccer, field hockey or swimming, it didn’t matter. I loved them all and was usually one of the better players. While I worked hard, I came to just expect that I would be one of the better athletes competing.
After college, a short career as an auditor and accountant, and raising two kids through their early childhood, I wanted to feel strong and like an athlete again. I started walking on the treadmill and when that became tiresome, I began running intermittently to make it more interesting.
It wasn’t until 2004 that I started to run consistently and I began strength training. Slowly, I began to realize that, while I was feeling better and stronger, I was not even average as a runner when I compared myself to my peers. I was shocked that I was considered slow. As an athlete in my younger years, I valued winning and being the best. How would I find meaning and value in doing something that, by some standards, I wasn’t doing very well?
On my journey, I have discovered that you can have passion without talent. The finishing time of a race doesn’t have to be only measure of my success. Some of us are given beautiful, gifted vehicles for our journey, and some of us are a little broken or worn. Some of us have a smooth path, and some of us face many obstacles along the way.
Since my journey started, I’ve run five marathons, thirteen half marathons, a half iron distance triathlon, and many other road races and triathlons. I’ve shared many of these experiences with my husband and kids which has brought us all closer. I’ve become part of a kind and generous community of athletes. I’ve reconnected with nature and seen sunrises, flowers, trees, eagles, foxes and deer that I would have otherwise missed.
I am running my own race. I can’t run anyone else’s, and no one can run mine for me. I am inspired by others who are on their own path, and I hope that we can encourage each other along the way. Life is a marathon, so pace yourself and run your own race.